In the process they exercised very little critical

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Unformatted text preview: dicinal value, even writing a book, Kissa Yòjòki (Book on Improving Health by Drinking Tea), that recommended tea as an elixir for extending one’s life during the age of mappò, when “man has gradually declined and grown weaker, so that his four bodily components and five organs have degenerated.”32 As Eisai explains in the Kissa Yòjòki, The five organs [liver, lungs, heart, spleen, kidney] have their own taste preferences. If one of these preferences is favored too much, the corresponding organ will get too strong and oppress the others, resulting in illness. Now acid, pungent, sweet, and salty foods are eaten in great quantity, but not bitter foods [which the heart prefers]. Yet when the heart becomes sick, all organs and tastes are affected. . . . But if one drinks tea [with its bitter taste], the heart will be strengthened and freed from illness.33 Eisai also urged the use of tea, a stimulant, for keeping awake during long hours of seated meditation in Zen temples. Sometime between the Japanese abandonment of tea in the mid-Heian period and its reintroduction to Japan by Eisai in the late twelfth century there occurred in China two related developments that had a profound influence on the character of the tea ceremony as it was subsequently created by the medieval Japanese: the use of powdered tea and the invention of the bamboo tea scoop (in Japanese, chasen) with which to stir powdered tea to dissolve it in hot water. The Chinese themselves later stopped drinking powdered tea; and today, virtually all the tea that is consumed in the world—whether red (fermented) tea, oolong (semifermented) tea, or green (unfermented) tea—is prepared by infusion: that is, by immersing tea leaves in hot water. The only use of powdered tea is in chanoyu. (In their everyday lives the Japanese, like everyone else, drink infused tea.) During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries tea drinking spread among all classes of Japan, and tea became a national drink. The tea that was prized most was that grown at Toganoo in the mountains to the northwest of Kyoto. Beginning in the fourteenth century, parties held in Kyoto by members of the s...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.

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