Back in the 12th-century, a traveling monk named Esai picked up a few tea seeds while he was in China and brought them back Japan, where he taught other Zen monks how to process the tea leaves into a hot drink that would help them stay awake during long periods of concentrated meditation. Tea has endured as the beloved drink of Japan to this day.
As we've watched the terrible events unfold in Japan since March 11, I think of the Japanese people and their peaceful Way of Tea every time I steep a cup. Today in Elephant Journal, Diana Mercer provides a list of tea companies that are donating proceeds from sales to Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief.
Ito En Tea Company will donate more than 1,000,000 bottles of water and tea as well as 1.2 million dollars to earthquake relief.
Pearl Teas will donate 40 percent to the Red Cross and searchdogfoundation.org.
East Pacific Tea will donate 25 percent of sales to the Red Cross.
Yogic Chai will donate 30 percent of sales through end of March.
Hancha Tea will donate 20 percent of all online sales.
In Japan, the phrase shaza kissa—“well, sit down and have some tea”—is common. I hope this week we can all sit down with a cup of tea, send our prayers to the Japanese people and help them begin to rebuild.