Through its union with Chinese civilization, tea gave birth to traditional Chinese Chadao and the myths and mysteries associated with it Chadao is the sublime crystallization of human tea-drinking, an indispensable uplifting experience progressing from enjoyment of the sweet aftertaste of a bitterish beverage to aesthetic appreciation of the art of tea and culminating in a better understanding of life. This tripartite experience constitutes the very essence of the meaning of Chadao. If tea-savoring highlights the sweet aftertaste of tea and aesthetic appreciation of the art of tea upgrades tea’s value, then gaining insight into life is the true and ultimate goal of Chadao. This three-stage process represents the fundamental laws, meanings and humanistic values of Chadao.
Guided by the principle of “Move of tea and people,” the TAETEA System of Chadao can be divided into three components: 1) The core philosophy or spirit of Chadao, which in clucks the aesthetic dimensions of “purity, serenity, genuineness, and elegance” and the moral values of “commitment, sincerity, benefit, and harmony;” 2) Pursuit of Chadao, which refers to a whole set of methods used for the study and practice of Chadao and for self-edification so that one may understand and enjoy life in a more meaningful way through tea appreciation; 3) Chadao practice, which is to apply the spiritual principles of Chadao and what one has learnt to real life and society, by organizing or participating in tea functions and philanthropic activities.
Chadao is an organic system integrating knowledge and action and theory and practice. If cuts across disciplines as various as teleology, aesthetics, religion, philosophy, ethics, and folkways, encompassing artistic components of ceramics, painting, calligraphy, music, literature, and flower arrangement. By delving into Chadao, one can not only hone the skills of brewing and appreciating tea, but also edify oneself, refine one’s manners and taste and enrich one’s inner world and eventually evolve into a person of elegance, composure, sound mind and noble character. The development of Chadao is hardly a one-step process, but necessarily a gradual affair from appreciating the glamour of tea to expanding the horizons of tea making and drinking and ultimately to spiritualizing Chadao through service to the public. Just as true knowledge comes from practice and truth is found by seeking, the study of Chadao is an indispensable gateway to the spirit of the art. It shines like a beacon that guides the tea lover or tea artist’s path of life and it serves as a terrace that helps him or her get to the essence of Chadao, Absent Chadao studies, it would be hard to understand the character and value of tea; and without understanding the ways and means of Chadao, it would be impossible to reach the heights of the spirit of Chadao.