Friday, May 22, 2009

Three cups of tea

The book Three Cups of Tea isn’t about tea, but it does relate to the philosophy of tea.


First a little back story.


After an unsuccessful attempt to climb K2—the world’s second highest mountain—Greg Mortenson became lost and eventually staggered, exhausted, into a remote village in northern Pakistan. The village’s children had no school or teacher. In exchange for nursing him back to health, Greg promised the village elder that he would return and build a school there.


Which he did—and then some: He and the organization that he helped found has built a total of 55 schools in the region.


The book’s title comes from a Balti proverb:

The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family. . .

In other words, tea is not just a means of achieving inner tranquility but also a way to bond with others.


In Japan, a cup of green tea offered to a guest is the foundation of hospitality. Perhaps it's the symbolism of sharing one's bounty with another.


But I also suspect that mellowness induced by green tea is infectious. Just as it helps us find harmony within, green tea, I believe, also creates harmony with others.


Greg Mortenson bonded over tea with people in a culture he previously new little about. Perhaps green tea can open a similar door for you.





—Mellow Monk


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