Mountain Gate Teahouse and Art Gallery
We are overjoyed to share the Way of Tea through Mountain Gate Teahouse and Art Gallery in the cloud-hidden mountains of Telluride, Colorado. We opened on July 1st, 2020. Living Tea will offer daily tea ceremonies, classes and workshops to explore every facet of tea from the linear, biological, and practical aspects to the artistic, meditative and ceremonial. At Mountain Gate, guest "tea folk" will be sharing their knowledge and experience, and we intend to host longer immersive retreats in Telluride in the coming years. We will also be integrating aspects of Chinese medicine and herbalism, Taoist philosophy and outdoor tea ceremonies during the warmer months. We wish to share a foundational understanding of what it means to relate to tea as a Way, offering various brewing methodologies and tea traditions as we have learned them through our lineage.
Just as tea has emerged in many forms through myriad facets of human life, so too has it attracted an diverse cast of characters whose love of the leaf borders on obsession. In the words of one such character- art curator and surreptitiously famous author of the classic Book of Tea, Okakura Kakuzo, “tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage.” This mysterious leaf has travelled a long and vast road through history; a path filled with adventure, intrigue, thievery, warfare, social revolution, caravans and cavalcades, currency and embargoes, fortunes gained and lost, friends and enemies, artistic expression, philosophical explorations and at its misty-peaked heights, spiritual enlightenment. While in the Western world we relate to tea as a casual beverage, China and Japan have long held traditions that reverentially regard Camellia Sinensis in a different light. Pin Ming Lun Dao is a commonly used Chinese phrase, which means to discuss and understand Dao through the taste of tea. For thousands of years in China, all great discussions of the Tao, or the deeper questions of life, have taken place at the tea table. The tea ceremony has long been regarded in Asia as a means of connecting with the essential in Life and Nature, with symbolic images and punctuations in the ceremony drawing the participants into a primordial space of connection to one another and the plant world. And while the history and lore of Tea paints a rich picture of what it means to live a Life of Tea- one with clear principles, practices, methodologies and traditions- one can still deeply engage the Leaf without these superfluous details. Inherent in the Leaf is a reminder of the intertwining relationship between meditation, tea, and enlightenment- Tea cannot be described in words, but only tasted directly right here and now.
As plant medicine, Taoist herbalists hail Tea as a spirit or Shen tonic for its ability to clear the mind, open the heart, settle the soul and illuminate one’s essence. Zen masters and spiritual aspirants use tea to maintain a state of calm alertness during long hours of meditation. Artists and cultured individuals relate to tea as a means of expressing a living art, a moving painting, an experiential awakening to beauty, nature and one another. Health enthusiasts exalt tea as a powerful antioxidant, detoxifier, digestant and gentle stimulant. All of these profound properties find their fullest expression through traditional tea ceremony. Within any tea ceremony, whether comprised of simple leaves in a bowl or antique teaware and formal practice, we find a space to commune with ourselves, one another and nature. Within this space of presence, the lines between the three become hazy and we return to the simple joy of living.