Water for Tea


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Re: Water for Tea

Postby MarshalN » Jul 29th, '12, 22:54

No offense to Aaron, but his book has no historical basis and isn't the work of someone who has looked through the sources. Think of it as a romantic interpretation from someone mystically inclined.

My point was that the way these things are written, they are made for Westerners in order to make tea more sexy. Why did the author not include common people, and instead chose to focus on these rare and romantic sounding figures? I think the answer is pretty obvious. It's like reducing the US to rangers and cowboys, pioneers and pilgrims. Yes, they were part of the picture, but that's not exactly accurate.
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 29th, '12, 23:29

MarshalN wrote:It's like reducing the US to rangers and cowboys, pioneers and pilgrims. Yes, they were part of the picture, but that's not exactly accurate.


I like the metaphor. I think I'll hang on to that one. I don't see anything wrong with people focusing on the more exagerated aspects of other cultures. When we get into the details, we realize how very similar we are, and that is often times dull! I would rather read about and think about cowboys than butchers from the same period, just like samurai and ninja entertain me more than the farmers they "protected". Or knights and peasants. I could keep poopin' these out all day!

As per Mr. Fisher's book (I don't know him!), I think he does a good job of saying when he is extrapolationg, when he is speculating, and when he is flat out guessing. He is pretty straight-forward. But he does list and quote a good bit of source material. Not reading Chinese, nor having access to these volumes, I cannot say if he quotes accurately or or if these referenses even exist! But from how open he is about what he doesn't know, I find that I, personally, trust him. Not to mention his extrapolations seem well-reasoned. I think on this level it is a personal choice: to trust or not to trust someone else.

Back to water, I also think that the subtleties of different water are, like clays, so minute that one must approach it on a personal level, deciding first if they will approach from an "Eastern" or "Western" frame (or a combinaiton of the two). No one else can decide for you!
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 29th, '12, 23:33

I also really like the way he encourages people to respect the leaves. I find I much prefer drinking and shopping in stores that treat their tea and pots with respect and reverence. Maybe this is just hockey Chinese export culture, but maybe not. I have certainly seen both sides of it with my own eyes!
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby TIM » Jul 29th, '12, 23:44

needaTEAcher wrote:I also really like the way he encourages people to respect the leaves. I find I much prefer drinking and shopping in stores that treat their tea and pots with respect and reverence. Maybe this is just hockey Chinese export culture, but maybe not. I have certainly seen both sides of it with my own eyes!


Ritualistic respect but not listening to the leaves only result in a tea ceremony. Chinese cha dao is not a ceremony, presentation nor a show to impress, but foreigners or noobs often get caught up with it and stay in that stage.
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby TwoDog2 » Jul 30th, '12, 01:02

MarshalN wrote:My point was that the way these things are written, they are made for Westerners in order to make tea more sexy.


I was being a bit glib with my "just hot tea poured on water" comment, but this is what I was getting at. Most of these passages romanticize what tea is, and try to market it as this mystical far eastern tonic, brewed by ancient monks with long beards and on and on and on.

I find a lot of meaning in drinking tea, but get put off by descriptions that try to turn it into an advertisement for some other worldly myserious experience of emperors from the past.
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 30th, '12, 01:22

TIM wrote:
needaTEAcher wrote:I also really like the way he encourages people to respect the leaves. I find I much prefer drinking and shopping in stores that treat their tea and pots with respect and reverence. Maybe this is just hockey Chinese export culture, but maybe not. I have certainly seen both sides of it with my own eyes!


Ritualistic respect but not listening to the leaves only result in a tea ceremony. Chinese cha dao is not a ceremony, presentation nor a show to impress, but foreigners or noobs often get caught up with it and stay in that stage.


Totally agree. But wouldn't then say that purely ritualistic respect is, ultimately, ritual and not respect? I can bow to my martial arts teacher at all the right times, but if I act and speak with disrespect, the bowing has no meaning other than empty mockery.

TwoDog2 wrote:
MarshalN wrote:My point was that the way these things are written, they are made for Westerners in order to make tea more sexy.


I was being a bit glib with my "just hot tea poured on water" comment, but this is what I was getting at. Most of these passages romanticize what tea is, and try to market it as this mystical far eastern tonic, brewed by ancient monks with long beards and on and on and on.

I find a lot of meaning in drinking tea, but get put off by descriptions that try to turn it into an advertisement for some other worldly myserious experience of emperors from the past.


Totally agree, and I think that seeking some other-worldly, mysterious experience from the past encourages people to disconnect from here and now. This seems fully counter-productive, because, to me, the moment of here and now is the whole point of tea! Romantic notions of emperors drinking tea are nice, but they are just figments. Truly, anything from the past is a figment. Only these leaves in front of me now matter (1994 loose leaf wild tree seng cha). :lol:
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby sriracha » Jul 30th, '12, 04:45

TwoDog2 wrote:what is it really? Pouring hot water on a plant.



I loves me a good reality check...
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby davelcorp » Jul 30th, '12, 12:32

The work of Edward Said should be read by any Westerners seriously delving into the study of aspects of Asian culture.

Here's a good start:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orientalism_(book)

(for some reason the last parentheses after the word "book" in that URL is getting cut off by the forum. It is supposed to redirect to the wiki article about the book "Orientalism" by Said)
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby teaisme » Jul 30th, '12, 17:12

I think it's sometimes hard for another person to see the spiritual influence a cup of tea can have on another. In their head they just lump others experiences (unfamiliar to them) into 'mysticism', 'romanticism', or trying hard to 'copy' aspects of a practice they think others find 'cool'. I read/judge people in this way too when I see them engaging in something very foreign to them that is more familiar to me.

