Saturday, June 25, 2011

Korean Tea Classics Book Club- Dong Cha Song- Hymn In Praise of Korean Tea- 7


"Who knows the full abundance of tea's true color and fragrance?
Once contaminated, it looses its true quality"


Feel free to join the online book club at anytime by simply purchasing Korean Tea Classics. Dong Cha Song is 17 stanzas in length, we will go through each stanza week by week. Jump in and join the discussion as you please.

Peace

5 comments:

AdamMY said...

Well it seems my last comment might have been slightly addressed in this section, most notably the quote "a hundred cakes of tea decorated with purple gold." This makes me thin that Purple is indeed a Royal color, so the purple in the names of certain teas might be indicative of a quality or reserve nature.

"But if it [tea] is ever adulterated, it loses its true quality." If only more people that love "tea" could read that statement, and see that the flavored teas they keep on drinking are really some sort of shadow of what can be obtained from quality and true tea.

Matt said...

Adam,

One is not convinced that the average person has even tried quality tea prepared optimally. So they do know the true taste, colour, and fragrance of tea.

Peace

AdamMY said...

I am sure that a majority of people on the Western Hemisphere have not tried "true" tea. Sometimes I wonder if I even have. But I guess I am referring to the people that claim they are avid tea drinkers, that have tried but only a handful of teas that do not come mixed with fruits, candies, and sprayed with aromatic oils.

It is similar to someone saying that Italian food is their favorite, and their favorite Italian restaurant is Pizza hut. One is certainly inspired by the other, but to claim you know Italian food because you have tried everything on Pizza Hut's menu, is an incredible stretch.

Matt said...

Adam,

Some of these "contaminated" teas are nevertheless still tea and they often act as gateway tea into the more purist stuff- especially for people here in the Western Hemisphere.

"Sometimes I wonder if I even have."

One feels this way as well :)

Peace

Matt said...

All,

Notes on stanza 7:

This stanza speaks on one level to the sensory experience of tea and contrasts it with the deeper spiritual level of tea.

"Cakes of tea decorated with dragons and phoenixes were beautifully and skillfully made in varigated colors;
extravagant sums of money went into making a hundred cakes."

The first half of the stanza speaks of the luxury and extravagance involved in the production, outward appearance, and rich image of tea.

The second half contrasts the first half by challenging those who enjoy only tea at this sensory level or who are otherwise consumed by the superficial, showy, presentation of tea.

"Who knows the full abundance of tea's true colour and fragrance?
Once contaminated, it looses its true quality."

The second half is paraphrasing Section 14. Losing Teas True Nature By Contamination (copied by Cho Ui as ChaSinJeon)

See here: http://mattchasblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/section-14-losing-teas-true-nature-by.html

It encompases the notion of color

See here: http://mattchasblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/korean-tea-classics-book-club-cha-sin_21.html

and fragrance

See here: http://mattchasblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/korean-tea-classics-book-club-cha-sin_16.html

Essentially, the last half of the stanza speaks to the spiritual side of tea- that which can never be fully "known", "seen" (color), or "smelt" (fragrance). It speaks to those who claim to be tea masters, to know "the full abundance of tea's essence". These people do not grasp the deeper essence of tea because they are either stuck in the superficial sensory enjoyment of tea, they claim to know everything there is to know about tea but fail to touch the deeper, spiritual, side of tea, or they claim to be masters of tea but are truly not (can the Way of Tea truely be mastered?).

When these people reach the conclusion that they know "the full abundance of tea's essence", their mind is then contaminated, they are no longer able to smell, taste, or see tea's essence.

This the Zen Buddhist Way of Tea.

Peace