Mid-Autumn Festival in late “summer”.

What a nice idea.

In one of the last posts (Recent Media), I uploaded a photo and a video from the large, boisterous, and happy Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節 Zhōng Qiū Jié) from DDM’s temple 天南寺 (Tiān Nán Sì), which took place on a Saturday night. Two nights later, the 12th, was the actual day for the festival (called “Mid-Autumn” as it is according to the Chinese calendar). I was up at Dharma Drum at that point, and was grateful to participate in a quite different, much quieter celebration for this ancient Chinese holiday, one befitting a space devoted to inward contemplation.

You can read a bit about what the holiday actually means through the first link above, if you would like. It is one of the three big holidays of the Chinese calendar (the other two being “Chinese New Years” [called the Spring Festival], and the Winter Solstice.)

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a bit reminiscent of Thanksgiving in the US, in that family and food are central. And, also similar, it is not just any food, but specific food: 月餅 (moon cakes!!), 柚子 (pomelo, or a Chinese grapefruit), among others.

This year at DDM, they tried something a bit different: a mass tea-ceremony, with over 100 monks and around 60 or so laity. By all accounts, it was a great success, engendering a lovely, still, and quiet atmosphere charged with happiness. One of the more venerable and venerated female monks, Ven. Guo Jing, spent a number of years in Japan getting her doctorate in Buddhist studies, and brought back a slightly modified form of a Japanese tea ceremony. In the weeks running up to the Mid-Autumn Festival, she managed to train about 30 monks in the ceremony, such that everyone who came had a seat at a small table and was able to drink tea throughout the evening.

Before the actual tea ceremony began, we had a short talk by the Abbot of DDM, Ven. Guo Dong, in DDM’s hall to Guan-yin Bodhisattva (the Wish-fulfilling Guan-yin Hall), as well as a group dance to what sounded like a sweet Buddhist children’s song (though, I wondered where the children were; until I realized they were us!) Then, we all processed outside, settled around the tables, and the tea ceremony began.

We silently sat drinking a number of cups of tea for almost an hour, in a serene and cleansing atmosphere. The movements of the tea ceremony were very precise without being devoid of feeling or life; in fact, quite the opposite. It frees something up inside, once you get the hang of it.

After drinking tea for some time, we “let loose”, so to speak, and dug in to all the lovely food offered for everyone. At this point, we were accompanied by a cellist and a very impressive shakuhachi player for another hour or so.

Then, what is fast becoming one of my favorite parts to DDM’s events: we cleaned everything up. This is always an impressive display of harmony, willingness, and kindness. Very enjoyable.

It was a lovely evening.

Here are some photos, with attempts at what might resemble some form of reflections. I tried my best to take decent photos, as it was quite dark as you can see:

Pre-drinking tea.

Drinking tea.

Mind? eyes? …._/\_…. all quiet,

Tea-plied palate = > satisfied.

Zinnnngggle! < ((((legs asleep!)))) >

Post-drinking tea (now eating!)

What is this, I dare?

Coffee-colored jello … with cream …?

Sliding happily passed once guarded lips.

Shakuhachi player.

I can remember….

Pursed lips ++++ pressured air >>>>> charged with hope

The sudden sound brought tears.

Content.

Dharma talk = the moon in the mind.

Catching phrases here …..

Now … there. Watching {-}{-} his silhouetted body:

Showing more than saying.

+++++++++++============++++++++++++

As always, I hope you are well. Thanks for reading.

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