We got to have tea for the first time on our land this month, using the river water that flows there to brew some slightly aged Puerh and conducting a welcoming ceremony. There is so much inspiration when you see the universe respond to your creative endeavors, especially when they are selfless. And our center will definitely be, first and foremost, a place of service. Outside our current center we have a "free tea" sign, and that legacy will definitely continue in the new center as well, only it will mean so much more since we will also have our own tea farm as well.
Imagine driving down a long road with a river down to your right, strewn with gorgeous boulders. Just beyond are lush green mountains and crags. You turn and cross a bridge and head up into those mountains further, coming to a gate that says "Light Meets Life" (the Chinese adds "to infinity"). Inside, there are peaceful gardens - lotuses, koi ponds, bridges and Zen stone gardens. There is a large house in which you find free tea classes, tea rooms and amazing teas and teaware to try. You are escorted to your residence in a simple bamboo dorm and take a nap, weary from travels, falling asleep to the sound of the waterfall that commands the property - tumbling down cliffs and stones. You are awakened by a bell that signals a simple vegetarian lunch followed by nice tea... The surrounding mountains and cliffs are beautiful so you casually stroll inside to eat and have tea. You can have a meditation retreat, make friends, laugh and celebrate, as well as participate in the tea and vegetable farming that is going on all around. Imagine also, if you can, all of us in the Global Tea Hut meeting once a year for a week-long celebration, sharing teas we've found, hugs and stories and talking/laughing long into the night around a bonfire; imagine longer retreats each year where we can all travel deeper into our meditation; and, of course, there will be ample tea courses all the time. Like now, our center will be a place where you can make new friends, crossing paths with people from all over the world!
We have the land! We are halfway there. Now we need to raise around 500,000 USD. This amount will allow us to build a large main house with a dining hall, kitchen, tea rooms and a hearth; three large guest houses and a nice-sized meditation hall. It will also be enough to cover the property in amazing landscaping: flowing rivers, fishponds, flowers, gardens, decks, nice old trees, etc.... And, should we meet our goal, we will also have enough to build sustainably, including a vegetable garden and an organic, ecological tea farm with terraces and different kinds of tea trees, as well as a small tea-processing hut.
Should any of you like to contribute to this project, make a check out to Global Tea Hut and mail it to:
Global Tea Hut 2441 Beverley Ave. #6 Santa Monica, CA 90405 United States
Or contact us for other ways to support.
Wu De is coming to Los Angeles and San Francisco to do some fundraising from Feb. 17th through March 7th. There will be workshops, tea tastings and gatherings. He is also going to have an art show at a gallery in Los Angeles which will include specially produced tea art, which will be auctioned off to support the new center. If you would like to attend any of these events or help us raise money for this project in LA or SF, or if you have an event or idea for one that Wu De can attend, please contact Colin Hudon at: (303) 842-4660
We thought you would like to read a bit more about the center from a flier we are putting together for Wu De's trip:
Light Meets Life is a center in Miao Li, Taiwan devoted to service, sustainable life, tea and meditation. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, cultivating and expressing an awakening of harmony through tea. We believe that tea wisdom which has no connection to any financial motivation, good or bad, is very necessary in this modern world and therefore strive to build schools, centers and other tea spaces in the true, ancient spirit of tea - leaves, water and wisdom shared without any personal profit.
It is important for us all to understand why we've chosen Taiwan to build our center, especially when you could support a tea center anywhere in the world, perhaps even locally. While it is also important for us to have local places to learn and serve tea, we have chose Taiwan to be the center of this tradition as it is closer to tea's origin.
Taiwan is the capital of tea culture in the world, with a vibrant love of tea that is unrivaled anywhere, longer lasting continuous traditions, tea events and publications, as well as production and processing of tea and teaware on a grand scale. There are an amazing amount of tea masters, scholars, farmers and producers in Taiwan. And though such people abound in all tea regions of Asia, Taiwan is conveniently situated right in the middle of all the major tea areas: China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea and Japan. This makes it geographically ideal. And the tea culture here has been influenced by all the surrounding tea traditions, importing tea traditions and teaware from all of these countries. In Taiwan, students are our center will be at the very center of tea vast history, as well as the place where tea is being produced and stored, prepared and shared. Finally, Taiwan is gorgeous: full of kind and welcoming people, amazing mountain vistas and bamboo forests...
