The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Monday, November 23, 2009

Tea and Aikido


Two of my favorite subjects are the topic of the article I've copied a portion of below. If you click here, you'll be directed to the full article.

Tea was cultivated and developed in China about 2000 years ago - initially for medicinal purposes. Buddhist priests brought it as a medicine to Japan about 1500 years ago where the Japanese started to cultivate it not only as a medicine but also as a daily drink.
The Japanese Tea Ceremony developed from the 1300s through Zen philosophy. Matcha (pure tea) is used for the Tea Ceremony where as ryokucha (green tea) or bancha (dried tea) is used by Japanese people as a daily beverage. Matcha is rather expensive and so is normally used only for tea ceremony. Ryokucha (green tea) is for daily life but it should be drunk immediately after it is made. Bancha (dried tea) can be drunk several hours after brewing so it is more convenient than ryokucha. It is also cheaper than ryokucha.
I have been drinking matcha for several weeks in the morning and I have found out that it is actually easier to prepare than green tea or coffee. This is because matcha is made in the cup and has nothing to throw away. Green tea or coffee however has to be made in a pot with grounds and leaf residues to throw away afterwards. Also matcha is made in individual cups whereas green tea or coffee can be made for several cups. This means that drinking matcha is easy for one person and green tea or coffee is easier for several people. Matcha is best for health though green tea is also good. It must be said that coffee may not be good for health.

2 comments:

walt said...

If you enjoy learning about aspects of the Tea tradition, you might enjoy The Unknown Craftsman, by Soetsu Yanagi. The theme of the book is the Japanese idea of Beauty, but he uses the knowledge of Tea as a primary way to illustrate his ideas.

Hope you have a fine day tomorrow. I try to make every day a day of thanks-giving, and I'm grateful for all the fine articles and excerpts that you post!

Rick said...

Thanks for the book lead. It looks very interesting. When I added it to my wish list, a whole slew of books on the concept of wabi-sabi turned up.

For those wondering what I'm talking about, if you do a search on the main page of this blog for "wabi" or "sabi" you'll find the definiation and some explanation.