Pagodas and Tea - part 4 of 4

Finally, the tea part of Pagodas and Tea!  After spending some quiet time visiting the pagodas and the graves, we spent some time talking to the monk that I'm pictured with below and then we had a tea ceremony with another monk.  The tea ceremony was a great experience.  We sat on cushions on the floor around a very small low table.  The monk was on one side of the table preparing the tea and we were on the other.  The monk spoke fairly good English and seemed to enjoy having the opportunity to practice speaking it.  We sat for a long time, drinking a lot of tea, and talking about a range of subjects.

One thing the monk went into depth about was meditation.  He suggested that I learn about meditation and practice it for at least 5 minutes a day.  He said that life is like driving a car and you often come to crossroads on the journey.  Without meditation, you can't steer and you must go straight through the crossroads, leaving things up to karma.  However with meditation, you have control and you can choose to turn the wheel at any crossroad you come to.  He said the most important things to remember about meditation are to trust your inner self, to let things go, and realize that everything is connected.  It was a very thought provoking afternoon.

It was explained to me that certain colors of ceramic pots are better for certain teas.  If you brew tea in the wrong pot, it will affect the flavor.  We had two teas during our ceremony; one brewed in the little brown pot and one brewed in the white pot.  Both pots of tea were made with loose tea leaves.  The tea in the white pot honestly tasted like chocolate - I have to find out what it is and where to buy it :)

The cups are so little - they only hold about 2 oz (1/4 cup) of liquid.

After the tea ceremony, the monk and I exchanged website information via our iPhones.  That's right, he has an iPhone :)  During tea, he showed us hundreds of pictures he has taken during his travels.  He's been to some amazing places and he's a great photographer.  You can visit his website here.

We were at the temple for so long that it was dinner time when we were about to leave.  The women in the kitchen there were nice enough to give us some traditional Korean food to eat.  Sprouts, noodles, vegetables, kimchi, rice, red pepper sauce, and an egg - everything put in one bowl and mixed together before eating.

"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change
that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living."
~Miriam Beard

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