Steeped in Tao with Author Deng Ming Dao

It was one of those experiences that seem so familiar but are steeped in the surreal.           We have served tea countless times, all over the West Coast, and every time it's special and unique. On this day we were situated in a beautiful cedar grove near a pond in Golden Gate Park, a magical spot to be sure, perfect for the afternoon that was unfolding.

If you have been drinking tea seriously for any period of time, you begin to understand that a lot of the beauty of the experience comes from its simplicity, the ideal of a quiet moment to connect with nature... to be one with the ebb and flow of the universe, even if just for a few moments. For many this is what you would describe as being one with Tao, or the way... a connection to the world around you that happens without effort, it is simply there to be uncovered.

Anyone who has been curious about the tea sages of old, knows about the Tao. It has inspired moments of bliss and poetry and is the goal of any tea session, to simply be present and connect. That's why the tea that day was to be special, we were going to be sitting with one of the modern day bearers of Taoist tradition, Deng Ming Dao.

He arrived with the smile of an old friend, perhaps someone we sipped tea with on a misty peak, in another life, centuries ago. We started with simple introductions, but quickly settled into preparing tea for this honored and gracious guest. As we sat in silence and slowly sipped the tea, I observed a natural kindness and gentle nature to this scholar and as silence gave way to conversation, I was struck by how willing he was to share his knowledge. We talked of the Taoist path and what it meant to live an authentic life in a modern and superficial world. He had the way of a teacher, remembering all that we talked about, even if we veered off on different subjects and would always circle back to bring the conversation to a single pointed clarity. It was his connection to the Tao, so clear in his words, he lives a path of philosophical truths, like a tree standing still in the wind, always knowing the direction the sun shines.

The Tao that he shared with us is a system of being that is rooted in centuries of contemplation about the natural way of the universe, an unwavering foundation built on rigorous observation of the world around us. There was no stone unturned, and you got the sense that studying and teaching the Tao was the truth of his existence.

As the day slipped by and the last drops from the tea pot splashed into our cups, we were left with polite goodbyes and a promise to keep in touch. Moments like these are special, a chance meeting with someone who shares his life's wisdom so freely, who simply is and is completely.


Deng Ming Dao is a renowned Chinese American author, artist, philosopher, teacher and martial artist. His books have greatly inspired us during our tea ceremonies. Most notable 365 Tao

Place the word Tao Into your heart. Use no other words.

The Tao is constantly moving, the path that all life and the whole universe takes. There is nothing that is not part of it—harmonious living is to know and to move with the Tao—it is a way of life, the natural order of things, a force that flows through all life.