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Spring, 2001 Newsletter - Homepage
  Introduction: "The Advent of Thatched Hut Tea"

   Sitting alone, away from the world,
at one with the rhythms of nature,
liberated from attachments to
the material world and bodily comforts,
. . . a person making and drinking tea
in contemplation approaches
a sublime state of tranquility.

- Soshitsu Sen XV.

   In the first three installments of this series we traced the early history of tea in Japan. We noted that the Chinese methods of tea preparation and consumption were introduced to Japan in the eighth century by Zen Buddhist monks. Originally used as an aid to meditation, tea consumption soon became a popular secular activity. Among the wealthy feudal lords and the samurai, tea gatherings were widely used as a venue for raucous parties and ostentatious displays of wealth.

The most valued artifacts of the time were of Chinese origin. The office of the Shogun amassed a great collection of artistic treasures, including the rarest of Chinese tea utensils. Experts in such matters were retained to supervise the displays and authenticate new acquisitions. It is no coincidence that these experts were Buddhist monks. For centuries Buddhist monks had studied Chinese art, literature, and philosophy.

Read more in The Advent of Thatched Hut Tea

 Related Information:
   Part I: Tea Comes to Japan
   Part II: Tea and the Samurai
   Part III: Tea Becomes a Way
   Part V: The Perfection of Cha-no-yu
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