About NaropaNaropa Tea House

The Naropa Tea House

Bring Chadō Home to the Historic Tea House

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, fifteenth 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.”

Tsukabai stone basin. Join in community for a bowl of tea.

Japanese Tea Ceremony at Naropa

In the early 1980s, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche designed a Japanese-inspired tea house which his students then built for his birthday. It was a perfect addition to a contemplative community centered on mindful spaces and practices. Originally located at Trungpa Rinpoche’s Boulder home, the tea house was moved to Naropa’s Arapahoe Campus in 1989, two years after his passing.

 Throughout the years, the tea house has been a resource for contemplative practice, intercultural competency, and appreciation of the arts for students and community members. For 15 years, weekly lessons were offered by Mike “Sōhō” Ricci, an accomplished Urasenke tea teacher and Raku potter. Currently classes and demonstrations are offered by Thomas “TJ” Shōnen 正念 DeZauche, an affiliate faculty member at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he teaches coursework in Eastern Religions. TJ holds a Master of Arts in Religious Studies, with a focus in Buddhism and Sanskrit. In 2016, he received the Tokudo ordination, becoming a priest in the Tendai Buddhist tradition of Japan. He studied Chadō for 13 years, and in 2017 he was granted permission to teach from Omotesenke, one of the major Japanese Tea lineages, receiving the name Sōen 宗猿.

Tea practice is included in Naropa Community Practice Days, as part of other Naropa classes, and in open classes and 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.

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Forge a Flourishing Tea Community

A retreat from the noise and speed of daily life, the tea house is an integral and indispensable part of Naropa’s history and our founder’s original vision. Re-establishing a tea community begins with the cultivation of the practice space. The tea house at Naropa needs maintenance and care to ensure the simplicity and clarity of the practice environment.

Your Generous Contribution Will:

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

Artist rendering of what the tea house will look like after renovations.

The new teahouse: the same but better.

The Way of Tea in Images

Chadō, or the Way of Tea, embraces the four values of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.


Naropa Tea Club

This is a student group registered with SUN (Student Union of Naropa). The mission of the Naropa Tea Club is to create inclusive opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the Boulder community to explore the vast world of tea as a contemplative practice from inside the historic Naropa Tea House.
The current facilitators of the space are Chadō practitioners who will guide students in learning about the spirituality, history, etiquette, and aesthetic appreciation of Tea—and build connections between the Naropa Tea Club, official teachers, and the larger community. The secondary mission of the Tea Club is to steward and maintain the Tea House space so it is well-preserved for generations to come.
The Naropa Tea Club meets regularly in the Naropa Tea House. Hours are subject to change and other hours may be added; please join our discord to stay up-to-date on open hours and other Tea House events! 

Additional Resources

  • If you are interested in studying Chadō, please visit Rocky Mountain Chadō.
  • Read about a student’s perspective of the Way of Tea in the Pilot Light blog.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.