If a cup moves you to a better place, 'western' romanticized line of thought or not, that in itself is a pretty special thing, esp if the one experiencing some realization has a humble soul and is simply on the path of self improvement (not just trying to act out a glamorized movie). They shouldn't be chastised just because the pleasure they have found is not in line with actual history.

You wonder, if the path was not so brightly lite initially with fancy images and words in their creative heads, would they (westeners or those seeking certain answers) still stumble upon those subtle life changing truths later on, or would many have missed them completely because the initial draw was not strong enough?

I say romanticize all you want to if that's your thing, it kinda seems like human nature sometimes...just be wary of transforming and then transferring your personal creativity into applicable laws/facts.

Quoted from my friends 6 year old kid one day at the tea table,
"I think tea is magic".
So do I :mrgreen:
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 30th, '12, 19:38

teaisme wrote: Quoted from my friends 6 year old kid one day at the tea table,
"I think tea is magic".
So do I :mrgreen:


As do I. 8)

I very much agree with all that above. Thanks for the articulation.
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby TwoDog2 » Jul 30th, '12, 21:53

teaisme wrote:...Quoted from my friends 6 year old kid one day at the tea table,
"I think tea is magic".
So do I :mrgreen:


Your quote was long and thoughtful, but for the sake of space, I just quoted the ending, which summed it up quite nicely.

I think what caught me about Bagua's quote was the "Divorcing the fine and subtle art of Chinese tea drinking (Cha Dao, the Way of Tea) from Taoism is a mistake since it is the driving force of the entire Traditional Chinese Culture", which suggests some sort of cultural/religious/philosophical absolutism. Tea = Chinese = Taoism. I can't support that anymore than I can support the idea that milkshakes = American = Christianity, or something similarly ridiculous. I don't think it is a mistake. I think they ought to be divorced. Experience on ones own terms is where discovery unfolds.

I think most of us on this board find something magical in tea, some sort of reflecting on the present moment or general mindfulness, or enjoyment of the mystery of life. I just don't want that experience chained to a hypothetical stereotype of the hermetic monk or benevolent eastern emperor. Something about where cultural ownership ends and where ones personal experience begins.
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby GreenwoodStudio » Jul 30th, '12, 22:28

I think it's funny how a simple thread about "Water for Tea" can evolve here on TC :lol:
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 30th, '12, 22:34

It is great how these things evolve and flip into crazy discussions!

TwoDog2 wrote:
teaisme wrote:...Quoted from my friends 6 year old kid one day at the tea table,
"I think tea is magic".
So do I :mrgreen:


Your quote was long and thoughtful, but for the sake of space, I just quoted the ending, which summed it up quite nicely.

I think what caught me about Bagua's quote was the "Divorcing the fine and subtle art of Chinese tea drinking (Cha Dao, the Way of Tea) from Taoism is a mistake since it is the driving force of the entire Traditional Chinese Culture", which suggests some sort of cultural/religious/philosophical absolutism. Tea = Chinese = Taoism. I can't support that anymore than I can support the idea that milkshakes = American = Christianity, or something similarly ridiculous. I don't think it is a mistake. I think they ought to be divorced. Experience on ones own terms is where discovery unfolds.

I think most of us on this board find something magical in tea, some sort of reflecting on the present moment or general mindfulness, or enjoyment of the mystery of life. I just don't want that experience chained to a hypothetical stereotype of the hermetic monk or benevolent eastern emperor. Something about where cultural ownership ends and where ones personal experience begins.


Again I find myself striving for the middle road. I think we shouldn't divorse entirely, at least in terms of an overall understanding, but also we should not be "chained" to abstract absolutes. These monks or hermits probably existed somehow in some say, though not in the ways they are often portrayed (stereotypes and myths usually come from somewhere, somehow). America doesn't equal milkshakes and Christianity, but both exist strongly in American culture, don't they? Isn't the truth usually somewhere between the extremes?

Like MarshalN said earlier:
[ quote="MarshalN"]It's like reducing the US to rangers and cowboys, pioneers and pilgrims. Yes, they were part of the picture, but that's not exactly accurate.[/quote]
Not accurate as a whole, but certainly an existant part!
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby MarshalN » Jul 30th, '12, 22:49

teaisme wrote:I say romanticize all you want to if that's your thing, it kinda seems like human nature sometimes...just be wary of transforming and then transferring your personal creativity into applicable laws/facts.

Quoted from my friends 6 year old kid one day at the tea table,
"I think tea is magic".
So do I :mrgreen:


Not if your romanticization comes at the cost of the complexity, history, and representation of my culture, sorry. Again, cf. Orientalism that davelcorp brought up.
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Re: Water for Tea

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 30th, '12, 23:24

Funny side note:

Due to my early 2000s Liberal Arts Education, I cringe at the word "Oriental". However, in Korea, if you mention "Chinese Medicine", you just might get a quick needle to a sensitive place. Then they will kindly, patiently, but firmly correct you: "We don't practice Chinese Medicine. We practice Oriental Medicine." Still gets me every time. When I use the "O" word, it feels like saying dirty words in front of my grandmother or something! :lol:
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