The Book of Tea

The Book of Tea

eBook - 2010
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For a generation adjusting painfully to the demands of a modern industrial and commercial society, Asia came to represent an alternative vision of the good life: aesthetically austere, socially aristocratic, and imbued with spirituality. The Book of Tea was originally written in English and sought to address the inchoate yearnings of disaffected Westerners. In a flash of inspiration, Okakura saw that the formal tea party as practiced in New England was a distant cousin of the Japanese tea ceremony, and that East and West had thus "met in the tea-cup."
Publisher: London : Penguin, 2010.
ISBN: 9780141932729
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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Apr 01, 2019

1st book I read about Tea, the bonus for me is its encompassing architecture and art, also narrated in a form of simplicity.
I'm yet consciously to intellectualize a daily ritual, escape in Tao may be an excuse, journey to Zen takes life time.
Translation is good, with few glitches, nice if I'd read 陆羽《茶经》Ch'a Ching which is too difficult for me to digest.

Andrew Kyle Bacon
Feb 02, 2019

To my western mind, this book is only peripherally about tea, yet the author would differ with this, saying that everything is about tea. That's the central thrust of this small book: Tea, to the Japanese mind, is not merely a hot beverage, but the central defining characteristic without which all other portions of Japanese artistic sensibility will never be understood. The simple state of tea, whether green, black, white, or herbal, is the root-source of the minimalism which can be seen in Japanese architecture, art, decoration, clothing, and aesthetic. The Japanese tea room, for instance, is not merely a room wherein one drinks tea, but, for Okakura, a room wherein one savors and even worships the very art of drinking tea.

The language is poetic, often flowery, and thought provoking. There are many stories from Japanese and Chinese folklore spread throughout the book, which serve to illustrate Okakura's philosophical points.

In this way, THE BOOK OF TEA, is more of a philosophical manifesto, stemming from Zen, Buddhism, Shintoism, and, most importantly, Taoism. At one point, Okakura remarks that, "Teaism was Taoism in disguise." This philosophical and religious system, which Okakura calls "Teaism," is the belief that all things are perfected in imperfection, imbalance, and simplicity.

"One cannot listen to different pieces of music at the same time, a real comprehension of the beautiful being possible only through concentration upon some central motive."

dgfe7ytrhgfo9t90 Jul 03, 2014

Again a masterpiece from the Asian, but the book describes them as oriental or asianatic (different versions to read make for a plausible conversation) I was given this as a gift to read and also gave an edition to someone who listened to the quiet.

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