May 25, 2016
The Way of Tea at City Center

Sensei Meiya Wender has studied the Way of Tea for many years, including a year at the Urasenke Midorikai program in Kyoto, and teaches Tea in Sowing the Moon Teahouse at Green Gulch. We are fortunate that she is also now offering classes in the art of tea at City Center.


The tea ceremony is the serving of tea, ritualized over time and rooted in Zen Buddhism. It symbolizes aesthetic simplicity and represents the fundamental Zen principles of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. (Tea bowl from the San Francisco Zen Center collection.) Photo: Marcia Lieberman

The Japanese tradition of chanoyu (literally “hot water for tea”), developed centuries ago, heavily influenced by Zen practice by the understanding that there is no separation between our ordinary practical life (eg. cleaning the tearoom, making a bowl of tea) and our spiritual life. It may be described simply as boiling water and formally preparing and offering a bite to eat and a bowl of whisked green tea to guests. It is a mindfulness practice, a social gathering, a heart-to-heart meeting of host and guest. Its study encompasses Japanese arts such as calligraphy, flower placement, cooking, garden design, and incense appreciation.

Traditional sweets are offered during the tea ceremony. Photo: Marcia Lieberman

This City Center class is in the Urasenke tradition of tea. It includes the basics of both making tea and being a guest at a tea gathering. It is appropriate for those who wish to enter the study of tea, as well as those who are interested in Japanese culture and would like to become more comfortable as a guest at a tea gathering.

Prospective students are encouraged to first visit a class at City Center, or attend a tea gathering at Green Gulch. The City Center class meets on Monday afternoons, 1:45 pm – 3:45 pm, three times a month.

For further information, please contact Meiya Wender at 415-383-3134, or