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The Book of Tea

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The Book of Tea (Cha no Hon) by Okakura Kakuz (1906), is a long essay linking the role of tea
(Teaism) to the aesthetic and cultural aspects of Japanese life.
Addressed to a western audience, it was originally written in English and is one of the great English Tea
classics. Okakura had been taught at a young age to speak English and was proficient at communicating his
thoughts to the Western mind. In his book, he discusses such topics as Zen and Taoism, but also the secular
aspects of tea and Japanese life. The book emphasizes how Teaism taught the J apanese many things; most
importantly, simplicity. Kakuz argues that this tea-induced simplicity affected art and architecture, and he
was a long-time student of the visual arts. He ends the book with a chapter on Tea Masters, and spends some
time talking about Sen no Riky and his contribution to the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
According to Tomonobu Imamichi, Heideggers concept of Dasein inSein und Zeit was inspired although
Heidegger remains silent on this by Okakura Kakuzs concept of das-in-der-Welt-sein (being-in-the-
worldness) expressed inThe Book of Tea to describe Zhuangzis philosophy, which Imamichis teacher had
offered to Heidegger in 1919, after having followed lessons with him the year before.
When tea is more than a drink and the tea ceremony is understood and practiced to foster harmony in
humanity, promote harmony with nature, discipline the mind, quiet the heart, and attain the purity of
enlightenment, the art of tea becomes teaism. The term chadao has two words, the first word is tea and the
second is Chinese loanword tao/dao/, native suffix -ism (also Japanese: ), the term can be written as
teaism. And it can be used to describe tea ceremony as the interests in tea culture and studies and pursued
over time with self-cultivation. Teaism is mostly a simplistic mode of aesthetics, but there are subtle insights
into ethics, and even metaphysics. Teaism is related to teamind. A sense of focus and concentration while
under the influence of great tasting tea. Teaist is a person who performs or enjoys the art of tea and teaism. In
Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures, they all have well developed teaism.
The Book of Tea Okakura Kakuz The term teaism was first written by the teaist Okakura Kakuz in the
early 20th century in The Book of Tea (07). As the book talks about J apanese tea culture some only
signify this with Japanese tea ceremony. It is a synthesis of Taoism, Zennism, and tea. It is likely that it
alludes more to the Taoist influences on Zen, and subsequently the Chado, or the J apanese Tea Ceremony, as
he makes the statement, A subtle philosophy lay behind it all. Teaism was Taoism in disguise. Teaism is
brought out for its Taoist origins; but in the second half, it is shown through its manifestations in the Chado
and in Japanese culture in general.
Tea Life, Tea Mind of Soshitsu Sen XV Teaism as tea life and tea mind. The teaist, Soshitsu Sen XV in his
book Tea Life, Tea Mind, he states of non attachment to culture, our spirit should flow through life like the
wind that flows through all of nature. Identifying with nature in this matter necessarily creates a state of mind
with a detached objective quality (Soshitsu Sen 66). Once a tea grower invited Riky to have tea.
Overwhelmed with joy at Rikys acceptance, the tea grower led him to his tearoom and served tea to Riky
himself. However, in his excitement his hand trembled and he performed badly, drowning the tea scoop and
knocking the tea whisk over. The other guests, disciples of Riky, snickered at the tea growers manner of
making tea, but Riky was moved to say, It is the finest. On the way home, one of the disciples asked
Riky, Why were you so impressed by such a shameful performance? Riky answered, This man did not
invite me with the idea of showing off his skill. He simply wanted to serve me tea with his whole heart. He
devoted himself completely to making a bowl of tea for me, not worrying about errors. I was struck by that
sincerity. Soshitsu Sen XV Tea Life, Tea Mind
Terminology of dao/do with respect to tea
In this sense tea is more than a drink and more than an art, it is integrated in the culture and the mind. The
term Chinese:chadao or Japanese:chado in English is a difficult translation task. In most common use and
easy to express translation is tea ceremony. A direct translation is the way of tea or the way of tea.
The term teaism is by some only signifies this with Japanese tea ceremony. Similar terms are tea arts and
tea culture. While the word lore is usually not used in this context, another term used is tea lore.
See also
Tea ceremony
Japanese tea ceremony
Tea culture
Tea classics
^ Tomonubu Imamichi, In Search of Wisdom. One Philosophers Journey, Tokyo, International House of J apan,
2004 (quoted by Anne Fagot-Largeau at her lesson (
/p1184676830986.htm) at the College of France of 7 December 2006)
Teaism of Korea (
Tea Life, Tea Mind by, Soshitsu Sen ( &
Teaism defined (
The Book of Tea ( at Project Gutenberg
The Book of Tea (html text) (
External links
The Transform of Tea Drinkers Aesthetic Inclination of Ming Scholars (
/Article_en/CJFDTOTAL-LYGJ 200703009.htm)
The Book of Tea ( at Project Gutenberg
The Book of Tea (
/thebookoftea.pdf) (2,8 MB), published in The TeX showcase ( and
typeset by William Adams
The Book of Tea (html text) (
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Tea 1906 books Cultural studies books J apanese books Philosophy books
Books about food and drink
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