Since Gautama Buddha asserts that all beings, sentient or insentient, possess Buddha-nature, the question arises: “Is it true that the Buddha-nature owned by the tea is identical to that owned by a human being?” It is an old Chinese saying that “since a human being is different from an insentient arboreal being or herbal being, the former cannot help being emotional.” This saying is sometimes used to justify the attachment to the mundane life and to a human being’s life span. However what I would venture to say here is this: Between a human being’s Buddha-nature and the Buddha-nature of a herbal being—say, the plant of tea—there is a communion or an affinity. The tea can function as an agent to facilitate man’s return to nature and to promote man’s return to his pristine mental simplicity and immaculateness. In Japan the classical tea-making process is called “sado” which can be translated into Chinese as to mean “the tea-making way” or “the way of tea-making”. In other words, drinking of tea has led to the generation of a “WAY”. Metaphorically speaking, drinking of tea can spark an inspiration for channeling our minds in the direction of the “WAY” which we, as practitioners of Buddhist Chan, choose to equate with the Buddhist truth. “Sado” (Japanese tea ceremony) consists of a complicated and meticulous ritual. However those who attend a “sado” party would pay more attention to the moral signification, which represents the “WAY”, of the ritual than to the ritual itself. And they tend to regard all the involved ritual activities merely as “precepts”. Observance of the precepts is simply for the eventual acquisition of the “WAY”. This can be likened to the manner in which a Chan practitioner practices self-cultivation. Self-cultivation calls for a practitioner’s observance of all the Chan precepts in order that he might gain Samadhi. And Samadhi is to give him wisdom which would exalt him to a state of awakening. “Sado” ritual is intended for paving a way for its participants to attain a frame of mind in which they can enjoy to the fullest extent the beatitude such an event can afford them—a beatitude that can activate the participants’ imagination as to the way a worldly life ought to evolve along. And from “sado”, a Chan practitioner can certainly draw a lesson to help himself perceive more graphically the inter-relation between Samadhi and wisdom.
Tea is a very ordinary stuff like clothing, food, etc. It is useful for everybody and needed by everybody. As a matter of fact, Buddhism, being as ordinary as every item of our daily necessities, is useful for and needed by everybody. All men are born equal in that everyone—no matter what he or she is—has in him or her a uniform share of Buddha-nature and also in that everyone is equally capable of uncovering the Buddha-nature inherent—though temporarily obscured by delusions—in him or her. Moreover practicing Chan is in a way comparable to doing “sado” whose ritual can be likened to Chan precepts. Just as “sado” ritual is apt to channel “sado” party participants to mull in the direction of comprehending the moral signification of all the related ritual activities, Chan precepts are apt to induce practitioners to sharpen their insight into the universal likelihood whereby access to perceptibility of Buddha-nature in their minds can be gained. But it is upon a practitioner’s determination to strictly pursue his self-cultivation that the success or failure of his aspiration to awakening hinges. （From My Heart My Buddha）