Tea is a basic necessity in the life of the Chinese people. An old saying goes, when opening the door in the morning, one is confronted with the task of providing seven daily necessities: firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy paste, vinegar, and tea. Tea and tea-related activities have penetrated various aspects of Chinese social life and have taken on unique cultural characteristics. Tea is often associated with literature, the arts, and philosophy and is closely connected with Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
On Feb. 9th, students from CHIN 202 explored tea as a central part of Asian cultures. The instructor, Ling Cai introduced the history of tea, different varieties of tea, and also demonstrated both the Chinese and Japanese Tea Ceremonies.
The earliest records of tea cultivation date back to more than 3000 years ago. 1200 years ago the oldest surviving book on tea, The Classics on Tea, was written by the famous scholar, Lu Yu of the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D. – 907 A. D.) He wrote: “The refreshing nature of tea makes it a good choice for a beverage. It is especially suitable for people who are virtuous in nature and content with a simple life.” Around the 9th century, Japanese Monks brought tea back from China, and the tea ceremony evolved in Japan as it blended with Japanese culture.
Cai herself is a tea drinker. She explained the spirit of tea to the students, which involves harmony, respect, truth, enjoyment, purity and tranquility. She said that the spirit of tea is human culture’s finest reflection. She was pleased to present and share this beautiful culture with her students.