Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Way of Tea; Tea Bowls at the Asian

Tea may be the oldest as it surely is the most constantly congenial reminder of the West's debt to the East - Francis Rose Carpenter. introduction to The Classic of Tea



A sincere heart is at the center of the tea ceremony. Suzuki, the great Zen master and teacher, said that chanoyu brings things together - purity, harmony, respect for nature and self-knowledge. Three centuries before Suzuki, tea master Sen Sotan (1576-1658) gave his own definition of chanoyu:

If asked
The nature of chanoyu,
say it's the sound
of windblown pines
in a painting

Shen Nung, mythical emperor and father of traditional Chinese medicine stopped to rest underneath a tea tree. While carefully boiling water to drink, a tea leaf floated into the pot of hot water. When the leaf colored the water, Shen Nung guessed that something magical was happening. After cooling the colored water, he took a careful sip. His being was infused with a sense of peace and calm and the art of drinking tea was born. Or so the story goes.

"A samurai whose only attribute is strength is not acceptable. He must use his leisure time to practice poetry and understand the tea ceremony. "
The tearoom becomes a world unto itself, where continuity of ordinary space and time, dependent on our physical existence, ceases to exist. Within such a room, one is a disembodied spirit, unencumbered by material limitations. In such a room, there is no absolute time, only the ever changing now.

For further reading: Beatrice Hohenegger. Liquid Jade. The story of tea from east to west.
Okakura Kakuzo. The Book of Tea

2 comments:

Zoomie said...

Let's sip some tea together at the Japanese Tea Garden after we go to the deYoung and see if it gives us the serenity it promises.

namastenancy said...

I'm not sure that it's open at 9 AM - I have a feeling that I would not feel very serene with the fog blowing through the trees. Or, we could try kneeling on a tatami mat and serving tea, whipped up into a green froth. I'm not sure that's a very serene alternative either. But afternoon tea and crumpets+ Mozart - now THAT's serenity!