Sep 20, 2007

A short reading list

I’ve had a request for a list of books on tea ceremony and I’d like to name a few in order of increasing difficulty:

Tea Here Now by Donna Fellman and Lhasha Tizer
ISBN: 1930722575 Paperback
Tea Here Now demonstrates how tea and the simple act of preparing a cup of tea can give drinkers a taste of enlightenment. Written for the average person who wishes to infuse accessible, uncomplicated spirituality and mindfulness into his or her tea drinking, the book explores the health benefits, spiritual practices, and lifestyle-enhancing properties associated with the world's major blends, in the process creating a practical guidebook for the "tea lifestyle."

Tea Life, Tea Mind by Soshitsu Sen
ASIN: 0834801426 Paperback
A Japanese tea master discusses his art, and throws in a few anecdotes of his own life and stories about famous tea masters from the past. Overall, this is a wonderful introduction to the spirit behind the tea ceremony, which as just as important as the particulars of the process itself. The author's warmth and sincere goodwill come through nicely in this slim, peaceful volume.

The Book of Tea by Okakuro Kakuzo ISBN: 0804832196 Hardcover
On the surface, this is a book about history - the history of tea, and art, and religion. But this is really a book about so much more - it compares the culture and way of thinking of the East and West, the past and the present. It makes the reader think about and reassess what is important in life, what is really beautiful, what is worth keeping or fighting for. What is dignity. This essay, which wends its way between the discovery of tea, flower arranging, architecture and Taoism along with other enticing subjects, is truly an enlightening and thrilling book, in a quiet and gentle way. Whether you are interested in East Asian culture, Tea, or would just like a compass to help you re-orientate your priorities, you will probably gain something from this ode to the importance and influence of Tea.

Wind in the Pines, Classic Writings of the Way of Tea as a Buddhist Path compiled and edited by Dennis Hirota
ISBN: 0875730736 Hardcover
This may be the definitive text on Chanoyu, comparable in importance to Okakura's Book of Tea. Hirota penetrates the Buddhist essence of Tea and understands its authentic origins. Essential for any serious Tea practitioner. It is not a simple history or manual, but a mature and sophisticated reflection on the true nature of Tea as a Way and a practice. Wind in the Pines is a inspiration and also an invitation to penetrate the relationship of Tea to the other Buddhist arts, including renga and haiku and flower arranging (ikebana) and is the product of the deepest appreciation, insight, knowledge and scholarship

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