Tea and ancient philosophy/Ceaiul si filosofiile antice

Ceaiul si filosofia antica/Tea and ancient philosophy

tea garden2

Traducerea de mai jos in limba romana este o incercare de modificare si de corectare a erorilor  (initiale si adaugate la articolul tradus din lb. engleza care e redat mai jos  dupa cel in lb.engleza) din articolul  de pe situl: http://www.gradinamea.ro/1_537_Ceaiul_si_filosofiile_antice_2577.html


The Start of Tea as a Philosophical Concept

tea garden

In China, Tea was first introduced to common people as a medicine, and then a food spices, and later a new material for drinking. Tea was later introduced to royal family, and then the buddhist monasteries.

When tea entered into common people’s daily life, it became a part of Chinese traditional Daoism; when tea entered into royal family’s life, the royal family branded it with Confucianism; when tea entered into the buddhist circle to help buddhist monks meditate, buddhists dissolved Buddhism into tea pots.

So, for Chinese, tea is not just tea, it is a combination of Chinese Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.

Tea and Taoism

Tao is the philosophy and religion that originally rooted from ancient China. In Chinese, Tao literally means path or way, and it can extent its meanings as of principle and moral. Taoism means the essence of the universe. It is such a serious concept that Chinese people usually do not relate Tao with common things. Japan later adopted the word of Tao(the same characte rendered as:Do) and refered it to something has a form/custom and some skill sets, such as Ju Do, Flower Do, and Cha Do. So the Japanese Do is very different from Chinese Tao in core.

ImageLao Zi (604-531 B.C.) the greatest chinese  philosopher and his student Zhuang Zi, who created and developed the Chinese religion and philosophy of taoism, empathized the true essence of the universe, and the united one of human beings and the natural world. Taoism asserts Tao is the combination of truth, kindness, and beauty of the universe; material and human spirit can not be separated (material is in the spirit; spirit is in the material). It is the Chinese version of dialectics.

It was Taoism’s concept of Calm and Inertia nurtured the Chinese lifestyle to enjoy tasting tea and to dissolve human’s body into the eternal universe. Taoism helped the creation and development of Tea Arts, and helped people to pay attention to tea as a way of changing and enhancing lifestyle.

Tea and Confucianism

ImageConfucius(551?-479? B.C.), the greatest moralist in ancient China, and his student, Meng Zi established Confucianism. It emphasizes the formality and ceremony between almost everything, and re-disciplined or redefined the relationship between people by the behavior they must conduct.

The principles of Confucianism include Mercy, Commitment, Etiquette, and Wisdom, and especially the “Gold Middle Way”. Confucius suggested Harmony and Balance. Its doctrines soon were found so useful for almost every Chinese Empreor and his/her royal family to control the rest of the country.

Its complex structure of etiquette also influenced the creation of the tea etiquette and tea ceremony in China. From confucius perspective, tea means harmony, calm, etiquette, and optimizm

Tea and Buddhism

Buddhism was founded in 535 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 B.C.) in Lumbini of Northern India, now inside Nepal. Budda means one who has awakened. Buddhism’s Mahayana tradition entered into China as a foreign religion during Han Dynasty(206 B.C.- 220 A.D.). It tried to explain the essence of human life. Buddhism asserts that human life is the process of seeking for suffering, and so that human beings need to face the wall to meditate. If suffering is an inevitable process for the whole life, then suffering is no longer suffering.

In buddhist temple, monks have strict rules of their behavior. They can not eat meat, fish, or any products from animals; they can not drink alcohol; vegetables are the sole resource for their daily nutrition besides rice and wheat products. However, tea has been an exception since drinking tea does not violate any monastery rules – tea in essence is vegetable. Moreover, drinking tea can also help monks to meditate by keeping them awake.

Tea’s bitter taste can refer to buddhist suffering; the clean and clear tea liquid can refer to the monastery rule of self-discipline, and calm. In Chinese history, many famous buddhist temples had planted and nurtured tea trees with great types and quality.

