2-3 pages of sociological reflection

Write 2-3 pages of sociological reflection.Analyze 2 readings attached below carefully and write not only a summary but deeply analyzed context in the reflection.The refection should take the form of either a thematic connection between the readings and a discussion of the meaning–how practice is manifest in culture. Also, please reflect on 2 of the readings I attached below.
book_of_tea.pdf

in_praise_of_shadows.pdf

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THE BOOK OF TEA
BY
KAKUZO OKAKURA
1906
The Book of Tea By Kakuzo Okakura.
This edition was created and published by Global Grey
©GlobalGrey 2017
globalgreyebooks.com
CONTENTS
1. The Cup Of Humanity
2. The Schools Of Tea
3. Taoism And Zennism
4. The Tea-Room
5. Art Appreciation
6. Flowers
7. Tea-Masters
1
1. THE CUP OF HUMANITY
Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. In China, in the
eighth century, it entered the realm of poetry as one of the polite
amusements. The fifteenth century saw Japan ennoble it into a religion
of aestheticism–Teaism. Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the
beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates
purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of
the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a
tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible
thing we know as life.
The Philosophy of Tea is not mere aestheticism in the ordinary
acceptance of the term, for it expresses conjointly with ethics and
religion our whole point of view about man and nature. It is hygiene, for
it enforces cleanliness; it is economics, for it shows comfort in simplicity
rather than in the complex and costly; it is moral geometry, inasmuch as
it defines our sense of proportion to the universe. It represents the true
spirit of Eastern democracy by making all its votaries aristocrats in taste.
The long isolation of Japan from the rest of the world, so conducive to
introspection, has been highly favourable to the development of Teaism.
Our home and habits, costume and cuisine, porcelain, lacquer, painting-our very literature–all have been subject to its influence. No student of
Japanese culture could ever ignore its presence. It has permeated the
elegance of noble boudoirs, and entered the abode of the humble. Our
peasants have learned to arrange flowers, our meanest labourer to offer
his salutation to the rocks and waters. In our common parlance we speak
of the man “with no tea” in him, when he is insusceptible to the seriocomic interests of the personal drama. Again we stigmatise the untamed
aesthete who, regardless of the mundane tragedy, runs riot in the
springtide of emancipated emotions, as one “with too much tea” in him.
The outsider may indeed wonder at this seeming much ado about
nothing. What a tempest in a tea-cup! he will say. But when we consider
how small after all the cup of human enjoyment is, how soon overflowed
with tears, how easily drained to the dregs in our quenchless thirst for
infinity, we shall not blame ourselves for making so much of the tea-cup.
2
Mankind has done worse. In the worship of Bacchus, we have sacrificed
too freely; and we have even transfigured the gory image of Mars. Why
not consecrate ourselves to the queen of the Camelias, and revel in the
warm stream of sympathy that flows from her altar? In the liquid amber
within the ivory-porcelain, the initiated may touch the sweet reticence of
Confucius, the piquancy of Laotse, and the ethereal aroma of Sakyamuni
himself.
Those who cannot feel the littleness of great things in themselves are apt
to overlook the greatness of little things in others. The average
Westerner, in his sleek complacency, will see in the tea ceremony but
another instance of the thousand and one oddities which constitute the
quaintness and childishness of the East to him. He was wont to regard
Japan as barbarous while she indulged in the gentle arts of peace: he
calls her civilised since she began to commit wholesale slaughter on
Manchurian battlefields. Much comment has been given lately to the
Code of the Samurai, –the Art of Death which makes our soldiers exult
in self- sacrifice; but scarcely any attention has been drawn to Teaism,
which represents so much of our Art of Life. Fain would we remain
barbarians, if our claim to civilisation were to be based on the gruesome
glory of war. Fain would we await the time when due respect shall be
paid to our art and ideals.
When will the West understand, or try to understand, the East? We
Asiatics are often appalled by the curious web of facts and fancies which
has been woven concerning us. We are pictured as living on the perfume
of the lotus, if not on mice and cockroaches. It is either impotent
fanaticism or else abject voluptuousness. Indian spirituality has been
derided as ignorance, Chinese sobriety as stupidity, Japanese patriotism
as the result of fatalism. It has been said that we are less sensible to pain
and wounds on account of the callousness of our nervous organisation!
Why not amuse yourselves at our expense? Asia returns the compliment.
