Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and Tea

Chinese Taoist tea and Chinese Buddhist tea are known as China’s two famous religious tea. Buddhist tea has Zen and Taoist tea has tea theory. Chinese tea culture has a profound religious and cultural foundation. It can be said that without this foundation, tea can not form culture. How did Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism act on tea culture and make Chinese tea culture form a grand atmosphere.

From a historical point of view, the relationship between Taoism and tea culture is the least talked about, but it is the most remote and profound. Taoist View of nature has always been the source of Chinese spiritual life and concept. The so-called “nature” in Taoism refers to self nature, and Tao is self so and naturally. Tao is everywhere, and tea ceremony is only a part of “natural” Avenue. The natural character of tea determines that people must infuse the whole process of tea discovery, utilization and enjoyment with the above ideas. The believers of Laozi and Zhuangzi want to seek immortality from the way of nature. It is on this point that tea culture has a primitive combination with Taoism. It is no surprise that Yuchuanzi’s seven bowls of tea make him “fly away by the breeze” and turn into an immortal by the power of tea. The story of seven chapter in the book of <Tea Classic> quoted from the story of miracles shows that Lu Yu believed deeply in the relationship between Taoists and tea. Therefore, from the perspective of historical facts and ideas, it shows that the relationship between Taoism and tea culture is the most remote. The idea of “nature” leads to Taoism’s indifferent will, not to seek fame and wealth, which is very consistent with the nature of tea, which establishes the nature of tea culture. Taoism’s “Seclusion” is developed from Laozi and Zhuangzi’s thought of being empty and tranquil and following nature, which is intrinsically related to tea culture. Seclusion promotes the development of tea activities, and the two complement each other.

Han and Tang Dynasties is an era full of fanatical pursuit of immortality. It is conceivable that the activities of tea people and the rise of tea culture are under this trend. Happy immortals become the ideal image, and fairyland are the dream paradise. No wonder many scholars say that the conception of Taoism fully reflects the realistic character of the Chinese nation. Because this ideal does not seek the misty afterlife, nor repose in the misty past, but through their own efforts to cultivate, save the body, change into an immortal. Through the continuation of this world, to achieve an eternal existence is not only the spiritual yearning, but also the practice. From this point of view, it is no surprise that tea has become a panacea for immortality. It is at this point that tea culture has a primitive combination with Taoism.
Taoism pursues the world of immortals with a quiet and natural attitude, and tea can make people light and become immortals. Therefore, most Taoist temples produce and use their own “Taoist tea” and realize the natural thought of doing things by themselves. This kind of original and innovative tea ceremony thought has an indelible contribution to the tea culture.

The internal relationship between tea and seclusion is naturally formed both in practice and in theory. There is a direct and internal relationship between Laozi and Zhuangzi’s thought of emptiness, tranquility, following nature and his later thought of seclusion. Zhuangzi himself has the idea of seclusion, which is full of fidelity and self willed. In later Daoism, seclusion itself was the most natural way of life. Especially after the rise of tea culture in Tang Dynasty, the change of seclusion behavior and large-scale drinking of tea were basically synchronous. The popularity of seclusion and the expansion of the scope of seclusion objects must have internal relations with the popularization and improvement of tea drinking. If we say that good tea in seclusion is mostly for personal self-care, although it has contributed to the rise and popularity of tea drinking, because they want to stay away from social life and only want to enjoy the natural interest in tea drinking, it is inevitable that tea drinking will become single.

For more than 1000 years since the Tang Dynasty, tea and Taoist hermit temperament have really complemented each other, hermit and Confucianism, Buddhism also have a deep historical origin, but also with tea has a close relationship. Hermit has a lot of anthropomorphic names for tea, such as “gentleman”, “childe”, “refined friend”, “bitter master”, “fidget washer” and so on. Moreover, it is more common to name the study after tea, “tea fragrance room”, “tea dream Temple”, “tea smoke Pavilion”… “tea hermit” lived in seclusion because of tea, the emergence of the concept of “tea hermit” has integrated tea and hermit. As long as the literati and bureaucrats with transcendent spirit are involved, they will become a great force in social life. They can also drink tea with a natural and adaptive mood, and make it involved in social life, so that tea drinking is based on reality and beyond reality, so that artistic tea tasting becomes the common feeling of more people. However, whether they are “little hermits” or “middle hermits” or “big hermits”, as a hermit whole, they are not only the main body of the art of tea tasting, but also because of this constantly improving spiritual demand, they continue to require tea and tea affairs to become more sophisticated and complete, which is bound to promote the development of tea and tea affairs and make tea culture rise as a whole.

The fusion of Zen culture and tea culture, tea and Zen are two kinds of culture, in their respective long history of development, contact and gradually infiltrate each other, mutual influence, and finally into a new cultural form, namely Zen tea culture. Zen 禅 is a state of mind, tea is a spiritual bud of matter, oneness is the communication between heart and tea, heart and heart. Zen tea 禅茶 also refers to the tea planted, picked and drunk by monks in temples. It is mainly used for offering Buddha, hospitality, self drinking, gifts, etc.. When making tea, one should be in a mindfulness and calmness state of mind, and concentrate on it so that one can have a good color, fragrance and taste. In addition, the attitude of drinking tea quietly is similar to meditation. Zen temples not only have unique techniques for tea cultivation and baking, but also pay great attention to tea drinking. There is a “tea hall” in the temple, which is a place for Zen monks to debate Buddhism, entertain benefactor and taste fragrant tea. The “tea drum” in the Dharma hall is the drum that the monks are summoned to drink tea. In addition, the temple also set up a “tea head”, which is specially responsible for boiling water, boiling tea and offering tea to guests. And in front of the temple sent several “tea serving monks”, offering tea. Tea in temples, called “temple tea”, has three general uses: for Buddha, hospitality and self worship…

The core idea of tea culture should be attributed to Confucianism. This core is the thought of “Neutralization” based on ethics. Confucianists stress that “tea is the way to practice”, which is the way of “tea is the way to benefit benevolence”. Therefore, this kind of tea culture first pays attention to the personality thought of “elegance can be achieved by tea”. The Confucian tea people draw inspiration from the tea nature of “purity can not be polluted” and apply it to the personality thought, which is their wisdom. Because they think that drinking tea can reflect on themselves and judge themselves, and only by looking at themselves soberly can they treat others correctly. Therefore, “to show respect with tea” has become the logical continuity of “elegance can be achieved by tea”. This shows that the Confucian tea culture shows a kind of attitude towards life, the basic point is to start from oneself, the foothold is “benevolence”, and the ultimate goal is to turn the people into customs. Therefore, the realm of “Neutralization” runs through it all the time. This is the embodiment of a broad and profound ideological system, whose deep roots still have a religious moral function.

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