Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

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 ~

Friday, July 29, 2005

Tea Quotes

A friend of mine and I were talking about tea the other day; the next best thing to drinking it. Anyway, it got me thinking about tea quotes. If you have others of a similar vein, please post them, either in the comments, or on the tagboard.

The first one is my favorite.

"Although my neighbors are all barbarians,
and you, you are a thousand miles away,
there are always two cups on my table."

Tang Dynasty

"The first cup moistens my lips and throat.
The second shatters my loneliness.
The third causes the wrongs of life to fade gently from my recollection.
The fourth purifies my soul.
The fifth lifts me to the realms of the unwinking gods."

Chinese mystic
Tang Dynasty

"Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one."

Ancient Chinese Proverb

"So I must rise at early dawn, as busy as can be,
to get my daily labor done, and pluck the leafy tea."

Ballad of the Tea Pickers
Le Yih
Early Ch’ing Dynasty, 1644

"Kissing is like drinking tea through a tea-strainer; you’re always thirsty afterwards."

Old Chinese saying

"I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea."

Lu t’ung

"In my own hands I hold a bowl of tea; I see all of nature represented in its green color. Closing my eyes I find green mountains and pure water within my own heart. Silently sitting alone and drinking tea, I feel these become a part of me."

Soshitsu Sen
Grand Master XIV
Urasenke School of Tea

"Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world."

T’ien Yiheng

"The tea ceremony is more than an idealization of the form of drinking—it is a religion of the art of life."

Okakura Kakuzo

"What is the most wonderful thing for people like myself who follow the Way of Tea? My answer: the oneness of host and guest created through ‘meeting heart to heart’ and sharing a bowl of tea."

Soshitsu Sen
Grand Master XIV
Urasenke School of Tea

"The best quality tea must have creases like the leathern boot of Tartar horsemen, curl like the dewlap of a mighty bullock, unfold like a mist rising out of a ravine, gleam like a lake touched by a zephyr, and be wet and soft like a fine earth newly swept by rain."

Lu Yu (d. 804),
Chinese sage, hermit.

"A wave of rare incense is wafted from the tea-room; it is the summons which bids the guests to enter. One by one they advance and take their places. In the tokonoma hangs a kakemono—a wonderful writing by an ancient monk dealing with the evanescence of all earthly things. The singing kettle. . . sounds like some cicada pouring forth his woes to departing summer."

Okakura Kakuzo
Book of Tea (1906)
Describing the last Cha-no-yu by Rikiu, a great tea master

"Tea is nought but this:
First you heat the water,
Then you make the tea.
Then you drink it properly.
That is all you need to know."

Sen Rikyu
Zen Tea Master

"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."

Okakura Kakuzo
Book of Tea (1906)

1 comment:

ms_lili said...

Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. In China, in the eighth century, it entered the realm of poetry as one of the polite amusements. The fifteenth century saw Japan ennoble it into a religion of aestheticism, -- Teaism. 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.

--from Chapter 1, The Cup of Humanity, from, _The Book of Tea_, by Kakuzo Okakura