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Buddhism -The Soul of the China Tea Ceremony

Buddhism was created in Ancient Hindustani, spread to China in the Han Dynasty, developed in China during the Jin Dynasty and Southern-Northern Period, and reached its peak popularity in the Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, when the Tea Ceremony was popular as well. Since the foundation of the Tea Ceremony, it has benefited greatly from Buddhism.

Since the Tang Dynasty, monks who indulge in tea passing "the monks tradition" from generation to generation. Ling Yi, Jiao Ran, Shan Hui, Cong Shen, Wu Ke and Qi Ji in the Tang Dynasty, Zhi Yuan, Chong Xian, Yuanwu Keqin and Dao Qian in the Song Dynasty, Hong Yi, Xu Yun, Jing Hui, Jing Kong and Yi Xing in Modern times, those masters all devoted their Buddhism thoughts to the Chinese Tea Ceremony when they were having tea activities, which made the Chinese Tea Ceremony more active and fresh. Buddhism has had a big influence on the Chinese Tea Ceremony, as: "The similarities between Tea and Zen" - "The basics to learning Buddhism", "To have no boundaries generates consciousness"- "The source of happiness", “Living in Modem Society"-"A lantern in the heart of Human Wisdom,"Life’s Destination" - The secret technique to immerse yourself within socieiy".

"Tea and Zen Affinity" - The Basics of Learning Buddhism

Theoretically, since the first Master has tried tea, there have been similarities between Tea and Zen, but the most popular concept actually started from Master Shan Hui and maturated in Master Yuanwu Keqin's time.

The Initial Principles of "Tea and Zen Affinity"

The philosophical base of tea and Zen are "had, tranquil, common and relief", which are all "self consciousness" psychologically.

The first is hard. Buddhism is boundless, but its general line is the "Four Truths". After the truth was realized, the Buddha was talking about the "Four Truths" firstly in the wild deer garden. How much hardship is there in human life? The Buddha thoughts on hardships regarding "birth, old age, sickness, death, anger, separation, unreachable and five-accumulation". The Buddha pointed out that the material world would change all the time, which would bring humans affliction all the time. The Buddha’s goal is to inspire people to realize the hardship behind the temporary happiness, make people face the real affliction, find out the root of it and completely get rid of it, which is called the "abyss of misery but repent and be saved".

To study Zen is to use a Buddhist wisdom to inspire the interior brightness of human, reaching a complete realization of relief from the affliction.

Life is not easy, like the bitter temper of tea. Li Shizhen wrote in the book The detailed outline of herbs as Tea is better and cold, which is really good at subduing the infection, infection causes a lot of diseases. A drop of the infection would help human body to recover."Theoretically the bitterness of tea is different from the hardship of life in Buddhism, but peopled association of ideas thought is that it is a good idea to use conjunct of the both to study the Buddhism.

The second is tranquility. The Tea Ceremony emphasizes that "harmony, tranquility. joyfulness and truth". "Tranquility", as a necessary path to reach the truth, was basically the same as Zen. There was a story about "holding flowers and smile" of the Buddha. It was said that Buddha was holding a flower and silently showed it to the others in the Ling Shan meeting. Nobody could understand except Jia Ye. Then Buddha announced that Jia Ye had the idea and Zen was created. Since Zen was imported to China, the first Master was Da Mo, the second Shen Guang the third Seng Can, the fourth Dao Xin and the fifth Hong Ren, all of which are the perfect samples of peaceful thougth.

Zen and the Tea Ceremony both consider that tranquility of the heart leads to peace and harmony in everything. People talk to tea in silence. Contemporary, Master Xu Yun had a story to tell. It was said that he once broke a cup when brewing tea with hot water, when his hand got burnt by hot water and he dropped the cup on the ground. The master then immediately realized the truth by the cup being broken. He wrote two little poems as:

The cup dropped on the ground, a sharp broken sound occured. Emptiness is broken, my mad heart calmed down immediately.

Burnt my hand, broken the glass, difficult to open my mouth because a family was broken; The flower blossoms everywhere when the spring comes, that is how the mountains and rivers of the earth come.Hence the tranquility from both Zen and the Tea Ceremony refers to not death but life.

The third is ordinariness. Japanese tea Master Qian Lixiu ever said that "it must be clear that the basic of the tea ceremony is just boiling water and brewing tea" which excellently interpreted that the principle of the tea ceremony is to understand the truth of life and the universe through an ordinary life.

"Zen" also requires people to get the enlightment from ordinary matters. According to Jingde Chuan-Deng Notes, wash your face and hands in the morning, and then drink tea by Japanese tea cup. After tea, worship the Buddha. After the worship, go for a break. After the break, wash face and hands, then drink tea. And then do other things, then go for the lunch, and then clean again, and then drink tea again, and then do some other things." Zen is trivial but so ordinary. That is where the old monk Zhaozhou's "Time for tea" case is from.

