Tea Philosophy

Tea time 2016

Here is a slightly edited excerpt from Journey in Search of Korea’s Beauty, by BAE Yong Joon, containing an uplifting view on drinking tea. I have rendered the last sentence as a poem, although it appears as prose in the book:

The Venerable Choui, the Korean “sage of tea,” wrote in Ode to the Tea of the East that drinking tea alone was godly, as it was in the realm of the divine and the profound. Two people drinking tea was victorious, as it was refined and tranquil. Three or four people were “pursuing,” as it was in the realm of mirth and enjoyment. Five or six people were “wide,” and more than that were “giving,” as it signified the sharing of food.

I prefer to drink tea with at least one other person, a like-minded companion if possible. When I do drink alone, I do not go to great effort but if I have at least one person with me, I am motivated to put more care into conveying the flavor and aroma of the tea. I think that:

One person drinking tea can achieve meditation;

Two people, communication;

Three, shared sympathy;

And four, harmony.

        — BAE Yong Joon

More on tea, this time from me, in the months to come.

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