The Way of Tea(Chado) in Zen Buddhism

The custom of drinking tea was prevalent in China before the time of Christ.
Tea was first imported from China as a beverage and over the course of several hundred
years was developed into the art of Chanoyu from which developed Chado.
The study of tea is effective in teaching discipline and instilling respect for others.

The Japanese created a unique way of life by elevating the mundane practice of drinking tea to a spiritual discipline. Especially after the contact with Zen, The Way of Tea was strengthened because the spirit of Tea and Zen became to be seen as one and the same. Peace, respect, purity, and tranquility are the four precepts of Chanoyu.

Chanoyu, over the centuries, has become deeply rooted in the hearts and customs of the Japanese people and has had a great influence on Japanese culture .

TheThe Book of Tea  is modern classic invites the reader to discover a unique tradition of Tea Ceremony that has come to symbolize wisdom, beauty, and the elegant simplicity of Asian culture. The author celebrates the Way of Tea from its ancient origins in Chinese Taoism to its culmination in the Zen discipline known as the Japanese tea ceremony—an enchanting practice bringing together such arts as architecture, pottery, and flower arranging to create an experience that delights the senses, calms the mind, and refreshes the spirit. Combining the rich aesthetic of Asian culture through the history, philosophy, and practice of tea, The Book of Tea has been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of readers since it was first published in 1906.

The Japanese Tea Ceremony(Chaji)


Preparing for the Ceremony
ImageChaji is a full tea presentation with a meal. As in virtually every tea ceremony, the host may spend days going over minutiae to insure that this ceremony will be perfect. Through tea, recognition is given that every human encounter is a singular occasion which can, and will, never recur again exactly. Thus every aspect of tea must be savored for what it gives the participants.
ImageThe ceremony takes place in a room designed and designated for tea. It is called the chashitsu. Usually this room is within the tea house, located away from the residence, in the garden.
ImageThe guests (four is the preferred number) are shown into the machiai (waiting room). Here, the hanto (assistant to the host) offers them sayu (the hot water which will be used to make tea). While here, the guests choose one of their group to act as the main guest. The hanto then leads the guests, main guest directly behind, to a water sprinkled garden devoid of flowers. It is called roji (dew ground). Here the guests rid themselves of the dust of the world. They then seat themselves on the koshikake machiai (waiting bench), anticipating the approach of the host who has the official title teishu (house master).

Stone basin, or nagare tsukubai. ImageJust before receiving the guests, the teishu fills the tsukubai (stone basin), which is set among low stones with fresh water. Taking a ladle of water the teishu purifies his hands and mouth then proceeds through the chumon (middle gate) to welcome his guests with a bow. No words are spoken. The teishu leads the hanto, the main guest and the others (in that order) through the chumon which symbolizes door between the coarse physical world and the spiritual world of tea.
ImageThe guests and hanto purify themselves at the tsukubai and enter the teahouse. The sliding door is only thirty six inches high. Thus all who enter must bow their heads and crouch. This door points to the reality that all are equal in tea, irrespective of status or social position. The last person in latches the door.

Inside the Teahouse
ImageThe room is devoid of any decoration except for an alcove called a tokonoma. Hanging in the alcove is a kakemono (scroll painting), carefully selected by the host, which reveals the theme of the ceremony. The Buddhist scripture on the scroll is by a master and is called bokuseki (ink traces). Each guest admires the scroll in turn, then examines the kama (kettle) and hearth (furo for the portable type and ro for the type set into the floor in winter to provide warmth), which were laid just before they were greeted by the host. They then are seated according to their respective positions in the ceremony.
ImageThe host seats himself and greetings are exchanged, first between the host and principle guest, then the host and other guests. A charcoal fire is then built if it is ro season and after the meal if it is furo season. In ro season kneaded incense is put in the fire and sandalwood incense in the furo season.

