“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.”

Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea



What is Teaism?


Teaism is a term coined by Okakura Kakuzo in his The Book of Tea. It is a synthesis of Taoism, Zen, or Zennism as he called it, and the Chinese use of tea.


Teaism is mostly a simplistic mode of aesthetics, but there are subtle insights into ethics, and even metaphysics. Teaism is related to teamind. A sense of focus and concentration while under the influence of great tasting tea. Teaist is a person who performs or enjoys the art of tea and teaism. In Chinese and Japanese, as well as Korean traditional culture, there are well developed teaisms.



Teaism is a philosophy, aesthetic, and cultural practice associated with the preparation and consumption of tea, particularly in East Asian countries such as China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. It encompasses a set of principles, rituals, and beliefs that revolve around the appreciation of tea as a beverage, an art form, and a way of life.

Teaism emphasizes mindfulness, simplicity, and harmony with nature. It often involves the use of high-quality tea leaves, special tea utensils, and specific brewing techniques to bring out the best flavours and aromas of the tea. Tea ceremonies, also known as tea rituals, are common in teaism, and they may vary depending on the cultural traditions and practices of the region.

Teaism is not only about the taste of tea, but also about the experience and contemplation of tea-drinking. It often involves a deep appreciation for the aesthetics of tea, including the tea ware, the tearoom or setting, and the overall atmosphere. Teaism is also closely tied to concepts such as mindfulness, tranquillity, and the appreciation of the present moment, as tea drinking is often seen as a form of meditation or a way to cultivate a calm and focused mind.

Teaism has a rich history and philosophy that has been influenced by various cultural, religious, and artistic traditions. It has also inspired literature, poetry, and other forms of artistic expression. In many East Asian countries, teaism is considered an important part of the cultural heritage and continues to be practiced as a way of connecting with nature, oneself, and others.



When tea is more than a drink and the tea ceremony is understood and practiced to foster harmony in humanity, promote harmony with nature, discipline the mind, quiet the heart, and attain the purity of enlightenment, the art of tea becomes teaism. The term "chadao" has two words, the first being 'tea' and the second the Chinese loanword tao/dao/道, native suffix -ism (also Japanese: 主義), and could thus be read as 'teaism'. Another, more literal reading of the word is the 'way of tea' (茶 tea and 道 way), comparable with for example 弓道; the way of the bow. The term can be used to describe tea ceremony as the interests in tea culture and studies and pursued over time with self-cultivation.

It is likely that it alludes more to the Taoist influences on Zen, and subsequently the Chado, or the Japanese Tea Ceremony, as he makes the statement, 'A subtle philosophy lay behind it all. Teaism was Taoism in disguise. In the first part of the book, Teaism is brought out for its Taoist origins; but in the second half, it is shown through its manifestations in the Chado and in Japanese culture in general.

Teaism is related to teamind. A sense of focus and concentration while under the influence of great tasting tea. A Teaist, or Chajin/茶人, is a person who performs or enjoys the art of tea and 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.”

Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea


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