The Way of Tea at Yo San
Over twenty Yo San University students and other community members gathered in the Qi Studio on Tuesday January 24, 2012 to listen to a presentation by tea master and author Aaron Fisher.
For the past two decades, Fisher, a native of Ohio, has devoted his life to travel and living in Asia and learning more about the history, healing powers and culture of tea. He has written several books on the topic including Tea Wisdom and The Way of Tea (Tuttle Publishing, 2010), and is currently the director of a center in Taiwan that focuses on the study and learning about tea. He is also the editor of an on line magazine The Leaf-Tea and Tao (check it out at: the-leaf.org), With the opening of Temple Tea in Venice California, a tea house and emporium founded by Yo San University Student, Colin Hudon, Fisher has made several recent trips to the United States. In his US visits Fishes conducts workshops and provides advice regarding the procurement, storing, distribution and preparation of quality teas that have a multilevel healing potential. More importantly Fisher’s consultations promote and transmit the value and culture of tea. In his address to the Yo San University community Fisher cited that next to water tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. Because of its extensive use and enduring history, Fisher opined that the human body has genetically evolved to be receptive to the healing power of tea. He traced the history of the tea tree and recounted several of the ancient legends associated with the “divine herb,” that he views as the most basic and powerful of all Chinese medicines. He noted that in China there are some tea gardens that have trees that are over 3500 years old. Those tea trees bear particularly potent tea leaves that are accessible only to Chinese royalty. On the other hand, Fisher also recognized the need to propagate tea in plantations and likewise values the culture, ceremony and potential healing that can emerge from commercially grown tea varieties. Fisher’s comments repeatedly emphasized the danger of separating body mind and spirit, and postulated the potency of tea as an integrative medicine that has the potential to heal the whole person. He views the use of tea as a means of flushing toxins from the body, mind and spirit. While Fisher has a clear grasp and respect for the history of tea, he is all in favor of incorporating contemporary perspectives and science into the use of tea. His comments challenged the Western standard of medicine that healing has to result in the removal of disease and focused on the spiritual and meditative processes so often a part of enjoying a cup of tea. Fisher’s words pointed out that so much illness originates or is compounded by stress. He encouraged the audience to reverence the moments of brewing and savoring tea and the calming down and healing impact of those moments.