The Meal
ImageEach guest is served a meal called chakaiseki. Served on a tray with fresh cedar chopsticks, the meal consists of three courses. On the tray is cooked white rice in a ceramic bowl which will be eaten with other dishes, miso soup which is served in covered lacquer bowls and raw fish, plain or pickled, or pickled vegetables in a ceramic dish.
ImageSake is served. The first course is called hashiarai (rinsing the chopsticks). Nimono (foods simmered in broth) in separate covered lacquer dishes. Yakimono (grilled foods) are served in individual portions on ceramic plates. Additional rice and soup is offered each guest. At this course the host may eat, if he chooses. The palate is then cleared with kosuimono, a simple clear broth served in covered lacquer bowls.
ImageThe next course derives its name from the Shinto reverence of nature. It is called hassun which is also the name for the simple wooden tray that is used to serve this course. This course consists of uminomono and yamanomono (seafood and mountain food respectively) which signify the abundance of the sea and land. The host eats during this course, and is served sake by each guest. The position of server is considered a higher position and, to insure equality of all in the tea room, each acts as host if only momentarily.
ImageKonomono (fragrant things) are served in small ceramic bowls, and browned rice is served in salted water in a lacquer pitcher, representing the last of the rice. Each guest cleans the utensils they have used with soft paper which they bring. A omogashi (principal sweet) is served to conclude the meal. The host then invites his guests to retire to the garden or waiting room while he prepares for tea.
ImageOnce the guests have departed, the host removes the scroll and replaces it with flowers. The room is swept and the utensils for preparing koi cha are arranged. Over thirteen individual items are used. Each is costly and considered an art object.

master Aso Tea caddy (chaire) with silk sack (shifuku).

The Spiritual World of Tea
ImageIn tea ceremony, water represents yin and fire in the hearth yang. The water is held in a jar called the mizusashi. This stoneware jar contains fresh water symbolizing purity, and is touched only by the host.
Matcha is kept in a small ceramic container called a chaire which is in turn covered in a shifuku (fine silk pouch) which is set in front of the mizusashi. The occasion will dictate the type of tana (stand) used to display the chosen utensils.
ImageIf tea is served during the day a gong is sounded, in evening a bell. Usually struck or rung five to seven times, it summons the guests back to the tea house. They purify hands and mouth once again and re-enter as before. They admire the flowers, kettle and hearth and seat themselves.
Tea bowl (chawan) and water container (mizusashi). ImageThe host enters with the
chawan (tea bowl) which holds the chasen (tea whisk), chakin (the tea cloth) which is a bleached white linen cloth used to dry the bowl, and the chashaku (tea scoop), a slender bamboo scoop used to dispense the matcha, which rests across it. These are arranged next to the water jar which represents the sun (symbolic of yang); the bowl is the moon (yin). Retiring to the preparation room, the host returns with the kensui (waste water bowl), the hishaku (bamboo water ladle) and futaoki (a green bamboo rest for the kettle lid). He then closes the door to the preparation room.
ImageUsing a fukusa (fine silk cloth), which represents the spirit of the host, the host purifies the tea container and scoop. Deep significance is found in the host’s careful inspection, folding and handling of the fukusa, for his level of concentration and state of meditation are being intensified. Hot water is ladled into the tea bowl, the whisk is rinsed, the tea bowl is emptied and wiped with the chakin.
ImageLifting the tea scoop and tea container, the host places three scoops of tea per guest into the tea bowl. Hot water is ladled from the kettle into the teabowl in a quantity sufficient to create a thin paste with the whisk. Additional water is then added to so the paste can be whisked into a thick liquid consistent with pea soup. Unused water in the ladle is returned to the kettle. Woman conducting Japanese tea ceremony © Tony Aqualino
ImageThe host passes the tea bowl to the main guest who bows in accepting it. The bowl is raised and rotate in the hand to be admired. The guest then drinks some of the tea, wipes the rim of the bowl, and passes the bowl to the next guest who does the same as the main guest.
ImageWhen the guests have all tasted the tea the bowl is returned to the host who rinses it. The whisk is rinsed and the tea scoop and the tea container cleaned.
ImageThe scoop and tea container are offered to the guests for examination. A discussion of the objects, presentation and other appropriate topics takes place.

