泡茶师箴言-The Tea Brewing Master’s Motto
(2001.12《茶艺》月刊社论Published in “Tea Art”monthly magazine)
In the tea fraternity, we have an Assessment Examination for Tea Brewing Masters . This tests one’s theoretical knowledge and brewing technique. Successful candidates will be awarded the Certificate of a Tea Brewing Master. The process is not unlike that of Fine Arts students graduated from higher education institutions, in that a fine art certificate does not necessarily translate into a future career as a painter. However, training in the basics and perseverance in subsequent, long-term practice are equally important to aspired tea gurus1 and renowned painters. Training and creativity matter the same in every way.
Mr Chen Wenqing, the newly-appointed President of the Tea Brewing Masters Association (back in 2002), came up with the idea of an ornamental flag for tea brewers. According to him, imprinted on this flag would be advice and practice to be observed by a tea brewing master2. Mr Chen then approached me to pen those words, and hence, the birth of the Tea Brewing Masters’ Motto3.
Technique and knowledge is the mainstay of a tea brewing Master’s test, and the mission is to obtain the Certificate. Brewing a good pot remains the basic requirement. The nature of this test puts equal emphasis on both fundamental training and tea education. However, critics have it that the term ‘tea brewing master’ refers predominantly to the technique of tea brewing, which does not cover the broad spectrum of a Tea Master’s specialty. As such, the term should be revised to ‘Tea Art master’4 or ‘Master of the Way of Tea’5. Personally, I hope these critics could ponder upon the fundamental value of tea brewing – how could we even talk about The Art or the Way of Tea when we couldn’t even brew a good pot6? This is not unlike learners of music – how can they express the beauty of art by way of sound when they couldn’t even play a piece of music without mistake?
Brewing on a regular basis is a prerequisite in terms of training. Just like an athlete who undergoes physical training day after day, it doesn’t matter whether he/she is into track or field events. It is almost impossible for a person to bring out the best in sports when he/she starts puffing and panting after running a few laps around the track or doing a few routines in the field. By the same token, how would one be able to bring out the essence in the Way of Tea7 without even the basic skill in brewing a decent pot of tea?
From the basic training in brewing one gets to understand the world and the aesthetics embraced by the Way of Tea. This includes external manifestation such as action and movement, as well the environment; and the intrinsic, such as the emotional state and the tea infusion It would be impossible to imagine or even transcend the intangible elements without brewing as the means, or the bridge. Think of a person with the look and attire of an artist, but not the artistic skill because of a lack in practice. Could he be considered an artist?
Let us take this a step further. To bring out the realm and beauty of the Way of Tea, we will need the orchestration of various elements, such as the act of brewing, the environment, the tea infusion8, the experience of participants, and the extent to which they enjoy this. Like the tune for music, and art pieces for fine arts, we will need a means to communicate the intangible across – otherwise, it will only exist in our own consciousness.
In view of all the above, I have come up with the Tea Brewing Master’s Motto, as follows:
Brewing a good pot is the physical training of a Tea Brewing Master, the pursuit of the Way of Tea, and the essence to experiencing the World of Tea.9
以下为文 內之编码 Coding in the tex :
茶人1 Tea Guru1
泡茶师2 Tea brewing master2
泡茶师箴言3 Tea Brewing Masters’ Motto3
茶艺师4 Tea Art master4
茶道师5 Master of the Way of Tea5
泡好茶6 brew a good pot6
茶道7 the Way of Tea7
茶汤8 tea infusion8
Brewing a good pot is the physical training of a Tea Brewing Master, the pursuit of theWay of Tea, and the essence to experiencing the World of Tea9
The aesthetics, character and the state of mind created are not to be undermined in the understanding and enjoyment of tea; and yet, they are the hardest to express. Writings on the thoughts pertaining to tea, regardless of languages used, remain scarce. We have attempted to express them in Chinese, with accompanying English translation(Translator:Katherine Yip.2010.01), to elaborate our thoughts as they are. What we want is to share the knowledge of tea alongside tea drinking. This is, in our opinion, an important contemporary task in promoting the tea culture (Coding in the text is for cross-referencing of the academic terms of tea) (1887)