The Book of Tea
I love tea. I don’t just enjoy it as a beverage- I really love it! It’s the combination of comfort, warmth and peaceful happiness that makes me want to reach for my teapot even more than my iPhone. So when my mum bought me The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo I knew I’d end up writing a blog on it.
It seems that my excessive love for tea isn’t pure madness, and this book supports tea lovers everywhere. It eloquently describes that tea is more than a drink, it’s a religion.
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 called life.
You might be thinking what does tea have to do with all that? Well this marvelous little book goes on to say that tea isn’t simply the drink itself, it is the way it makes you feel and it’s the traditions behind it. The book is filled with anecdotes, history and philosophies. One of my favourite parts is when Lotung, a Tang poet describes his relationship with tea.
The first cup moistens my lips and throat, the second cup breaks my loneliness, the third cup searches my barren entrail but to find therein some five thousand volumes of odd ideographs. The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration,- all the wrong of life passes away through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified; the sixth cup calls me to the realms of immortals. The seventh cup- ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of cool wind that rises in my sleeves. Where is Horaisan? Let me ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither.
For me, tea is the connecting fluid of life. It is more vital than blood (ok not medically, but metaphorically). It connects everything I do with my core. Whether I am reading, writing, watching television or even doing my taxes, drinking a cup of tea while I do so helps me. It pulls me through the darkness, ignites my inspiration and lets me know that even if everything feels like its falling apart, I still can find calmness in a cup of tea.
Raise your teacup and lets make a toast to tea!