The Historic Naropa Tea House

Restoring the Historic Naropa Tea House

The images you see below are renditions of what the tea house at Naropa University will look like after renovations are complete. Read on to learn more about the restoration process as well as the history and significance of the Tea House. Find opportunities to make a contribution to the renovation fund below.

What is Chadō?

Translated as “The Way of Tea”, Chadō is an aesthetic and cultural practice focused on the cultivation of self-awareness. This practice, refined and codified in Japan, creates a ceremonial space where host and guests gather mindfully and together, enjoy a simple bowl of tea. Chadō allows us to step out of our daily lives and into a still space where the arts (of poetry, ceramics, woodworking, architecture, calligraphy, flower arrangement, incense, textiles, calligraphy, food, etiquette, and awareness of the seasons) come together. 

In 1970, 15th generation Urasenke grand tea master Sen Genshitsu (玄室) invited the world to practice Chadō. His dream was to cultivate peacefulness through a bowl of tea, and to that end, he worked to share this sacred practice with the world. Traveling and teaching internationally, he spread “Peacefulness through a Bowl of Tea.” 

Get the Tea Scoop

To learn more about peace and equity in the tea house (and the radical history of tea itself) sign up for The Tea Scoop, our monthly bulletin. In our once-monthly newsletter, we'll share tidbits about the history and culture of tea ceremony, include fundraiser updates & progress reports on tea house repairs, and share opportunities to enjoy tea in community. Your personal information and privacy will be respected.
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Japanese Tea Ceremony at Naropa

In the early 1980s, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche designed a Japanese-inspired tea house that his students built for his birthday. It was a perfect addition to a community already centered around mindful spaces and practices. Originally located at Trungpa Rinpoche’s Boulder home, the tea house was moved to Naropa’s Arapahoe campus after his passing. 

Since being moved to Naropa’s Arapahoe campus nearly forty years ago, the tea house has hosted many different tea teachers from different lineages. For many students and community members throughout the years, it has been a resource for contemplative practice, intercultural competency, and appreciation of the arts. Most recently, weekly lessons were offered by Mike “Sōhō” Ricci, an accomplished Urasenke tea teacher and Raku potter.

As the tea house begins to reopen after COVID-19, the practice will be included in Naropa Community Practice Days, as part of other Naropa classes, and in open workshops. With your support, the tea house will continue to be a useful and beautiful resource for years to come. The increased stability and functionality that come from your support will allow our robust community to grow and spread peace through tea for many more generations.

If you are interested in studying Chadō, please visit Rocky Mountain Chadō.

Re-Establishing a Tea Community at Naropa

A retreat from the noise and speed of daily life, the tea house at Naropa is an integral and indispensable part of its history. Re-establishing a tea community post-pandemic starts with a practice space. Like all buildings, the tea house at Naropa needs maintenance. Here is how your generous contribution will help revitalize this beloved building: 

  • Reinforcing the structure of the tea house, so it will stand for many years to come.
  • Expanding the “kitchen” space for more efficient storage and workspace. This will also allow more students to practice.
  • Moving the tokonoma (alcove) and adding a tea house door for a more traditional and useful orientation.
  • Replacing well-worn tatami mats with fresh ones that will last for many years. 
  • Landscaping the tea garden to better evoke a transformation from the everyday world to one of tranquility and harmony. 
  • Replacing and repairing damaged shoji screens inside the tea room.
  • Purchasing community dogu (utensils) that will allow students to learn the proper appreciation of all the arts of tea.