525 days of sitting with tea - Mindfulness Tea Ceremony & Tea Meditation in Auckland

"The Way of Tea is about embracing a fully engaged way of living in this world, while being able to let go of our personal judgment to life. The Way (Tao or Dao) is not something that can be described, it can only be realized with practices."

I could never remember the first day I started to serve tea in our family. When you are born in a culture in which almost every family drinks tea after meal everyday, you don't care about this very much. Serving tea for others used to be a chore for me. I did it because for some reasons the task was passed on to me as my responsibility to make sure everyone has tea to drink after food.

When I was very little, I thought the adults took ways too long to do their tea. My dad took his time to rinse the pot and cups and the tea leaves. He even threw away the first water. Later on, when I started to prepare tea, especially in any gathering of our family and relatives, I made sure I took the least amount of time possible to get the job done.

When Vietnam's economy started to do a lot better, different tea brands flooded into the country. Lipton tea bags became popular. However, my parent stay a loyal customer to traditional Vietnamese and Chinese loose leaf tea. Their loyalty irritated me as I was still the one that was in charge of serving tea, especially for our family's gatherings which happens almost every weekend.

One thing I noticed in growing up with brewing tea on a daily basis was that I loved the smell of tea from loose leaf tea. The smell of tea bags would never being able to compete.

I moved to Auckland, New Zealand in 2013 and started to drink tea (from tea bags) with milk instead. I no longer serving tea in any social situation for almost a decade in Auckland. The only time I have to serve tea is when I visit my family in Hanoi around December and January every year. And as a more matured and calm person I have grown into now, I don't feel irritated in doing tea slowly any more. In fact, I quite enjoy the whole process of preparing, brewing and pouring tea for everyone.

In the end of 2022, I took Dean, my partner to Hanoi for his first visit. During this time, my friends brought me to a small tea house in the city central in which we were served their signature lotus green tea. I thought the lady who brew tea for us could have done a better job if she didn't leave the tea just a little too long that it became quite astringent and bitter for my taste. However, she performed a beautiful and elegant ceremony. I was in love with the movements of her hands that I could tolerate any amount of bitterness & astringency.

I found myself keep coming back to the same tea house during our stay in Hanoi. I also brought Dean there with me. Even a non tea drinker like Dean enjoyed the tea sitting so much, it gave me an idea of combining my meditation offering with tea ceremony in Auckland.

I saw myself did a few courses on tea and started to set up my tea meditation offering as soon as we get back to Auckland in January 2023. The more I sit with tea, firstly in my personal practice, the more I realize what The Way of Tea is about. Tea sitting isn't meant to be fast. It involves slowing down and showing up to connect deeper with ourselves and with the world around us. Every moment in a tea practice counts. Every moment is equally fresh, unique and important.

Today is day 525th of my personal tea practice.

"What a tea practice looks like?", you might ask.

For me, it is a sitting with tea in silence from preparing, brewing, serving and receiving the tea myself. It is the same as a tea ceremony that you would do in public with other people. The essence of tea, for me isn't about performing a perfect ceremony. It is about listening, not with just the sense of hearing but with all of our being. When we truly listen to observe and witness every moment as it is unfolding, we learn to accept and see life as it is. We learn to check in with ourselves, to see and acknowledge where we are at without judging ourselves. We also learn to connect deeper with the world around us from this deep bond with our authentic self, the self of no judgment.

Over the last 525 days of practicing with The Way of Tea (or Cha Dao in Chinese. Cha means tea, Dao is the way. It is the practice rooted in the philosophy of Dao in China, the motherland of tea), I have seen myself learning and unlearning, doing and not-doing, adding and subtracting. Sitting with tea have taught me tremendously about life, about love, about anything that I have been aware of. It will continue teaching me more about things that I have yet aware of now but will be in the future. The Way of Tea is about embracing a fully engaged way of living in this world, while being able to let go of our personal judgment to life. The Way (Tao or Dao) is not something that can be described, it can only be realized with practices.

Below is the 1st verse in Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu:

"The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things
Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence
Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations
These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders"


These days, serving tea for others no longer feels like a chore to me. It has been my ultimate joy. I receive so much from within when I serve. There is no give and receive in a materialistic sense. Giving and receiving has merged into one or there wasn't any separation from the first place anyway.

Come join me in any of our tea sitting at The Grounded Circle, a community I founded in 2022 here in Auckland. In our tea sitting, we will have some bowls or cups of tea together usually in noble silence. We will meditate together and go deep into the connection with our inner self. We usually will journal or do art journal together by the end of our practice.


 Pictures above were the tea ceremonies I held at SOMM (The School of Modern Meditation)

Pictures were at our 2023 & 2024 Speak powerfully & authentically workshop with Tea meditation, breathwork & public speaking sessions.

Pictures were me in a Tea appreciation ceremony in 2024 in Auckland.

A private tea ceremony for my Japanese friend Kana & her mother. In this ceremony, I shared with them the traditional Vietnamese lotus green tea.

One of our monthly tea sitting at The Grounded Circle in Auckland.

I also post videos on The Way of Tea & Tea meditation on The Grounded Circle's youtube channel. I would love to connect with any of you on there!

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