There would be further food for merriment if you were to know all that
we have imagined and written about you. All the glamour of the
perspective is there, all the unconscious homage of wonder, all the silent
resentment of the new and undefined. You have been loaded with virtues
too refined to be envied, and accused of crimes too picturesque to be
condemned. Our writers in the past–the wise men who knew–informed
3
us that you had bushy tails somewhere hidden in your garments, and
often dined off a fricassee of newborn babes! Nay, we had something
worse against you: we used to think you the most impracticable people
on the earth, for you were said to preach what you never practiced.
Such misconceptions are fast vanishing amongst us. Commerce has
forced the European tongues on many an Eastern port. Asiatic youths
are flocking to Western colleges for the equipment of modern education.
Our insight does not penetrate your culture deeply, but at least we are
willing to learn. Some of my compatriots have adopted too much of your
customs and too much of your etiquette, in the delusion that the
acquisition of stiff collars and tall silk hats comprised the attainment of
your civilisation. Pathetic and deplorable as such affectations are, they
evince our willingness to approach the West on our knees. Unfortunately
the Western attitude is unfavourable to the understanding of the East.
The Christian missionary goes to impart, but not to receive. Your
information is based on the meagre translations of our immense
literature, if not on the unreliable anecdotes of passing travellers. It is
rarely that the chivalrous pen of a Lafcadio Hearn or that of the author of
“The Web of Indian Life” enlivens the Oriental darkness with the torch of
our own sentiments.
Perhaps I betray my own ignorance of the Tea Cult by being so
outspoken. Its very spirit of politeness exacts that you say what you are
expected to say, and no more. But I am not to be a polite Teaist. So much
harm has been done already by the mutual misunderstanding of the New
World and the Old, that one need not apologise for contributing his tithe
to the furtherance of a better understanding. The beginning of the
twentieth century would have been spared the spectacle of sanguinary
warfare if Russia had condescended to know Japan better. What dire
consequences to humanity lie in the contemptuous ignoring of Eastern
problems! European imperialism, which does not disdain to raise the
absurd cry of the Yellow Peril, fails to realise that Asia may also awaken
to the cruel sense of the White Disaster. You may laugh at us for having
“too much tea,” but may we not suspect that you of the West have “no
tea” in your constitution?
Let us stop the continents from hurling epigrams at each other, and be
sadder if not wiser by the mutual gain of half a hemisphere. We have
4
developed along different lines, but there is no reason why one should
not supplement the other. You have gained expansion at the cost of
restlessness; we have created a harmony which is weak against
aggression. Will you believe it?–the East is better off in some respects
than the West!
Strangely enough humanity has so far met in the tea-cup. It is the only
Asiatic ceremonial which commands universal esteem. The white man
has scoffed at our religion and our morals, but has accepted the brown
beverage without hesitation. The afternoon tea is now an important
function in Western society. In the delicate clatter of trays and saucers,
in the soft rustle of feminine hospitality, in the common catechism about
cream and sugar, we know that the Worship of Tea is established beyond
question. The philosophic resignation of the guest to the fate awaiting
him in the dubious decoction proclaims that in this single instance the
Oriental spirit reigns supreme.
The earliest record of tea in European writing is said to be found in the
statement of an Arabian traveller, that after the year 879 the main
sources of revenue in Canton were the duties on salt and tea. Marco Polo
records the deposition of a Chinese minister of finance in 1285 for his
arbitrary augmentation of the tea-taxes. It was at the period of the great
discoveries that the European people began to know more about the
extreme Orient. At the end of the sixteenth century the Hollanders
brought the news that a pleasant drink was made in the East from the
leaves of a bush. The travellers Giovanni Batista Ramusio (1559), L.
Almeida (1576), Maffeno (1588), Tareira (1610), also mentioned tea. In
the last-named year ships of the Dutch East India Company brought the
first tea into Europe. It was known in France in 1636, and reached Russia
in 1638. England welcomed it in 1650 and spoke of it as “That excellent
and by all physicians approved China drink, called by the Chineans Tcha,
and by other nations Tay, alias Tee.”
Like all good things of the world, the propaganda of Tea met with
opposition. Heretics like Henry Saville (1678) denounced drinking it as a
filthy custom. Jonas Hanway (Essay on Tea, 1756) said that men seemed
to lose their stature and comeliness, women their beauty through the use
of tea. Its cost at the start (about fifteen or sixteen shillings a pound)
forbade popular consumption, and made it “regalia for high treatments
5
and entertainments, presents being made thereof to princes and
grandees.” Yet in spite of such drawbacks tea-drinking spread with
marvellous rapidity. The coffee-houses of London in the early half of the
eighteenth century became, in fact, tea-houses, the resort of wits like
Addison and Steele, who beguiled themselves over their “dish of tea.”
