More from the Tea-Master

Okakura, Kakuzo. The Book of Tea. p. 35 "Strangely enough humanity has so far met in the teacup. It is the only Asiatic ceremonial which commands universal esteem. The white man has scoffed at our religion and our morals, but has accepted the brown beverage without hesitation. The afternoon tea is now an important function in Western society. In the delicate clatter of trays and saucers, in the soft rustle of feminine hospitality, in the common catechism about cream and sugar, we know that the Worship of Tea is established beyond question. The philosophic resignation of the guest to the fate awaiting him in the dubious decoction proclaims that in this single instance the Oriental spirit reigns supreme."

It is really funny to me that most Westerners don't even realize that the tradition of drinking tea came, not from the English, but from the Chinese. Most Americans probably conjure images of the Boston Tea Party and the British Prime Minister and his lovely wife drinking Earl Grey from a silver tea service prepared by a butler named Jeeves. What is sad is that Japanese tea culture has changed from being a highly somber and ceremonious event with only the finest green tea leaves to being a copy of the more Western custom of drinking brown tea with sugar, lemon, and/or milk as routine after a meal with desert.

p. 69 a story of Soshi (Chuangtse) the Taoist: "One day Soshi was walking on the bank of a river with a friend. 'How delightfully the fishes are enjoying themselves in the water!' Exclaimed Soshi. His friend spake to him thus: 'You are not a fish; how do you know that the fishes are enjoying themselves!' 'You are not myself,' returned Soshi; 'how do you know that I do not know that the fishes are enjoying themselves?'"

Hahaha. I like this little vignette because it sounds so goofy, like something Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid would say.


written by Ruthie @ 2:41 AM  
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Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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