The "Time for tea" case in history achieved long-lasting repercussions from many monks such as the Five Lanterns Meeting Together, recorded that: someone asked Zen Master Xuefeng "The Ancients said, 'when you see the people who got enlightened, don't be silent to him', I do not know if it is right?" The Master said, "Time for tea."

Another example is in Grand Hall Notes. Some people asked "logion and wise words are all in this religion. But what is the real truth. Master, please me" The Master said "Time for tea!"

Another example is Ancient Masters' Logion Supplements saying that: Once a Zen Master Sixin Wuxin wrote a poem: "Sound of the storm did not stop, and a thin pine tree is green in the yard. With cold and endless steam, who believed Zhaozhou was there." Later he asked himself "Do I want to see Zhaozhou?" For a long time he answered himself that "It is time for tea!"

Masters in history all believe that major principles can be realized through ordinary things such as tea drinking. For this reason, Mr Zhao Puchu said, Seven bowls have the supreme taste, and a pot has the real fun. Mechanically keeping the scripts, it is better to go for tea."

The fourth is giving up. All the upsets in life are because of being unable to "give up", so Buddhists particularly emphasize on "give up" Modern Buddhist Master Xu Yun said "The practice requires to put everything, or it is vain. Actually everything originally has its own heart which is the same as the Buddhas. only because they entangled in every possible paranoia, lost of people can not get rid of them and keep suffering from them. The Buddhas were sympathetic to them, opened all kinds of self-cultivation methods, to make the people free What is so-called giving up all? The inner six roots, six dusts outside, six knowledge in the middle, the eighteen realms in short which all should be give up. In all, both physically and psychologically, because they were dreams, just like thunders and dews, nothing needs to be kept, otherwise they would just be the barriers. Give up completely and cleanly, and you will be perpetual, the wonderful original heart of you will turn up, which is the same as the Buddhas."

Master Xu Yun spoke very clearly and thoroughly. The so-called "six roots" is -the depending on the heart." The so-called "six dusts" refers to color, sound, smell, taste, touch and rule of the six realms. The so-called "six-knowledge" is the reflections of "six roots" to “six dusts", "six roots" and "six knowledge", which is altogether called eighteen realms. Put down all the eighteen realms, the fortune,resentment,fame,gain or loss, wealth and even life and death would be put down automatically. Putting down all the pressure and burdens on the mind, you will be naturally light-hearted, and see everything in a relaxed and happy way. Everything would be all in original, the heart would not be affected.

The Buddhists emphasize on "putting down", which is also emphasized in tea drinking. Putting down work in hand, to have a free half-day and relax tight nerves, release the mind that they have imprisoned, put down all the thoughts within or on political, business, literary and working environments, in every possible way to put yourself into the tea, let the tea wash away the worries in the mind and have a snow shower. To lay down a variety of feelings of honor and disgrace, gain and loss, from the external society or self-imposed in the heart, so that the soul and heart are peaceful and quiet Only in this way could you rethink the life through the tea taste. Only in this way could you realize the truth that "Tea and Zen share the same taste".

The Meaning for Studying Tea of "Tea and Zen Affinity"

The scholars who are versed in Buddhism would write poems with thought provoking Zen ideas, which is like a bell wakening up the mental world, such as Wu Yuanheng in the Tang Dynasty, wrote Late Spring Tea Party:

Virtual room is always covered by the daylight, only heart knows the way to think empty.

A meditation in the yard after the rain, as if millions lotus flowers opening.

Such a festival with aromas, which probably is the same in the heaven If you do not know the rationale way, it is hard to find a way to break.

In the Yuan Dynasty, Master Qing Gong of stone house wrote Spring in the Mountains:

The fern, bamboo shoots and tea are all mountain, a red flower tree follows a white flower tree.

Spring is probably the best in the four seasons, which is especially in the mountain home.

The Zen master Wei Ze in the Yuan Dynasty wrote Following the Rhyme in the Yifengyunwai Temple:

The bamboo house is filled with tea aroma and the valley is steamy, the spring flows far behind the green firs.

Who can interprets the Zen under the moon, a tree is full of cicadas(Zen) with wind breezes and the sunset.

In fact, not only the Buddhist monks’ poems are full of tea aroma, the

Confucian, Taoist and Buddhists are also filled with tea aroma. Mr. Nan Huaijin's poem Follow the Rhyme of Mr Fu Zhenuru's put the idea of "Tea and Zen share taste" to a new height of development. As follows:

Clouds as brocades and rain makes flowers, the heaven makes the rich to the monks' home.

Have their own peace of mind living in mountain, people would ask do you know the way to the heaven.

The monsters would come when listening to the scripts under the moon, but only to accompany this holy event when thirsty only take the clear river water and no need to brew tea.

Mr. Nan Huaijin's poem brings out the highest state of Tea and Zen Affinity".He understood the "Zen and Tea share taste" and no longer persisted in the form of tea. In fact, in the Zen and Tea share taste", "Tea" is a lively trivial and ordinary life, as long as you live in the Zen, study Zen in life. When you get "both empty of human and rule", you can still realize that "Tea and Zen Affinity" without really have to brew tea.