"Gōng Fū Chá" Ceremony - Quieten your mind, get into alignment and bring your desires to fruition
I had my first experience of the fine art of traditional Chinese Tea Brewing Ceremony, known as “gōng fū chá ” (功夫茶), in July 2010. My late husband, Ray, and I embarked on our tea journey in New Zealand in 2009 and we went overseas in 2010 to broaden our knowledge about tea. One of our stops was in Singapore, where we spent numerous days learning about tea and “gōng fū chá” from two tea masters.
I have very vivid memory of my encounters with these two tea masters, remembering many specific and finer details of the exquisite experience. Upon returning back to New Zealand, Ray and I incorporated this fine art of tea brewing ceremony and tea appreciation into our tea business. We conducted countless sessions of “gōng fū chá ” with many of our lovely customers. We worked as a team. I conducted the educational aspects of the tea class, and Ray conducted the practical, hands-on component of the tea ceremony.
When my enthusiastic partner in life and partner in business made his transition from this world in December 2013, I felt a very strong guidance from his energy and was able to take on his roles in the business. One the many things that I continued from his legacy was the “gōng fū chá” ceremony. I found myself immersed in a deep sense of peace and tranquility whenever I share this amazing tea ceremony with my customers.
In this article, I would like to give a brief introduction to the concept of “gōng fū chá ” and highlight the “moving meditation” aspect that it embodies, an aspect which I found highly fascinating. The Chinese term “gong fu” (功夫) literally means any skill that is acquired through learning, diligence and practice. In the western world, many would be more familiar with the words written slightly differently -“kung fu”.
What do you think of when you come across the words “kung fu”? There is a high chance you would be thinking of Chinese martial arts. Even as a Singaporean Chinese, I associated “kung fu” with Chinese martial arts because I grew up watching “kung fu” movies from the likes of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. As a form of martial arts, “kung fu” training promotes virtue and peace, not aggression or violence. Even though the words “kung fu” is made popular through movies of Chinese martial arts, in its original meaning, “kung fu” can refer to any discipline or skill achieved through hard work and practice, not necessarily martial arts.
Hence, “gōng fū” means the art of doing something well. The Chinese word “chá” (茶) means tea. Put together “gōng fū chá” (功夫茶) means the fine art and skill of brewing tea. “Gōng fū chá” is also sometimes referred to as “Chá dào” (茶道)。Through the process of “gōng fū chá”, time, dedication and effort is put in to produce an ultimate tea experience.
“Gōng fū chá” ceremony involves a very therapeutic ritual of preparing the tea and tea sets using intricate tea implements and accessories. It also involves a fine selection of teas, which embodies the fruit of labor from the tea masters’ skillful cultivation and tea blending expertise. During the “gōng fū chá” ceremony, tea is presented for our enjoyment in a way that teases and enhances our senses.
When we are truly immersed in the experience of “gōng fū chá", we can experience a feeling of being transported to another time and space - to mystical faraway places where ancient tea forests flourish, where we inhale in fresh air in pristine surroundings, enjoy the refreshing coolness while being shrouded in fresh mist, and bask in the warmth of the sunlight that shines through the mist.
"Gōng fū chá" is a form of “moving meditation”. Like many of you, I have previously heard about the benefits of meditation but have never really embraced it in my life. It is not until my recent experience with spiritual awakening that I truly came to an appreciation of the relevance and importance of meditation in my life.
Many of us are likely to be familiar with thoughts of resistance and struggles that we have put on to the paths of our lives. We are constantly pursuing happiness, seeking for more financial abundance, desiring better relationships, wanting better physical well-being, wanting a different body size and shape, and the list goes on… I have come to the realization that all the things that we seek are there for us, but are hindered from fruition due to our resistant thoughts.
Like many of you, I struggled in my attempts to resist negative thoughts. The harder I resist, the more I end up thinking thoughts which do not serve me. I have learned through my journey that taking baby steps towards quietening my mind through meditation is a powerful tool that will serve me really well in stopping thoughts which do not serve me, which in turn will play a big part in helping me get all the things that I have ever desired.
Meditation helps us quieten our minds by stopping all thoughts, which is probably the hardest thing for many of us to do. Hence, activities like “gōng fū chá”, tai chi, yoga and even manoeuvring a motorbike through long, windy roads really help to quieten the mind. When we stop all thoughts, we stop resistant thoughts. And it is this stopping of resistant thoughts that will help us raise our vibration and help us get in sync with our inner being. When we get in sync, we come into a receptive mode for all the things that we desire and have asked for. Meditation is a powerful way for us humans to find connection with what some may refer to as God or the source of the universe. I believe meditation can be embraced regardless of our religious faith or spirituality.
Through “gōng fū chá” ceremony, I offer a deeply nourishing experience of meditation that is designed to support the detoxification and removal of the impediments in your mind, help you feel your blissful and harmonious existence, and assist you in strengthening your energy vibration. Visualize yourself as the “kung fu” master, skillfully handling a razor sharp sword in a non-aggressive manner, using the sword with precision to develop your focus, and using that focus to promote peace and virtue. Now visualize yourself replacing your sword with a beautiful tea pot, skillfully using the tea implements and tea accessories with deliberate focus to brew a beautiful pot of steaming hot tea, and using your focus to align your thoughts to good feelings thoughts and energy.
The readiness of each one of us to master the true essence of “gōng fū chá” varies and is up to the divine timing of the universe. It took me many years in my life’s journey to awaken myself to its true essence. However, whether we have come for the knowledge of tea and spirituality, or to simply to get “drunk” on the “jade elixir” of tea, there is a place for all of us in the “gōng fū chá” ceremony. I invite you to come join me in this elegant and effective practice of moving meditation to tap into your “chi” energy and promote the flow of life force throughout your body, mind and soul. Live every moment, beautiful souls. Let my Divine KapiTea tease your senses, awaken your spirit and bring wellness to your body, mind and soul. Have a wonderful day, everyone! Sending your love, peace and joy.
More information about my "gōng fū chá" ceremony can be found on my website. :)