Washington Diplomats Experience the Way of Tea

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Washington, D.C. – UPF staff and volunteers treated members of Washington’s diplomatic corps and other dignitaries to a display of Japan’s traditional tea ceremony.

UPF’s D.C. Office has presented Japanese tea ceremonies 17 times to more than 3,000 guests. This latest event took place on April 23, 2015, as white and pink dogwood flowers were in full bloom in front of the Peace Embassy.

Among the approximately 45 guests were H.E. Archil Gegeshidze, ambassador of Georgia, and his wife, Mrs. Dea Gadua; Mr. Jose Luis Dominguez, deputy chief of mission of the Dominican Republic Embassy; Mrs. Caroline Andjaba, wife of the ambassador of Namibia; Mrs. Douha Smith, wife of the ambassador of Ghana; Mrs. Carmela de Villegas, wife of the ambassador of Colombia, and diplomats from the Embassies of Fiji and Cambodia.

Ambassador Touqir Hussain, a professor at Georgetown University and a former ambassador of Pakistan, and his wife, Mrs. Rafia Hussain, are patrons of the ceremony. They said they always learn something new about the tea every time they come. “The Way of Tea” is becoming popular for those people who seek good health and wish to strengthen their inner and spiritual life.

Among the guests, a yoga teacher who has a yoga class in Bethesda, Maryland, mentioned that people spend a lot of money for their workout to keep their body healthy, but where is the workout to keep a healthy mind and heart? We need this kind of moment that the tea ceremony provides to reflect on our inner heart while enjoying tea and meeting with good people.

UPF advocates the importance of “living for the sake of others,” which is a universal and fundamental principle which brings joy and happiness. The founder of the Universal Peace Federation, the late Dr. Sun Myung Moon, said: “Where does the Kingdom of Heaven exist?  The Kingdom of Heaven is where two become one.” When one lives totally for others, one creates total unity and harmony. That is the place where peace originates.

Indeed, a teacher of the school of tea proposes that the state of consciousness should be one of the main goals of training in Temae, which mean serving tea to others with the spirit: “This encounter might be the only chance in my lifetime to serve tea to this person.”

Temae would provide a good chance for people to look at their inner self and thus would enable the host and the guests to understand and enjoy the spiritual aspects of the Japanese tea ceremony.

What is learned in “The Way of Tea” is the equality of all people. It eliminates any elements that give advantages to a particular kind of people. One of the tea grandmasters described the essence of “The Way of Tea” using four Chinese characters: Wa, Kei, Sei and Jyaku (和敬清寂). 

和/Wa – Harmony         敬/Kei – Respect          清/Sei – Purity        寂/Jyaku –Tranquility

Wa is the state of harmony and beauty that creates only a feeling of goodness.

Kei is the attitude of respect for all things. This is a sincere respect not only for human beings but also for the sanctity of nature and all material objects.

Sei is purification. The pure heart without flaw makes a person honest, truthful and sincere.

Jyaku is the level of enlightenment when one is in oneness with the universal principle. At this stage there is only tranquility in one’s heart.

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