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Tea Legends: The Story Of Bodhidharma

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There are many legends surrounding the origin of drinking tea.  One story tells us that it began in China thousands of years ago.  It is said that the leaves of a Camellia plant dropped off and landed in a bowl of boiling water.  The Emperor at the time tasted the result and found them to his liking and the art of drinking tea was born.

Another favorite legend involves an East Indian man who came to China sometime around the 6th Century B.C.  He came in search of students to follow his practice of martial arts.  It is said that he founded a different type of martial arts than was currently being practiced in China.  Instead of using martial arts to wage war, he changed to focus on using the practice for spiritual and health benefits.

This man's name was Bodhidharma and the legend tells us that he sat in front of a cave for 9 years.  In the beginning he had to endure the scorn and ridicule of the people who lived in the area.  The torment continued for the first 3 of those years.  After that the people became bored with tormenting a man who never reacted. He would just sit in stillness.

After the second 3 year period of relative obscurity, people began to take notice of this man that could remain in meditation for so many years.  They became impressed and many decided to sit in meditation alongside him.  When his time in meditation was done he spoke to the people surrounding him and it is said that they immediately became enlightened souls.

He spoke about the Lotus flower and how it should be viewed as an example of how a man can rise above his suffering.  He remind them that the Lotus rises from the muddy waters where it then blooms and flourishes in the light.  It was during one of his many long term meditations that followed, that we are told he fell asleep.   He became disgusted with his lack of focus so he cut his eyelids off, hoping to avoid it happening again, and threw them in the garden.

It is said that where his eyelids landed in the dirt a tea plant began to grow.  In essence, Bodhidharma gave the art of drinking tea to the world as a gift to be used along with one's meditation practice to help with focus.

There are many Tea Legends to enjoy reading and perhaps you are aware of another legend we should know about.  If you want to share it with us, register for an account and post your story.  You'll get rewarded with Karma Points too!  You can also contact us directly.

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