Tead Off wrote:I think the reality of tea has nothing to do with what one believes to be true or false. History is always an interpretation according to the viewer's background and point of view. Once the viewer is questioned, a different point of view comes about.
If we look at India as a culmination of culture and tradition, I dare say it is a disaster there. No where will you find more filth, dilapidation, and human poverty as well as a system put in place by religion that keeps the average man in place and continues this madness. The sheer amount of corruption and dirty dealing that goes on there is not unique to India but is an overwhelming fact of life visible for anyone to see. If you are a romantic, and a seeker for some utopian vision that you've read about, India can offer myriads of entertainment in this field. Culture is a man-made product. You don't need it to enjoy a nice cuppa tea. You only need some basic tools to make the drink, the rest is pure entertainment and speculation in one's mind. Whatever is in this moment can never have anything to do with what came before. It is only our thinking that links up all these chains of so-called cause and effect. But, this kind of conversation is better left for face to face discussion over some nice tea.
India is all that you say.
Nevertheless, it also is one of the world's centers of learning, art and science, and has more beauty - both natural and man-made - than most places on earth. Several world religions have been born there (and there are theories that even Christianity has been strongly influenced by religious believes and philosophies of India). I have spent about two years in India, and yes, it drove me mad at times, and i don't think i could live there (and stay somewhat sane).
Anyhow - i do disagree with the idea that whatever is in this moment has anything to do what came before. All that we are has been shaped by what came before, and even and especially this communication here, based on a language that was developed over ten-thousands of years.
Tea itself came into being because a distant ancestor of ours decided to use it as a natural medical herb. Taoist believes transformed tea into a thing that is also beneficial to the mind. Tools and ceremonies were developed to improve this experience, and with it different methods to process tea from the raw material picked from the trees into the finished product. In Japan Zen had a major influence in the particular way of Japanese tea appreciation. Korean culture left its own brand on Korean tea, and since the Brits developed their way of tea, both tea has shaped British culture, and British culture has shaped tea. We can say the same thing about Africa, and the middle east, and Russia.
Tea, and tea ware are not just a natural product, but a mixture of a natural product, and how man improved it - both in a materialistic sense, and philosophically.
With each cup of tea, we don't just drink pure entertainment - but a long tradition, accumulated wisdom and abilities of hundreds of generations of humans.
At least, that's how i personally feel about tea.