Sunday, December 30, 2007

the korean way of tea

"tea has five functions:

it quenches thirst.
it consoles the lonely heart.
it draws host and guests closer together.
it ensures good digestion.
it relieves a hangover.

tea has six virtues:

it bestows long life.
it heals disease.
it cheers the spirits.
it soothes the heart.
it purifies the mind.
it bestows propriety."

--yi mok, a scholar of the korean joseon dynasty (late 1400's)

"the first bowl moistens my lips and throat,
the second bowl banishes all loneliness,
the third bowl clears my mind of words and books,
at the fourth cup, i begin to perspire and
life's troubles evaporate through my pores.
the fifth cup cleanses my entire being.
six cups and i am in the realm of the divine.
seven cups - ah, but i can drink no more:
i can only feel the gentle breeze blowing through my sleeves,
wafting me away to the isle of immortality!"

--lu tung, a poet of the chinese t'ang dynasty

--both quotations taken from the book: "the korean way of tea" by brother anthony of taize and hong kyeong-hee

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