Preparing for Departure
ImageThe fire is then rebuilt for usa cha (thin tea). This tea will rinse the palate and symbolically prepares the guests for leaving the spiritual world of tea and re-entering the physical world. Smoking articles are offered, but rarely does smoking take place in a tearoom. This is but a sign for relaxation.
ImageZabuton (cushions) and teaburi (hand warmers) are offered. To compliment usa cha, higashi (dry sweets) are served. Usa cha and koi cha are made in the same manner, except that less tea powder of a lesser quality is used, and it is dispensed from a date-shaped wooden container called
natsume. The tea bowl is more decorative in style; and guests are individually served a bowl of this forthy brew.
ImageAt the conclusion, the guests express their appreciation for the tea and admiration for the art of the host. They leave as the host watches from the door of the teahouse.


tea instruments


Traducerea de mai jos in limba romana este o incercare de modificare si de corectare a erorilor  (initiale si adaugate la articolul tradus din lb. engleza care e redat mai jos  dupa cel in lb.engleza) din articolul  de pe situl: http://www.gradinamea.ro/1_537_Ceaiul_si_filosofiile_antice_2577.html

Calea Ceaiului

Ceaiul nu e un obiect ,ci o traditie a carei origine a fost in mare parte uitata,o relicva care si-a pierdut adevaratele radacini spirituale transformandu-se intr-o marfa,intr-un produs de consum. Unii considera ca ceaiul reprezinta un stil de viata,iar altii un proces social de invatare, de plantare si  de utilizare a ceaiului.Intelegerea culturii si a ritualurilor ceaiului nu e posibila daca se ignora in continuare radacinile spirituale si filosofice ale acestei traditii. In China si, in general, in Asia, ceaiul implica in mod frecvent Calea antica, de care ne vom ocupa  in momentul de fata.


In China,ceaiul a fost introdus pentru prima data ca remediu contra somnolentei de catre calugarii taoisti care petreceau o mare parte din timp in stare de veghere(meditatie constienta)pentru a realiza trezirea sau desteptarea(starea de “boddhi”)  devenind o partea integranta a filosofiei Taoiste.Mai tarziu, utilizarea ceaiului s-a raspandit in viata laica incepand cu familiile regale si casele nobiliare. Dupa ce s-a raspandit ca planta de leac si ca medicament,ceaiul a ajuns apoi o materie prima pentru prepararea bauturilor.Succesul actualelor bauturi racoritoare(coca-cola,pepsi -cola,ice tea) nu e decat rezultatul imitarii industriale si chimice a ceaiului traditional) fara se obtine efectele curative ale acestuia ( dupa exploziile nucleare de la Hirosima si Nagasaki cercetatorii japonezii au observat ca ceaiul grabeste eliminarea Strontiului radioactiv din organism si elimina radicalii liberi-efect antioxidant). Atunci cand ceaiul a patruns si in familiile obisnuite chineze, el a devenit o traditie care si-a pierdut semnificatia originara fiind asimilat cand cu Confucianismul, cand cu buddhismul (atunci cand si calugarii buddhisti l-au adoptat, Buddhismul a circulat fara probleme odata cu  noua licoare). Asa ca, pentru chinezi, ceaiul nu este doar ceai, ci o combinatie intre buddhism, confucianism si taoism.Acest articol isi propune redescoperirea adevaratelor semnificatii ale caii ceaiului 


