Thursday, November 27, 2008

E-book Review: The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura

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.
('The Book of Tea’, p. 6)

In this little book of seventy-seven pages we have a wonderful guide to the philosophy of Teaism, as exemplified in the famous oriental tea ceremony. The author eloquently weaves this wonderful beverage's history as it mixed with Taoism and Zen Buddhism, inspired the creation of the tea-room, the lives of the great tea masters, and its relationship to the artistic appreciation of life itself. Reading it is sheer pleasure, and, if like the reviewer, you are already an appreciator of cha, it will only deepen your love for it. Put the kettle on!

To download the above free e-book, please go the following link:
Wikipedia: The Book of Tea


Barry said...

I bought this book back in college in the 1960s and loved it - it presented a very exotic world (as it seemed at the time).

It's probably still in a box out in the longer essential, but too valued to give away or sell.

Thanks for posting about it!


JD said...

Maybe I'll give it a read G. It's unseasonably cool here in Florida for this time of year so it might make a good read with the kettle on as you say. Be well now.

G said...

Barry, what struck me about the book wasn't so much a sense of exoticism, but the wonderful way it exemplifies making Zen part of everyday activities such as making & drinking a cup of tea. In a less cultivated way, we can apply the heart of the tea ceremony, which is mindfulness, to our everyday actions, such as when we make a drink and consume it, or when we're blogging!

Justin, that's sounds a great idea! (It's the cool season here in Thailand now, so a hot cuppa is always at hand.)

Be well in the Dharma,