“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.”
What is Teaism?
Teaism, a term coined by Okakura Kakuzo in his renowned work, "The Book of Tea," represents a captivating fusion of Taoism, Zen, or as he called, Zennism, and the Chinese tradition of tea consumption.
Primarily centered around aesthetics, Teaism exudes a simplistic yet profound philosophy. However, within its essence lie subtle insights into ethics and even metaphysics. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, Teaism encompasses the concept of teamind, embodying a state of focused concentration experienced while indulging in the exquisite flavours of tea.
A teaist, therefore, is an individual who actively engages in or takes pleasure in the art of tea and embraces the principles of teaism. Across Chinese, Japanese, and Korean traditional cultures, one can witness the well-developed manifestations of teaism, serving as testaments to its enduring significance.
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 becomes more than a beverage, and the art of tea ceremony is embraced as a means to foster harmony among humanity, promote a connection with nature, discipline the mind, calm the heart, and achieve the purity of enlightenment, it becomes what is known as "teaism." The term "chadao" combines two words - 'tea' and the Chinese loanword 'tao/dao/道,' along with the native suffix "-ism" (also in Japanese: 主義), and can be interpreted as 'teaism.' Another interpretation is the 'way of tea' (茶 tea and 道 way).
Teaism encompasses the interests in tea culture and studies pursued over time with a focus on self-cultivation. It bears a subtle philosophy influenced by Taoism, and consequently, Zen and the Chado, which is the Japanese Tea Ceremony. In fact, as the statement suggests, "Teaism was Taoism in disguise."
Throughout the first part of the book, Teaism is explored in light of its Taoist origins. In the second half, the focus shifts to its manifestations in the Chado and its broader influence on Japanese culture.
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.”
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