I, Shinzo Shiratori, was born on October 20th, 2003, in Komagane, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. From the age of 3, I had special connection and interest in Buddhism, and often visited the temple and memorized the Heart Sutra at the age of 5 years old. I spent 8 and a half years in Japan, and on April 2nd, 2012, my family and I moved to Vancouver, BC Canada. From Sep 2012, I started my entire new life in Canada, with new people, new language, and new culture. In Vancouver, there is a huge variety of culture, race, and diversity, which lead to a great source of exquisite, beautiful tea. O5 tea, was the first tea company that really showed me the true beauty and secret that tea was hiding. The simplicity that the tea had in nature, the leaf, but how complex we can dig inside the tea really left with a spark inside of me. Dan Cong, the Guangdong Queen of Oolong, which I call it, really played with me. It shock me, the flavors and explosions with the delicate finish. I could not stop, which now brought me to a great number of tea houses, including Silver Crescent. They really brought my understanding of tea to a more connecting level, and strongly made me connect with Cha Dao, which I am really thankful to everyone. I moved to Calgary, due to family circumstances, in July 2017. Although it was a short sweet time in Vancouver, I believe that my adventure has planted the seeds, and the flower will start to blossom so will the fruit grow in plenty.
My Mind and Tea; The Reconnecting Moment
Here in this world, I have been exploring the nature of my mind. Having the eagerness to learn more about the mind, I found Buddhism. The way of living with the intention of benefiting others more than ourselves, and the living with the attitude of wanting to become enlightened, or awakened. Slowly, I understood more about myself, and with the help of my Tibetan Buddhist teacher at that time, Khenpo Sonam. One day, he served me a hot cup of pu-erh tea. Ahh, when I picked it up, I felt something quite unusual. My hands felt, simultaneously, a sense of strength, and relaxation. I felt the grip, yet the loose feeling was there. The next moment, my tongue was already touching the hot, thick, liquor. My mouth was swirling, and sort of the “sticky feeling” of that ripe pu-erh came in. When I swallowed, the tea just felt like it went through my chest and to the stomach. The feeling of chi* was intense, and the energy of the tree itself spoke to me inside. “The tea is grown from the tree, through the sunlight, and from the great earth, it is all interdependent and related to everything.” This is what I felt through the five senses, or perhaps even the sixth sense.
At that point, I understood something special about tea. Tea isn’t only a beverage that you can finish, but is a whole spectrum of understanding and learning. It isn’t just something that could be discovered in one day, three days, or even a year. Not even your whole life. It is all a journey, which the tastings, notes, and hidden feelings are discovered, which slowly reveals our inner potential. Tea is directly, the mirror of our mind, through the experience and blissful tasting, we are able to deeply, and calmly engage and solve the mystery puzzle in all of us. So, look at it this way - No matter what age, what race, what culture we're from, we can all agree on one thing, which is, the sense of taste exists, but always can be interpreted differently, similarly, tea is a delicious beverage, but if we look further down the track, it is the whole discovery of a totally new world.