This book explains the origins and meanings of Japanese tea and instructs listeners on how to prepare tea Japanese style. More importantly it describes tea as an emblem of Taoism, and as a soulful triumph of the Japanese quest for perfect harmony. The act of brewing a pure cup of tea becomes a metaphor for living a more spiritually attuned life. Like the text, narrator Nicholas Tekoski’s respectful tone balances between prose and poetry. Tekoski reads in an American accent. His gently curious outsider stance energizes the studious and meditative language here. Tekoski seems to discover and understand the philosophy outlined here as he moves through the narrative. Listeners can join him and also learn what the book teaches about tea and life.
Here is a minor classic of the Orient. It is perhaps the most entertaining, most charming explanation and interpretation of traditional Japanese culture in terms of the tea ceremony. First published in 1906, it traces the custom from its roots in Taoism to its role as a Zen meditative discipline.
Public Domain (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I haven't yet read or listened to this book, so I just rated the story 4/5 (I save 5/5 for what I essentially consider to be masterpieces). However, the narrator takes a loud breath at approximately the end of every sentence, which wasn't edited out, and after approximately two minutes of listening I found this unbearable and decided to return the book. (I gave the performance 2 stars since the worst you can give is 1, and the narration in and of itself is fine.) If you would l like to read this book, I recommend you either actually read it, or check out the version narrated by Alan Munro, which I can tell from the sample is quite tolerable, although it apparently has over 1.5 hours of just music (I'm guessing instrumental shakuhachi) at the end. Bonus, I guess?
Such a cool story and history. The guy who reads it sounds like a young American college kid with no life experience though. If only they had a Japanese person read it or an older smart sounding person. Oh well still good.
First off, not really about tea. It's an overview of the history and philosophy of China and Japan through talking about tea. Okakura is a Japanese author who learned English at a young age, written in 1906.
I found this book by clicking around on some links about Wabi-Sabi and because of my love for Chinese Tea I decided to read this one. The tea ceremony's I have been involved in are certainly rich, simple, peaceful experiences, it has a similar effect as yoga on mind and body. I hope to drink several cups of various asian varieties of tea every day for the rest of my life.
I would recommend this short book to anyone interested in Asia, it's history and philosophy, and as well, it's tea. Especially the westerner. The author being Japanese but well versed in western thought (through his early command of the english language) offers a great rebuttal to the attitude of the west towards Asia, which I wish so bad us westerners could catch on to. That can be found especially in the beginning, but certainly throughout.
"They (the tea-masters) have given emphasis to our natural love of simplicity, and shown us the beauty of humility."
Some more quotes:
"There is a subtle charm in the taste of tea which makes it irresistible and capable of idealization."
"Lotung, a Tang poet, wrote: “The first cup moistens my lips and throat, the second cup breaks my loneliness, the third cup searches my barren entrail but to find therein some five thousand volumes of odd ideographs. The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration,— all the wrong of life passes away through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified; the sixth cup calls me to the realms of the immortals. The seventh cup— ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of cool wind that rises in my sleeves." --- Surprisingly, the tea after drinking a couple cups has these effects! It's way different than the caffeine high from coffee as well. It's a much more hydrated, non-jittery feeling. The author describes the tea ceremony as being derived from the practice of Buddhist monks drinking tea before their altars. It can easily be a spiritual, life-giving experience.
“If people of inferior intelligence hear of the Tao, they laugh immensely. It would not be the Tao unless they laughed at it.”
"Hide yourself under a bushel quickly, for if your real usefulness were known to the world you would soon be knocked down to the highest bidder by the public auctioneer. Why do men and women like to advertise themselves so much? Is it not but an instinct derived from the days of slavery?"
It's alright. It's short enough to listen to two - three times and still enjoy it. It's interesting to see how tea is tied into different ideas such as culture classes, tradition, and one's personality.
No. This book is not about tea, nor Japanese tea ceremony, or anything else physically linked to tea as a drink. But this book may begin to teach you about a mindset required, in order to begin to understand Japanese tea ceremony. Sounds complicated? It's not. Read the book, you'll know what I mean. :-)
Sort of... but personally I didn't liked the narration very much.
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