Tag Archives: peace

coffe and tea

How to Learn Generosity From a Simple Cup of Courtesy Tea

Some thoughts over a cup of courtesy tea after living almost a year in Myanmar.

This is a guest post by Kristen Palana, aka: Michael’s wife, “Ms. Tea.”

It has been nearly a year now since I first moved to Yangon, Myanmar with my family. Initially I wondered if I would hate, like, or even love my new home. It’s one of the few places in my life that I moved to without having had the opportunity to visit first. (The other two were Edinburgh, Scotland and Los Angeles, CA. respectively.)

Inya Lake in Yangon

Inya Lake in Yangon

So over ten months in I can say with profound certainty that it is indeed love.  Yangon, Myanmar is the most happening city in all of Myanmar and yet it doesn’t suffer (yet) from choking smog or that boxed-in feeling you might get from Bangkok, Hong Kong, or New York City from an over abundance of giant skyscrapers blocking out the sun. Continue reading

How Tea Can Help Us Fight Intolerance

As part of my studies, we had to write a final essay up for discussion on the opportunity for a tea presentation to overcome intolerance. I would like to share with you the result of this essay. The specific question was:

In a world where the intolerance of the cultural values and practices of others leads to discrimination and mass murder, a creative and culturally sensitive tea presentation is an opportunity to promote the art and taste of tea, as well as nurture a peaceful environment of respect and appreciation of many cultures.”

We all come from different backgrounds. We live in different countries around the world. We went through different childhoods, different cultural experiences, which all have left their mark on the windshield on how we perceive the world.
car-1168159_1920_windshieldThe windshield of some people is so tainted and closed that it leads them to see people how they want them to see, with intolerance and discrimination. It leads them to engage in damaging acts and even worse, convince other people to follow their destructive path.
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Our Tea Ceremony – Bamboo and Yixing

Tea ceremony
This tea ceremony has been enjoyed by my wife Kristen and I. The kids are sleeping peacefully. The ceremony is dedicated to peace and harmony.

It starts off by creating an atmosphere of calm and peace. The sun has gone down and I am lighting a green tea incense and a tea candle held by a Buddha. The wonderful smell of the tea incense fills the air and the candle light reveals the stage: a large bamboo tray.

The actors are already here: my new Yixing tea pot, a smelling cup and a few drinking cups to serve the tea. As with all of my tea ceremonies, they are happy to be out of their Chinese silk boxes and participate in this ceremony.

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