Taoismul reprezinta filosofia si religia provenita din vechea China. Literar, in limba chineza Tao inseamna Cale sau drum,Izvorul universului manifestat.In conceptia taoista omul cerul si pamantul sunt legate prin fire invizibile(vedeti cap.25 din Tao Te Ching).Ulterior confucianismul a extins Tao la morala si principii. Practic, Tao reprezinta insasi esenta universului, un concept atat de serios incat chinezii nu il asociaza niciodata cu lucrurile obisnuite. Japonezii au adoptat ceva mai tarziu termenul, folosindu-l pentru a determina ceva care are anumite cunostinte intr-un anumit domeniu, apropiate de perfectiune.
Lao Zi (604-531 i.e.n.) cal mai mare filosof al Chinei antice si studentul sau, Zhuang Zi, sunt cei care au aratat ca iubirea fata de semeni si celelalte norme morale deriva din cunoasterea Adevarului ca realitatea este una singura -oglindita la nesfarsit in fiecare din miliardele de lucruri manifestate.Pt. aceasta e necesara reintoarcerea la origine- uniunea spirituala dintre om si izvorul universului. Taoismul mai spune ca materia si spiritul uman nu au cum sa fie separate, aceasta fiind dialectica chineza: materia este spirit si spiritul este materie.
Unii autori cred ca notiunile de calm si  de armonie i-au impins pe chinezi catre ceai si ca tot Taoismul a fost cel care i-a ajutat pe oameni sa dezvolte ceremoniile ceaiului si sa dea mare atentie dezvoltarii acestuia.


Confucius (551-479 i.e.n.), marele creator de  ideologiei imperiale al Chinei antice, si studentul sau, Meng Zi, sunt cei care au pus bazele confucianismului.Confucius a fost pe placul liderilor de pretutindeni care-l elogiaza fara sa inteleaga ca filosofia lui molralizatoare a fost cauza izolarii si a inghetarii in tipar a Chinei.Nu poti fi pe placul liderilor daca nu sustii precum Confucius inghetarea vesnica a actualelor ierarhii paternaliste,supunerea,loialitatea,increderea oarba in autoritati si credinta in recompense intr-o viata viitoare(din moment ce in asta ai numai frustrari) .Confucius  a evidentiat formalitatile si ceremoniile dintre absolut orice, redefinind si redisciplinand relatiile dintre oameni si comportamentele dupa care acestia trebuie sa se lase condusi.
Principiile morale ale confucianismului includ fidelitatea fata de autoritati(imparat,parinti,barbat) devotamentul, dreptatea, eticheta si intelepciunea, drept “calea  de mijloc”. Confucius a sugerat, la vremea sa, si balanta si armonia, doctrina sa fiind considerata utila de catre viitorii imparati chinezi, ca si de catre fiecare familie care ajungea sa conduca o parte din tara. Structura complexa a etichetei confucianiste a influentat artificializat si rigidizat ceremonialul firesc al ceaiului, din perspectiva confucianista, ceaiul insemnand norme,reguli  si eticheta.


Buddhismul a fost fondat in anul 535 i.e.n. de Siddharta Gautama (563-483 i.e.n.) in nordul Indiei, la Lumbini, acum un oras care apartine Nepalului. Buddha inseamna, traditional, “cel care s-a trezit”. Mahayana, traditie budista, a intrat in China ca o religie straina, pe timpul dinastiei Han (206-220 e.n), incercand sa explice esenta vietii umane. Buddhismul presupune ca viata umana este procesul de cautare si suferinta, iar fiintele umane trebuie sa infrunte zidul din fata lor si sa mediteze. Daca suferinta este un proces inevitabil pentru intreaga viata, atunci buddhismul concluzioneaza ca suferinta nu mai este, de fapt, suferinta.
In templele budiste, calugarii au reguli stricte de comportament. Ei nu au voie sa manance carne, fie ea si de peste, sau orice alt produs provenit de la animale. De asemenea, nu se pot atinge de alcool, vegetalele fiind singura lor sursa de hrana zilnica. Ceaiul a fost o exceptie, din moment ce consumul acestuia nu incalca nici una din regulile existente, ceaiul fiind un produs vegetal, tocmai de aceea calugarii apreciindu-l foarte mult pentru faptul ca acesta ii ajuta sa mediteze si sa stea treji.
Gustul amar al ceaiului a adus, probabil, in mintea budistilor, conceptul de suferinta, iar lichidul calm si clar probabil ca simboliza cumva regulile stricte ale manastirilor. Tocmai de aceea, majoritatea templelor budiste aveau propriile plantatii de ceai, din care se alimentau cu cantitatile necesare.


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