Tea drinking in the East, especially in China and Japan, is a very old tradition. The culture of the tea ceremony is inseparable from the art, the culture of these countries, the whole way of life. The essence of the ceremony are four basic principles, which in 1564 were erected in the rules of the tea ceremony Sen Rikyu – the famous master of tea making. These rules: va, kei, sei, jiaku, literally translated as – harmony, respect, purity, tranquility . Harmony – in the relations between people, the harmony of man and nature, the world around him; respect – to all and everything, proceeding from a sincere feeling of gratitude for the very existence; purity – physical and spiritual; calmness – peace of mind, coming with comprehension of the first three principles.
The famous Japanese writer Yamamoto Tsunetomo in “Khakagure” very capaciously and figuratively revealed the essence of the Japanese tea ceremony in general: “The sense of the tea ceremony is to cleanse the six senses. For the eyes, there are hanging scrolls and floral arrangements. For the nose there are incense. For the ears – the sound of boiling water. For the mouth – the taste of tea. And for the hands and feet – the correct form. When the five senses are thus purified, the mind is purified by itself. The tea ceremony clears up the thoughts when they become clouded. I do not lose the spirit of the tea ceremony for twenty-four hours a day. ” Based on eastern philosophy and included in deep folk traditions, the eastern tea ceremony acquired a spiritual connotation, because the oriental view of the world – the desire to understand its essence through simple things, actions, contemplation – filled the tea ceremony with a high sense and charm. The meaning of the tea ceremony is that due to simple actions a person is available to the path of spiritual perfection.
All this extremely attracts a modern European man, subject to constant stresses, seeking to find peace in the soul and clarity of mind, and to restore vitality and cheerfulness of the spirit. Hence the unquenchable interest in the tea ceremony of the East, its philosophy and etiquette. Now each of us can touch a little the mystery of the ancient East, although the ceremony itself has undergone significant changes, adapting to our culture.
So, how to hold a tea ceremony. For the centuries-old history of the tea ceremony, much has changed, but seven types of tea drinking have remained unshakable:
1. Tea action at dawn (Anatsuki-no taiji).
2. Tea action in the morning (asa-no tjeji).
3. Tea action at noon (this-but-shiji).
4. Tea action at night (ebanasi no tjeji).
5. Tea action with sweets (kasi-no taiji).
6. Tea action outside a (certain) time (Fuji-no taiji).
7. Tea action for those who came after the main tea drinking (atomi no tjeji).
The reference tea ceremony is held in the middle of the day, which coincides with the dinner time.
It is almost impossible to observe all the rules of the eastern classical tea ceremony to an ordinary person living in the central part of Russia. However, you can fully enjoy tea drinking, if you follow the main rules.
I begin by saying that the main thing is, of course, your inner readiness anticipation of something completely new, something that will make you internally strong and calm.
The whole tea ceremony involves some asceticism in detail. In a dimly lit room where a tea ceremony is held, there must be a minimum of furniture, no luxury and useless decoration. Do not participate more than five people. Clothes should be free and light colors. Before the beginning of the tea ceremony, you need to remove the shoes, as if along with it you get rid of everyday fuss. Sit better on cotton pads – dzabutonah, and in no case with crossed legs, pull them toward the neighbor – indecent.
Tea is preferably brewed in gaiwanami – special cups of the type of bowl with a volume of 200-250 ml, but with a sharp expansion in the upper part and with a lid whose diameter is smaller than the diameter of the upper edge of the cup.If you want to conduct the ceremony at home, we recommend that you buy a full Chinese tea set in the store. So, you bought a set, brought it home, and placed a teapot, gaiwan, tea pairs on the cha-bani (tea-board) (tools keep to the right of the board).
For brewing tea it is best to use rainwater or water from a well. While heating the water, one should wait for small bubbles on the surface of the water to emit a soft hiss. This is called the “first boiling”. When large bubbles appear at the edges of the vessel, this is called the “second boiling”, and when the water starts to boil, this is called the “third boiling”. Then the water should be removed without a flash, for otherwise the water will become “old” and good tea will not work.
