A place to escape to when one cannot ease one’s cares in the mountains—the hut beneath the pine within the city. -Toyohara Sumiaki
So Zen Dog Studio Teahouse isn’t exactly a humble hut, but many in Seattle and beyond are finding their way to this magical “Temple to Tea” in Crown Hill to ease their cares, make new friends, and of course sip fabulous tea.
If you’ve already been but haven’t stopped by lately, Zen Dog has been busy transforming his oasis in the city. The man recognizes clearly that life is constant change.
Outside he’s recently installed a beautiful wooden Chinese pagoda in the bamboo grove, traditional Chinese waterwheels, a plant-filled koi pond with a cascading stone waterfall, colorful benches in the garden, stone pathways, and more—which make a perfect setting for Zen Dog’s monthly lunar celebrations.
I was fortunate to attend Zen Dog’s first annual summer festival this past weekend, where I mingled with a happy bunch enjoying over 6 hours of live music on the lawn, artist demonstrations, singing bowls, Chen-style tai ji, and a fantastic feast. Between perfectly grilled miso/ginger-marinated salmon, traditional Chinese roasted pig, summer fresh fruit, and tasty salads, I can’t imagine a better blend of Pacific Northwest-meets-Asia fare. (Thanks to Zen Dog’s son Derek for pulling together most of this sumptuous spread.)
From Jillian Graham Band’s bluesy folk rock to the international folklorica of Satellite by Night (Zen Dog regulars) with Mike Antone, the musicians spun a lively and sometimes mystical spell. As a sunny afternoon slipped into a cool orange dusk, Cittaflow entranced us with their flowing ancient-modern sound. I swear the stripped down, primal sound of the didjeridoo reverberated up and down and throughout my body, just like Shauna’s singing crystal bowls earlier in the evening.
Many of us stayed into the night, wrapped in blankets against the evening chill. Zen Dog, as always, was busy brewing and sharing his tea to take the edge off the cold. As his new sign says, his Temple to Tea is all about hospitality, tranquility, harmony, humility, purity, and simplicity.
Isn’t that a marvelous reminder to slow down in this crazy busy world and savor the moment?
Now go drink tea!
When You Go
Click here for a location map. There’s lots going on and coming up at Zen Dog Studio Teahouse. Future events include a guest speaker from Blue Heron Zen on August 19, a Taoist teacher in the fall, and more lunar gatherings. And while Zen Dog embodies hospitality, it is a business, so if you can, please at least leave a tip for the tea served (in the glass pitcher by the door) if you don’t buy anything.