Tea Notes 茶谱 (Partial) – Daoist Tea Book by Ming Dynasty’s Zhu Quan

Wenzhuo Liu

Zhu Quan’s book <Tea Notes> had a profound impact on tea drinking in later generations. He regarded tea drinking as a way of manifesting his ambition and cultivating Taoism. He promoted tea drinking to the height of Tao, which not only improved the tea ceremony art since the Tang and Song Dynasties, but also laid a theoretical foundation for the development of tea drinking in the Ming Dynasty and later literati.

“Tea could entertain me to write poetry and abruptly add lustre to floating clouds, mountains and rivers; Tea might subdue sandman and carry me away from the world; Tea may give me more interests to talk, words would touch varied spectacles, how strong tea effects!”


“Because the tea ceremony is meant to be one man’s matter in the mountains and forests, loftily aloof from worldly things, drifting away from this world, how could we talk it over with laymen at a common point? I once raised my head and gazed the sky, cooked clear spring water with a swaying fire, that is what I so called, an inter flow is shared with the sky to open up my mind, with such water to nurture my inner spirit, this way is not only to amuse myself around a tea stove but also helps me on my self-cultivation, how could one word “quiet” be expressed these? It is written by Han Xuzi Immortal Qu.”


<500 Arhat Drawing 五百罗汉图> Song Dynasty

He explored the new way of drinking after the abolition of tea cakes, simplified the traditional drinking method and tea set. Through the continuous improvement of later generations, he formed a set of simple and novel tea drinking methods, which had a great influence on later generations. Read More

“However, all creatures in heaven and earth have their own characters, the best way is to infuse tea directly and drink in order to pursue its naturalness. In the past, the importance of various tea drinking appliances was not so important in my tea drinking way, therefore, I prefer this brewing tea method and grinding tea tools, adore innovations and change into simplicities, strike out a new tea ceremony for myself. I enjoy to drink tea with those monastics who took travelling in clouds as meals, together with those daoists who cultivate themselves by breathing the sun and sunglow. Although drinking tea requires utensils, and the utensils have their own reasons, they are just convenient for entertaining and talking with guests after all.”


<500 Arhat Drawing 五百罗汉图> Song Dynasty

Zhu Quan advocated the complete integration of tea drinking and natural environment to achieve a high degree of harmony between man and nature, so as to achieve the state of forgetting both things and me.

“Those who are free from the dust, such as sublime and refined beings, poets and daoist priests, they are all aspirant to get rid of the world of mortals, rest their spirits beyond material affairs, do not associate with social temporals and stain themselves in secularities. When I drink tea with people, the places should be either between springs and stone, or under pine trees and bamboos, or facing the bright moon and a refreshing breeze, or around clear windows and clean tables, only then I would talk leisurely with guests to explore the daoist reciprocal transformation between immateriality and materiality, and study the way of heaven and earth, these conversations could make our minds calm and free from the material world.”


<500 Arhat Drawing 五百罗汉图> Song Dynasty


Read <Tea Notes> whole book: Tea Notes- the Daoist Tea Book

More about: Ming Dynasty Tea Ceremony


Read Tea Notes whole book: Tea Notes- the Daoist Tea Book

More about: Ming Dynasty Tea Ceremony



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