Japanese tea ceremony: cha-no-yu and the zen art of mindfulness, the. An examination of the five-centuries-old tea ceremony—or Cha-no-Yu in Japanese, literally "hot water for tea"—a cornerstone of Japanese culture and a core practice of Zen Buddhism. Framed by intricately choreographed steps, the tea ceremony is as much about the search for enlightenment as it is about serving tea. Within the serenity of the tea room, the ceremony, with its highly formal structure, becomes an object of focus for meditation. As the water is heated and the tea is served, the ultimate goal is losing the sense of self while gaining inner peace. The path to mindfulness runs through the center of the tea ceremony.