We'd like to share in the awakening of consciousness that is shifting here and there around the globe. It is our aim to be a part of the arising heart, and to cultivate it through this ancient medicine, tea. And tea is also such a powerful medium to share a reconnection to Nature, ourselves and each other. One of the most amazing aspects of tea is this ability to connect each other. It comes from our source in Nature, and is therefore not limited by any of the cultural, conceptual or religious differences that drive us apart. A Christian, Muslim and Atheist might argue if they talk of politics, but if they drink tea and talk about tea, they emerge brothers. For that reason, we know tea will play a large part in healing our world. Almost all the spiritual discussions in Asia have for thousands of years been over cups of tea, and many of the not so spiritual ones too: it has consummated weddings, sat between warring generals as they made peace or war, hosted old friends and been given in funerary offerings. Our main goal is to purchase land in the mountains here in Taiwan to build the world's first free tea center and school. Our center now is amazing, and also free, but it is a bit small for the traffic we're already receiving. We hope to gather the funds to buy a quiet stretch of mountain land and build a center from scratch. We have some awesome architects willing to donate their time. We aim to use recycled materials, in keeping with our environmental ideals.
We imagine three or four buildings separated by koi ponds, walkways and landscaped gardens. The new center will have tea rooms and classrooms where people can come and use all our tea and teaware, learning various brewing techniques and experimenting with ancient ways that are mostly lost now. We hope to have several tea rooms where people can learn in classes, lectures and demonstrations, as well as rooms that people can use to prepare their own teahouse style. There will be a large kitchen and cafeteria nearby where we hope to feed people simple vegetarian food. At our current center, we always feed everyone who comes, as food and the sharing of meals are central to the spirit of tea.
The second building will be a large, open room for meditation, retreats, yoga and other spiritual work. It is our aim to build this large room with a Chinese temple-styled roof, winged and with glass walls on all four sides, which open to Nature when the weather permits. This is to recognize Nature's role in our tradition as one of the Four Pillars.
We will also have an office, recreation room and several dorms divided into two kinds: simpler rooms with 2-4 beds for guests and larger rooms with a bed, desk and closet for long-term residential students. We expect the latter to work in the garden we'll plant and in landscaping, cleaning, cooking or serving in exchange for their room and board. The short-term guests will stay for free, as it is with our center nowadays.
Finally, we imagine a Puerh cave where we can all store our tea - cut directly into the mountain! It will have an altar and meditation cushions so that we can maintain good energy for all the aging tea. We hope to also have a nice farm and garden paths, with a tea hut here and there on the premises.
If you can imagine such a free center and the community it would promote, help us spread the word. This Global Tea Hut is our way of giving and receiving; it is the way that all of you can participate in our dream of a tea center and school with an amazing collection of tea and teaware, and a quiet atmosphere that promotes retreat and helps one cultivate spiritual awareness. And it would belong to us all!
We hope you can envision our center, and if you've been to Taiwan you know the potential for natural beauty (and if you haven't, make a trip soon). For now, you should know our small center here in Miao Li is very much alive and active, with visitors coming from around the world all the time. We are also planning to build a "Puerh cave" on the third floor when we get the funds. It won't be as nice as the actual cave we'll dig in the mountain once we build the permanent center, but it will suffice for now. As many of you know, aging fine Puerh tea requires the right balance of humidity and temperature, and is best done in Southeast Asia. Also, the more Puerh tea together in the room, the better it ages - it likes to be amongst friends as it meditates for those years. We plan to convert a space on the third floor of our center into a Puerh storage area that all of you can use freely. You can mail or bring a box of your tea and we'll shelve it for you. Then you can ask us to ship it back; or better yet, comeand get it yourself! We won't open your box, merely store it for you. The room will have an altar and we'll meditate in there occasionally to promote good energy for the tea. This service will be free to all tea lovers.
We also hope to collect and open a public Puerh library where students can come and learn from various vintages and regions to better understand this magical tea. Other teas are easier to get and in greater abundance. Along with this we have already amassed a huge collection of rare, new and antique teaware. Much of these pieces won't be available to future tea lovers. We would like to continue this collection, so that our school will have most all the kinds of pots, kettles, cups and bowls for future students to use and learn from. For example, we recently acquired an antique matcha grinder from Japan that is around 150-200 years old. We plan to use it to grind some other teas for whisking and boiling, and hope to share some of this amazing tea with you all soon.
All of our projects as they stand now are listed below. If you would like to contribute to any one of them, financially or in any other way, let us know. Money isn't the only, or even the best way you can participate. We are open to your contribution and service, for it is how you learn and get more deeply involved in this tradition. This in turn allows this tradition to work in your life more. The most basic way you can help is to help promote this Global Tea Hut.