Love tea enough to plant tea?! -Part I Wu Lizhen and Bai Juyi

Wu Lizhen, a native of Yandao (famous mountain area of Ya’an, Sichuan Province) in the Western Han Dynasty, was a Taoist school figure named Ganlu- Sweet Dew Taoist, he successively presided over the monasteries of Mengding Mountain. In 153 BC, Wu Lizhen discovered the medicinal function of wild tea in Mengding Mountain, When the villagers were ill, he enthusiastically soaked the leaves in water for them to drink, and the effect was also very good. Unfortunately, there were not many such trees, and the leaves could not meet the needs of curing diseases and saving people. He was determined to cultivate more tea trees, so he planted seven tea trees from seeds on a hollow land between the five peaks of Mengding Mountain. Wu Lizhen is regarded as the earliest tea grower in China and even in the world, which was clearly recorded in words, he is also known as the tea ancestor and tea ceremony master of Mengding Mountain.

Bai Juyi loved tea and was the poet who wrote the most tea poems in Tang Dynasty. He was banished to Jiangzhou (today’s Jiujiang City), it was famous of tea at that time. Bai Juyi lived in the north of Xianglu peak in Lu Mountains. As soon as Bai Juyi arrived, he didn’t even have his house repaired. He started to cultivate a tea garden himself. It can be seen that he loved tea, and he used tea as a medium to get closer to nature and feel the beauty of rural scenery. He could not see the unhappiness of being demoted to Jiangzhou, his poem records: “frame the rock to build a humble cottage, cultivate the hillside ravine to open a tea garden 架岩结茅宇,斫壑开茶园” which reflects the real situation of Bai Juyi planting tea personally.

   Hundred Characters of Tea – Wenzhuo Liu

The famous tea of Tang Dynasty is not easy to get. Scholars often give tea as a gift to friends or invite them to drink tea at home to show their deep feelings. And poets receiveed tea, mostly thank back their friends with poetry, tea poetry exchanges, it can be regarded as a kind of elegant interest. Bai Juyi’s tea poems record that he was very happy when he received the tea collected one or two days before the Qingming Festival, which was wrapped in red paper by his old friend. He immediately boiled the water, the water was heated to show the fish’s eye size bubbles. Then he brewed new Sichuan tea with tea making utensils. Bai Juyi had a lot of research on tea drinking, he liked drinking tea very much. He claimed that “he as a tea people could identify the quality of tea, so his friend woud send tea to him before sending it to others. 不寄他人先寄我,应缘我是别茶人

Hundred Characters of Tea – Wenzhuo Liu
The thread of ideas in writing like elegant tea fragrance, is constantly emerging, the text is clear in the heart, and then write quickly and in one go. Stop writing, drink a cup of tea, feel very comfortable. What Bai Juyi learned from tea is not only the efficacy and function of tea, but also the special taste of artists. Bai Juyi lived with tea all his life, he drank tea early in mornings, at noon, at night, and sometimes even before sleeping. And the quality of tea could be quickly identified by him, it can be said that he was the poet of tea expert.
Hundred Characters of Tea – Wenzhuo Liu
Bai Juyi thought that drinking tea could stimulate the inspiration of literary creation; it could improve self-cultivation and improve the taste; he could meet friends with tea and express deep friendship with tea; he could also seek the philosophy of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Confucianism cultivates morality with tea, Taoism cultivates heart with tea, and Buddhism cultivates nature with tea, all of which purify the mind through tea.
Hundred Characters of Tea – Wenzhuo Liu
“Sit down, pour a pot of cool water to brew tea, look at the boiling green tea powder, like beautiful green dust. I hold this bowl of good tea in my hand, without any reason, how pity that I can’t send this bowl of good tea to my tea confidants. 无由持一碗,寄与爱茶人” Bai Juyi had a feeling: such a good spring, such a good tea, unfortunately can not be sent to the people who love tea, the feelings of tea to express their desire for confidants, strong feelings with a trace of sadness, thus reflecting the author’s deep yearning for distant confidants. This confidant is a “tea lover” like himself, of course not a secular person.
無由持一碗,寄舆爱茶人 – Wenzhuo Liu

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