I was looking through some old lectures of Master Chang yesterday and was reminded of the story of the Tea Master.

Mistakenly bumped by him in a busy crowd, a samurai challenged an old man to a duel. This old man was actually a Tea Master who knew nothing of fighting, so he went to see Miyomoto Musashi who many had gone to for sword fighting lessons. 

When he met Musashi, the Tea Master simply asked, “how do I die with honour?” Musashi was surprised, most people came to him to learn how to kill, “who are you?”, he asked. 

“I am nobody”, he responded, “just a Tea Master”, said the man. “So, make me Tea”, replied Musashi.

The Tea Master, though only hours away from death made tea, and did it so single-mindedly that Musashi told him to leave because he could already die with honour. 

Time for the duel arrived. The Samurai was already there and was frustrated, “so you finally decided to come, lets fight!” The Tea Master said nothing, but bowed. He placed his sword down and bowed again. Finally he lifted his sword above his head, and stayed there, unmoving. 

Seeing his composure the Samurai began to shake. “Maybe I’ve chosen the wrong opponent,” he thought. As the sun reflected on the Tea Master’s Sword he saw red. “Is that my blood?, am I already dead?” Finally the samarai dropped to the floor apologising, “I am so sorry Master, please forgive me”. The Tea Master said nothing, just collected up his belongings. The Samuari started running after him, “please take me as your student”, he begged. After much persistence the Tea Master agreed. 

The Tea Master taught the samurai how to control his mind. The samurai knew how to fight but that was all.


Read the story of Won Hyo.

The tea master.