Relationship Between Zen and Tea – Tying Art and Ceremony

Zen Buddhism is an offshoot of Chinese Buddhism, which developed in the 7th century AD. Zen is a philosophic school, which teaches one how to transcend human suffering through meditation. Its primary principles are non-violence and non-attachment. It is believed that the development of the Japanese tea ceremony called the Way of Tea was extensively influenced and perhaps even introduced by Zen Buddhism. The Way of Tea uses powdered green tea called matcha in an elaborate presentation and preparation, which is a center of the Japanese culture. There are two types of ceremonies. Chakai is a simple and light presentation with thin tea, and Chaji is much more formal with more food and the offering of thick tea.

A Buddhist monk first introduced tea to Japan during the 9th century, using unground Japanese green tea. Also in the 9th century, a writer Lu Yu who was heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism wrote the first book on tea, summarizing its preparation and cultivation. Lu Yu’s writings would later profess a great influence of the Japanese tea ceremony. The actual founder of the Way of Tea did so in the 15th century. He was student of Zen philosophy.

During tea ceremonies, special scrolls or writings are hung on the tearoom walls. These scrolls are a focal point of the Japanese tea ceremony and often associated with Buddhism or written by Zen Buddhist monks. Buddhist priests may depict certain key features or foundations of the Buddhist belief system on their scrolls such as harmony, tranquility, respect and purity. These founding principles are also the four key elements of the Way of the Tea. Even the entire tearoom is an ultimate symbol of Buddhism, expressing the transitory nature of everything. Most items in a tearoom will be asymmetrical, which is also a key feature of Buddhism and symbolizes the “ever becoming” nature of all things.

Tea ceremonies focus on the art of presentation and the beauty that can be conveyed. During the ritual, all movements are choreographed, and each display is specifically arranged. As Zen purports the oneness of the universe and all that inhabit it, “the universe can be experienced in a bowl of tea”. The simple act of drinking tea brings one to the present moment and provides the ability to be fully present, experiencing the current moment. The corresponding Zen principle states that if one is fully here in the present moment, attachments can be relapsed and human suffering can be transcended.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Tad Kumagai

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