Refining The Gentleman
After today's session with Matcha and a beautiful teabowl made by Cory Lum, I can understand what Lu Yu meant, in his book "The Classic of Tea." He believed that one could use tea for the refinement and cultivation of the gentleman/soul. Buddhist priests used tea for focus and Daoists used tea for cultivating immortality. I believe that all of these views are worthy of serious contemplation. After drinking the Matcha this afternoon, I felt more refined and more gentlemanly than I did before. These words seem foolish (Even to myself). I cannot explain why I felt the way that I did. I also feel like I know this tea in a deeper way than I did before. Saying this about the tea, I believe that all teas have a specific personality and they all have a different effect on both the soul and the body. They are not human, like you and I but they have a certain spirit that cannot be explained. It can only be experienced. Having recognized this, I am careful whenever I choose a teapot for a type of tea. I do not choose the teapot based on blind choice. I choose it based on how I feel when I drink a certain type of tea with a certain teapot. I also match teas with teapots based on the character of the tea as well as the character of the teapot. Some teas are rough and some are gentle, some are sweet and some are bitter, and some are very soothing and calm while others are exciting and full of energy. Teapots are the same way. When I experience these attributes in a tea, I try to match it with a teapot with that same motif. I have one teapot that I have not been able to match a tea with but hopefully I will find one. When I do, I know that tea will be very special. I believe that developing the ability to pair the right tea with the right teapot is one of the ways that tea cultivates the gentleman/soul within all of us.