Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

For general/other topics related to tea.


Sep 21st, '15, 10:58
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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by thirst » Sep 21st, '15, 10:58

Mhhh. Just an absolute layperson here so my reading may be off and you’re welcome to correct me, but, passing on what I’ve read before concerning »It is not really a Buddhist tradition« and »Whereas in China, there is no formality associated with drinking tea« (I’ll pretend you wrote »was« instead of »is«):
Rules known as shingi were established in these [Zen] temples and became the basis for a form of communal life that governed the typical day of the priests […]. A work dealing with shingi that exerted great influence in Japan was Ch’an-yüan ch’ing-kuei by Tsung I of the Sung dynasty. […] It is said that, as a result of the Sung-style rules he [Lan-ch’i Tao-lung (Rankei Dōryū)] codified at Kenchōji, rules were established at Zen temples throughout the country. […] Insisting that the procedures for the Zen sect must be entirely in accord with those of China, he [Ch’ing-cho Cheng-ch’eng (Seietsu Shōchō)] reformed the rules of the Zen temples of Japan. […] Among these shingi were rules dealing with the drinking of tea (that is, sarei). […] In this sense, chanoyu emerged from the sarei of Zen.
Varley, H. Paul, and Kumakura, Isao: Tea in Japan: Essays on the History of Chanoyu, pp. 13-14.

So of course I’m not saying that these monks practiced chanoyu, but there does seem to be a connection in that you probably wouldn’t have chanoyu without Chan/Zen Buddhism…?

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Sep 21st, '15, 12:36
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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by Tead Off » Sep 21st, '15, 12:36

thirst wrote: So of course I’m not saying that these monks practiced chanoyu, but there does seem to be a connection in that you probably wouldn’t have chanoyu without Chan/Zen Buddhism…?
It's a big topic and very difficult, if not impossible, to separate out all the diverse influences that go into cultural and religious beliefs and practices. Still, I've never heard or come across any Chanoyu in Ch'an Buddhism. But, perhaps Chanoyu takes some themes from Ch'an and incorporates them into their philosophy and practice.

Sep 21st, '15, 13:58
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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by thirst » Sep 21st, '15, 13:58

That’s what I said, though :D

I wasn’t claiming that chanoyu was practiced by Chan monks, just that Varley says that chanoyu grew out of Chan/Zen rules involving tea (which, according to the annotated edition of those rules, were apparently influenced by Confucian rituals – also, it’s more than just drinking tea to stay awake).

As it pertains to the topic at hand, what I meant was that chanoyu probably isn’t something that just necessarily materialized in Japan without context, that it’s probably not as simple as the Chinese and Korean approach to tea is and always has been casual so chanoyu couldn’t have its roots in those countries whereas the Japanese approach is and always has been heavily ritualized. It’s not an argument for or against a Korean connection…more of an argument against the notion that it’s intrinsically impossible for chanoyu to have a Korean connection because their general approach to tea is thought to be prohibitive in regards to chanoyu. But, Chan/Seon/Zen as an enabler for chanoyu has existed in all three nations.

Conjecture, of course. Am I going to regret writing all this again? Feel free to correct me. :D

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Sep 21st, '15, 14:06
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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by hobin » Sep 21st, '15, 14:06

Tead Off wrote:I've never read anything on Wabi-cha nor have seen/heard any references to it as a similar practice in Korea of Chanoyu. I find it odd that nothing has survived to this day if there really was something like Chanoyu there. It is not really a Buddhist tradition, although monks drank tea there, and has little to do with the Teachings of Buddhism. But, somehow, the Japanese developed this practice and incorporated it into their culture. Tea drinking has taken place in Asia for centuries, yet it is only in Japan where it has taken on a 'spiritual' meaning. It's only in recent times that the Koreans are making an effort to 'spiritualize' it. Whereas in China, there is no formality associated with drinking tea, but more of a social, free-spirited occasion. For me, I see Chanoyu as more of a Japanese cultural creation that grew out of the very strict and militant class system that existed in medieval times. I strongly doubt that farmers were practicing tea ceremony. It was more like a formal entertainment for the elite class. It's amazing that the 'sabi-ness' of the Korean bowls were actually accepted into Japanese society because of the highly developed skills of artisans. When you look at Kamakura art, it is very sophisticated. Then you look at a buncheong bowl, they really don't go together. I wonder if it was thought of as a novelty at first and became some Lord's fetish? Sort of like how grunge came into fashion. :D
Yes, definitely. Korean rice bowl were made by farmer potters, with little skill. They were "common crockery". Korean farmers used to laugh at Japanese merchants who were willing to pay good money for them.
There was no ambition in their work. That was exactly what the tea masters praised "unconscious beauty". After all tea and zen were/are the same thing :D

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Sep 21st, '15, 23:33
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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by Tead Off » Sep 21st, '15, 23:33

thirst: I agree with you. But, I wonder if there isn't some connection with the existing Shinto beliefs. Do you know?

hobin:I can see the Zen connection in regard to the 'mindfulness' aspect of Chanoyu, and I can see the aesthetic values of bowls connecting to Song and Korean pottery, but I can't make the jump from either of them into the development of Chanoyu as a practice. Isn't there anyone here that has some knowledge of the principles of Chanoyu as taught by their teachers and its development and where it lies in Japanese culture?

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Sep 22nd, '15, 05:39
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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by hobin » Sep 22nd, '15, 05:39

Tead Off wrote:thirst: I agree with you. But, I wonder if there isn't some connection with the existing Shinto beliefs. Do you know?

hobin:I can see the Zen connection in regard to the 'mindfulness' aspect of Chanoyu, and I can see the aesthetic values of bowls connecting to Song and Korean pottery, but I can't make the jump from either of them into the development of Chanoyu as a practice. Isn't there anyone here that has some knowledge of the principles of Chanoyu as taught by their teachers and its development and where it lies in Japanese culture?
I think it all goes back to Murata Shukō (1423-1502) and Ikkyū Sōjun (1394 –1481), who were the first to consider the tea preparation a "way" to reach enlightment. Like their Chinese counterparts Japanese Buddhist monks were already used to drinking tea in order to practise zazen (but tea per se wasn't considered a spiritual practice).

Then Sen no Rikyu codified it into a set of fixed rules (further developed by his sons). One of the often cited texts about tea and zen is the "Sazen dōichimi" (tea and zen have the same taste) written by one of Rikyu's grandsons

hope this makes sense

Dec 22nd, '17, 19:17
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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by Elmar » Dec 22nd, '17, 19:17

Hmmm - I wonder about the fallacy of the excluded middle. Looking at geography, it seems the easiest way from "China" to "Japan" is via Korea, considering that one can actually see Korea from Japan across the straight.

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