4-5 g of tea are poured into gaiwan and immediately filled with water by 2/3 of the volume or up to half the volume. The brewing time does not exceed 2 minutes, a maximum of 4 minutes for some sorts of tea. From gaiwan tea is poured into a cup for drinking so that the lid does not rise (so as not to let out the aroma), through the gap thus formed. Tea is drunk in hot form with small sips, without sugar and other additives, which, in the opinion of the Chinese, completely distort the true aroma of tea.
After drinking ¾ of the contents of the gaiwan, the remaining quarter of the infusion is refilled with boiling water. High-quality tea can be poured in gaiwanas up to four times. The first infusion of tea with such brewing is usually weaker, light color, but fragrant. The taste of tea appears after the second, third pouring. Therefore, the Chinese can be met with such a statement that the second tasting of tea is the most delicious. But this only applies to brewing in gaiwanas. Brewing tea in a simple cup can not be compared with brewing in gaiwanas. Those who brew tea in cups, believing that they follow the Chinese way, not only make mistakes, but also spoil the tea: without a lid, it exhales and weakly insists, and when the cup is closed the saucer loses its taste, as it suffocates.
When brewing, it is very important to be calm, attentive and collected. It is necessary to maintain a smoothness and sequence of movements so that the water does not splash and flutter in the vessels, the jet does not stop, it is smooth and soft, that is exactly the same as the stream of inspiration and expiration in your body to provide you as long, calm and healthy life as possible. When creating the interaction of water and the space of utensils, it should always be remembered that “overflow” brings trouble, and moderation calls for wealth. So do not pour too much water.
When tea-drinking traditionally, guests can drink tea each of their cups or from one, passing it to each other. This contributes to a sense of intimacy. At the same time, a certain ritual is observed. First, the first guest takes a fukus (silk handkerchief), puts it on the palm of his left hand, and the right puts a cup on it. Nodding to the neighbor, he sips three and a half sips, then puts the fucus on the mat, wipes the edge of the cup with his kaishi (napkin) and hands the cup to the second guest. Each repeats the same procedure. Everyone expresses their admiration for the cup.
However, all considered rules of the tea ceremony would not be complete, if not to mention the “10 bans on tea!”.
1. Prohibition of tea on an empty stomach: the cold nature of the tea, penetrating inside, can cool the spleen and stomach, which is like “penetrating the wolf into the house.”
2. Prohibition of burning tea: Hot tea strongly stimulates the throat, esophagus and stomach. Long use of very hot tea can lead to painful changes in these organs. According to foreign studies, the use of tea with a temperature above 62 degrees leads to increased vulnerability of the walls of the stomach.
3. Ban on cold tea: cold tea gives side effects: stagnation of cold and congestion of sputum.
4. Prohibition of strong tea: a high content of caffeine and theine in strong tea can cause headaches and insomnia.
5. Prohibition of long tea brewing: the nutritional value of tea is reduced due to oxidation of vitamins C, P and amino acids contained in tea leaves.
6. Ban on repeated brewing: experiments show that the first infusion draws about 50% of the nutrients from the tea leaves, the second – 30%, and the third only about 10%, the fourth infusion adds another 1-3%. If you continue to brew tea further, then in the infusion leave harmful elements.
7. Prohibition of tea before meals: this leads to the dilution of saliva and the digestion of the protein by the digestive organs may temporarily decrease.
8. Prohibition of tea immediately after meals: tea contained in tea can lead to solidification of protein and iron, which worsens their assimilation.
9. Prohibition of drinking medicinal tea: tannins contained in tea, splitting, form tannin, from which many medicines give sediment and are poorly digested. Therefore, the Chinese say that tea destroys medicines.
10. Prohibition of yesterday’s tea: tea, which has stayed a day, loses vitamins and becomes an ideal nutrient medium for bacteria.
Of course, the described tea ceremony does not pretend to be classical principles Tanya . It is important to remember the main thing: the spirit of the tea ceremony must remain unchanged: the desire to create an atmosphere of sincerity, to move away from vain cares and everyday affairs. Remember that the tea ceremony is a time for talking about beauty, about art, literature, painting, about a tea cup and a scroll in the tokonoma.
I look forward, – and there are no flowers
And there are no bright leaves.
And there, on the shore of the sea,
There is one deserted house
on the yellowness of the sands,
And ghostly lights on it
autumn light …