Tea Vow of Chastity

By Arizona Buddhist Militia

We are on a mission to rescue tea from the cult of exoticism, decadence, and habit. Previous revolutions in tea have had their day, but we find ourselves now in an age of idle chatter and soggy grounds. The ripples of previous tea masters have washed ashore and turned to muck. The following dogma is not intended as a set of universal rules, nor is it the truth of tea, nor a new way to judge others. Rather, the "Vow of Chastity" is a self-imposed exercise in restraint. Those willing to take the Vow, for a time of their choosing, will find their old habits shattered, their vision renewed, and their taste buds made fresh. Well-known teas will taste new-sprung, old cups and pots will shine aglow, untainted by the years of aesthetic accumulation. And please remember to avoid the deadly underdose!

"The Vow of Chastity for Tea Drinking"

I swear to submit to the following set of rules drawn up and confirmed by the Arizona Buddhist Militia:

  • Drinking must be done in one's natural location, home, work, or neighborhood.
  • No special lighting, background music, or other artificial changes of mood shall take place during tea drinking.
  • One must avoid exoticism at all costs.
  • Superficial devices and equipment, such as thermometers, kettles, spoons, should be kept to a minimum.
  • Special designs and ornamentation without personal meaning on tea cups and pots should be avoided.
  • No tea ritual should be done which is not part of a person's authentic lived experience. No tea ritual should be performed just because of history or popularity in a past historical period. The tea drinking ritual must be true to one's class and geographic location.
  • One should avoid the fetish of "quality", or "trophy" teas, owned for prestige or extravagance. One's best teas should be shared.
  • The number of types of teas one owns at any time should be kept to a minimum.
  • Teas should be purchased based on reaction to the individual batch, not the reputation of the tea's name, type, or previous experience.
  • Avoid the dreaded under-dose.
  • No claims should be made about the superiority of types of clay, material, design, or shape of pots.
  • In all of one's tea drinking, no principle is sacred, no matter how noble its lineage--be it wabi, yixing, gungfu. This goes for the Vow of Chastity as well.
  • Violation of any of these vows is acceptable if done so in the spirit of the rules taken as a whole and confessed publicly.