People who have watched a performance of the Japanese tea ceremony often ask: Why is it called tea ceremony in Japan and tea art in China? Is it because China has no tea ceremony, or that the Chinese performance is not as qualified as the Japanese one? In fact ,the order is reversed. A Japanese friend of tea culture circles said , "China is the birthplace of the tea ceremony. One of her children ran to Japan, and achieved gratifying results." The words are correct, for the tea ceremony really originates in China. The questions arise because of a lack of knowledge about the development of tea culture, but also because of the different understanding of "dao" among the Chinese and Japanese. According to the Chinese, "dao" is the nature, origin and law of a thing. "The Way of Nature is invisible, " so the Chinese do not name a thing "dao" easily. To the Japanese, "dao" means skills: flower arrangement is called "flower way," and wrestling is called judo." As a cultural activity, tea performance is also called "dao." Chinese people believe that the artistic process of drinking tea ts merely a form, which tends to be superficial, while the intent is express the inner spirit. We also regard tea art and tea ceremony as different aspects of a problem. Tea art is a visible material activity, but only if spiritual force is aroused in the process can it be called dao. Therefore, believe that the core of tea culture is the "visible art and invisible dao." In fact, Lu Yu, the Saint of Tea Culture, and other experts of the past dynasties manifested the spirit through the process of tea culture. To explain it more clearly, I would like to introduce the spiritual concepts first.
The spirit of Chinese tea ceremony is a broad and profound system absorbing the cream of Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist thought which fully demonstrates the Chinese traditional idea of the close integration and interaction of the material and the spiritual.