Saturday, October 29, 2016

Tea Readings: Straight from the book!

A notable contributor to the world of tea is Okakura Kakuzō (February 14, 1862 – September 2, 1913). He was a Japanese scholar recognized for his involvement in the development of the arts and culture scene in Japan. Okakura Kakuzō is well known as the author of The Book of Tea, which teaches the central role tea plays in everyday Japanese life.

Okakura Kakuzō

Here are just some of the beautiful, and some very deep, words by Okakura Kakuzō from The Book of Tea:

“Tea is more than an idealization of the form of drinking; it is a religion of the art of life.”

“Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage.”

“A man without tea in him is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.”

“Tea is a work of art and needs a master hand to bring out its noblest qualities. We have good and bad teas, as we have good and bad paintings -
- generally the latter.”

“Like Art, Tea has its periods and its schools. Its evolution may be roughly divided into three main stages: the Boiled Tea, the Whipped Tea, and the Steeped Tea.”

“In the liquid amber within the ivory porcelain, the initiated may touch the sweet reticence of Confucius, the piquancy of Laotse, and the ethereal aroma of Sakyamuni himself.”

“In Japan, I took part in a tea ceremony. You go into a small room, tea is served, and that's it really, except that everything is done with so much ritual and ceremony that a banal daily event is transformed into a moment of communion with the universe.”

“Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.”

“There is no single recipe for making the perfect tea, as there are no rules for producing a Titian or a Sesson. Each preparation of the leaves has its individuality, its special affinity with water and heat, its own method of telling a story. The truly beautiful must always be in it.”

“Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.”

~ Okakura Kakuzō

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