The Way of Tea
the way of tea
with Wu De of Global Tea Hut
Over 20 years ago, after several years of studying both martial arts and Eastern culture, Aaron Fisher – now known as Wu De – found himself mesmerized by tea. This seemingly simple substance quickly became the source of immense pleasure, awakening, and fulfillment for him. “There seemed to be a kind of destiny at work even then,” he told us, “the way you feel when you fall in love.”
Indeed, much like being in love, Wu De soon found himself falling down the rabbit hole of tea – traveling to find it, spending countless time and resources uncovering it’s colorful past, and, most importantly, sitting with it as a meditative practice.
Like a good love, marked by passion rather than possession, Wu De quicly began sharing tea with the world. After decades of immersion in tea, Wu De started Global Tea Hut, a monthly magazine and tea subscription that is now much revered by tea lovers around the world. He also spent his life’s savings hosting guests from around the world at his tea center in Taiwan.
Now in the process of fundraising for an expansion of that center, Wu De is still fueled by the same passion that started him on his path some 20 years ago: “That tea helps make my fellow humans more awake, heart-centered and loving is the main reason I keep pouring it around the world.”
Read on to learn more about Wu De’s passion and visit him this month in New York at Puerh Brooklyn where he’ll be teaching a multitude of workshops during a rare trip to the US.
What was it about the way of tea that led you to dedicate yourself to the practice ?
The way that tea connects us to Nature, helping bring the mountain to the city and restore the world to my mind. Nature is always talking and Tea helps us understand what it is saying. Tea also helps one to cultivate a meditation practice, stilling the mind while remaining awake. Finally, tea connects us to each other. Tea is civilization and kindness. It awakens compassion and care in our hearts. It is perhaps this that most appeals to me.
At what point of your practice did you decide to start Global Tea Hut ?
When my passion for tea first blossomed, there was no Internet and very few books to guide the Western Chajin. There was almost no information about tea in the Western world at the time, and very few tea shops as well. As a writer, I hoped that I could help one day. After founding the first English tea magazine, The Art of Tea and creating a free online magazine called The Leaf, this motivation evolved into Global Tea Hut. In the early days of our retreat Center, Tea Sage Hut, in Miaoli Taiwan. The Center had no donation box or any other method for supporting itself. As word spread and this practice started to benefit the lives of more people, we quickly spent our life’s savings hosting tea people from around the world and were breaking even each month as well.
We knew that the Center would soon cost more than we could afford, so we brainstormed ways to raise money and came up with a monthly newsletter that came with tea, which we called “Global Tea Hut.” The newsletter soon grew into the magazine we know and love today…
How did you get access to all the wonderful texts that you now translate for everyone in the Global Tea Hut Magazine ?
Several of the largest tea publishers on Earth have donated their entire body of work to Global Tea Hut, meaning that we have free reign to translate thousands of articles spanning decades, which is a major contribution to tea scholarship in the West. So far, Global Tea Hut has published eighteen issues that were the largest English publication in the world on that particular topic! We are also currently working on our seventh translation of a classical tea text. This one is from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and we have already translated texts from the Tang (618-907) and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties. We also have annotated these texts with hundreds of notes to help with comprehension.
For those who are unaware, please share how Global Tea Hut works?
Global Tea Hut is our magazine. Each month we send out a beautiful ad-free magazine along with some sustainably-grown tea to tea lovers in over sixty countries. We have monthly and annual subscription options on our GlobalTeaHut.org website. Global Tea Hut is also very much a community. Members have access to an App where they can share questions and learn from each other, and also find and form local gatherings and events. “Through tea make friends.”
You are currently fundraising for your new Light Meets Life center, tell us what happens at the center?
Guests at our Center meditate twice a day, eat nourishing healthy and cleansing food, and, of course, learn all about tea, from history to brewing and ceremony. During courses, guests learn about water, fire, several brewing methods, visit a tea farm to make their own tea and so much more… Completely cared for, they have the opportunity for real life transformation. And it’s all free!
Our future Center, “Light Meets Life,” will be a continuation and an expansion of the school we have now, growing both in size and capacity, and in the content of the courses we will offer. We want to create a free tea Center that will live long after we are gone, providing a home for tea and tradition that lasts for generations to come.