In the last issue of the Upton Tea Quarterly we began our series on the development of Teaism in Japan, which was inspired by the ceremonial use of tea by Chinese Buddhist monks of the T'ang dynasty (618-902 A.D.). This was the time during which Lu YŁ wrote the Ch'a Ching, the first known book on the cultivation, preparation, and enjoyment of tea. The Ch'a Ching was common reading among Japanese Zen monks, who would eventually modify Chinese ceremonial tea and adapt it to their own unique style.
Tea during this era was regarded for its medicinal and spiritual value. Indeed, Lu YŁ believed that tea was a path to immortality*. Japanese Zen monks would codify a unique ceremony which would build on the foundation of the Ch'a Ching. But first, ceremonial tea would be temporarily supplanted by decadent tea displays among wealthy feudal lords and their samurai warriors. For part two of our series, read the article.
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