Buddhism and Tea
Buddhism and tea have been closely associated for a long time. According to one legend Zen Master Bodhhidharma cut off his eyelids so that he did not fall asleep whilst meditating, the eyelids fell o the earth and the first tea bushes grew from them. The tea ceremony was created in China and then brought to Japan by a Zen master. The participants drink whisked powdered green tea in a formal setting.
In Tibet the monks drink tea made by churning tea with yak butter. In the UK the drinking of tea is common at Buddhist meetings.
Tea comes in many different forms from many different areas of the world.
There are four main sorts :
Green tea that had been dried and rolled soon after picking.
Black tea that has been fermented before it is dried, giving it a dark colour and more astringent taste
Oolong tea that has been partially fermented
"herbal tea" and "fruit tea" - these should be really called tisanes because they do not contain tea leaves.
Most tea is brewed from tea bags these days - filled with very small tea leaves. The small leaves give a dark strong brew. They are usually very cheep.
There is more to tea than tea bags - there are some really interesting quality teas available. It is amazing that people are willing to pay high prices for fine wines or become real ale snobs and yet they still buy the cheapest and most convenient form of tea! But if you think about it a quarter (125g) of good quality tea should make over 100 cups, and if you pay six pounds for it that still works out at less than 6 pence a cup. Still less than a beer or glass of wine or even bottled water by a long mile!
Quality teas usually have a large leaf.
tea and coffee merchants selling fine teas:
teapots and cups &c:
Muji ( sells Japanese china and porcelain)
Anon (not dated but probably late 1960s or early 70s). A few facts about tea. R Twinings & Co, Andover, 4pp.
Hammitzsch, H, 1958 (translated by Lemesurier P 1979) Zen in the art of the tea ceremony. Arkana, London. 104pp.
Hilton G 1995. Tea and Coffee. Whittard of Chelsea, London. 52pp.
Lee, A M-T 1999. The Japanese Tea Ceremony. Element Books, Shaftsbury. 96pp.
Manil C & M Zbinden 2001. Tea Time. Cassell and Co., London. 128pp.
Norman J 1989. Teas and Tisanes. Dorling Kindesley, London. 41pp.
Okakura K 1906 (reprinted 1964). The book of tea. Dover Publications Inc., New York. 76pp.
Warner L 1960. Ceremonial tea. p 129-138 of N W Ross (ed) The world of Zen. Vintage Books, USA. 362pp.
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