The other thing to remember is that this is a global tea tradition. We have students from over twenty-five countries around the world, and host one to two hundred visitors a year. And many of you have told us that one of the best things about staying here is that at any given time you will make friends with other tea lovers from far away. People come here and stay a week or two and leave lifelong friends with a brother from Spain and a sister from Russia or LA. Therefore, aside from being near the origin of tea, we need a center where we all can gather, no matter where we are from originally.
Light meets life in all the aspects of our lives. It is time for humanity to once again embrace lifeways that bring the Sacred into all that we do; it is time for us to live with dignity again. We are dependent aspects of the natural world, and the way we build and live should flow through and with Nature - in harmony with this earth and each other. That is our destiny as children of the sun. From the very start, our center will be a paragon of sustainable communal life. We plan to use local resources to build, harvesting rock and bamboo from the land to build and using Daoist geomancy (feng shui) to situate all the buildings properly, so that the structures we compose are but notes in the natural symphony that has been playing on here long before we asked the earth's permission to build. We will also utilize the stunning natural waterfall on the land to generate power and create a recyclable and sustainable water system. There will be solar panels to generate electricity and heat water. We also hope to use permaculture to cultivate as much of our own food as possible, offering simple vegetarian fare to all guests. And finally, light will meet life in the organic, ecological tea garden that will form the center of the land, providing guests the opportunity to experience living tea trees. Light Meets Life
A big part of a sustainable community is in the society of human beings who live there. Our center will be a place of natural abundance, surely, as well as an abundance of joy. After all, "light" doesn't just mean purity and the sacred; it also refers to levity and humor! We will have fun, dance and sing, live and love together with ever-smiles lighting up our hearts. There should be joy in equal measure to serious work. Let happiness be sung in these mountains!
Light meets life in tea. This magical herb is a healer of separation, the Great Connector. Tea realigns us with our higher truth. It connects us to Nature, through the earth, water mountain and weather, as well as to the Heavens through sun, moon and starshine. Tea also connects us to each other, creating harmony between people.
All the tea classes at our center will be completely free. There will also be free room and board for tea lovers around the world to come and study tea farming, processing, preparation and inner transformation. We will not sell any tea or teaware, keeping the center pure for personal growth in harmony with tea itself: freely shared abundance. People from around the world will come to hold tea gatherings, lectures, seminars and workshops; tea merchants will have access to unendorsed information that will keep them connected to the deeper wisdom that tea offers. We will help educate people around the world about sustainable, ecological tea production as well as how tea can be prepared in a way that facilities inner growth and harmony with oneself, Nature and one's fellow man.
Our center will be a bastion of tea and teaware, antique and modern, for students around the world to come and learn from. There will be an abundant collection of amazing teas, and all to be freely shared with guests. We will also have a Puerh cave, where friends can store their tea to age in Taiwan should they live where the climate isn't suitable for aging Puerh tea.
Light meets life in us. This earth doesn't have climate problems; it doesn't have environmental problems; it has human problems. And all of our problems are in the heart, so the medicine must be for the heart. In a sustainable, environmentally-friendly community, the most important factor in its success is the human element. The people at the center must be in harmony with themselves, each other and Nature. And meditation is a great aid in this. By meditating together every day, and having periodic longer retreats, we can achieve more lasting harmony in our tea and in our lives. Our center will be an open meditation center, embracing all forms of quiet meditation. We offer a meditative space, simply and purely without any agenda or attempt to promulgate a particular worldview, philosophy or religion. Here, you will find free room and board and a quiet meditation hall to practice as much and how you like. We simply offer you the space to have a personal retreat in the quiet mountains, so full of vibrant and supportive energies. We also offer meditation instruction for those who need it, as well as two annual long retreats, during which the center will be closed and all will participate collectively.