The beverage soon became a necessity of life–a taxable matter. We are
reminded in this connection what an important part it plays in modern
history. Colonial America resigned herself to oppression until human
endurance gave way before the heavy duties laid on Tea. American
independence dates from the throwing of tea-chests into Boston
harbour.
There is a subtle charm in the taste of tea which makes it irresistible and
capable of idealisation. Western humourists were not slow to mingle the
fragrance of their thought with its aroma. It has not the arrogance of
wine, the self- consciousness of coffee, nor the simpering innocence of
cocoa. Already in 1711, says the Spectator: “I would therefore in a
particular manner recommend these my speculations to all wellregulated families that set apart an hour every morning for tea, bread
and butter; and would earnestly advise them for their good to order this
paper to be punctually served up and to be looked upon as a part of the
tea-equipage.” Samuel Johnson draws his own portrait as “a hardened
and shameless tea drinker, who for twenty years diluted his meals with
only the infusion of the fascinating plant; who with tea amused the
evening, with tea solaced the midnight, and with tea welcomed the
morning.”
Charles Lamb, a professed devotee, sounded the true note of Teaism
when he wrote that the greatest pleasure he knew was to do a good
action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident. For Teaism is the
art of concealing beauty that you may discover it, of suggesting what you
dare not reveal. It is the noble secret of laughing at yourself, calmly yet
thoroughly, and is thus humour itself,–the smile of philosophy. All
genuine humourists may in this sense be called tea-philosophers,-Thackeray, for instance, and of course, Shakespeare. The poets of the
Decadence (when was not the world in decadence?), in their protests
against materialism, have, to a certain extent, also opened the way to
Teaism. Perhaps nowadays it is our demure contemplation of the
Imperfect that the West and the East can meet in mutual consolation.
6
The Taoists relate that at the great beginning of the No-Beginning, Spirit
and Matter met in mortal combat. At last the Yellow Emperor, the Sun of
Heaven, triumphed over Shuhyung, the demon of darkness and earth.
The Titan, in his death agony, struck his head against the solar vault and
shivered the blue dome of jade into fragments. The stars lost their nests,
the moon wandered aimlessly among the wild chasms of the night. In
despair the Yellow Emperor sought far and wide for the repairer of the
Heavens. He had not to search in vain. Out of the Eastern sea rose a
queen, the divine Niuka, horn-crowned and dragon-tailed, resplendent
in her armor of fire. She welded the five-coloured rainbow in her magic
cauldron and rebuilt the Chinese sky. But it is told that Niuka forgot to
fill two tiny crevices in the blue firmament. Thus began the dualism of
love–two souls rolling through space and never at rest until they join
together to complete the universe. Everyone has to build anew his sky of
hope and peace.
The heaven of modern humanity is indeed shattered in the Cyclopean
struggle for wealth and power. The world is groping in the shadow of
egotism and vulgarity. Knowledge is bought through a bad conscience,
benevolence practiced for the sake of utility. The East and the West, like
two dragons tossed in a sea of ferment, in vain strive to regain the jewel
of life. We need a Niuka again to repair the grand devastation; we await
the great Avatar. Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow
is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the
soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence,
and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.
7
2. THE SCHOOLS OF TEA
Tea is a work of art and needs a master hand to bring out its noblest
qualities. We have good and bad tea, as we have good and bad paintings-generally the latter. There is no single recipe for making the perfect tea,
as there are no rules for producing a Titian or a Sesson. Each preparation
of the leaves has its individuality, its special affinity with water and heat,
its own method of telling a story. The truly beautiful must always be in it.
How much do we not suffer through the constant failure of society to
recognise this simple and fundamental law of art and life; Lichilai, a
Sung poet, has sadly remarked that there were three most deplorable
things in the world: the spoiling of fine youths through false education,
the degradation of fine art through vulgar admiration, and the utter
waste of fine tea through incompetent manipulation.
Like Art, Tea has its periods and its schools. Its evolution may be roughly
divided into three main stages: the Boiled Tea, the Whipped Tea, and the
Steeped Tea. We moderns belong to the last school. These several
methods of appreciating the beverage are indicative of the spirit of the
age in which they prevailed. For life is an expression, our unconscious
actions the constant betrayal of our innermost thought. Confucius said
that “man hideth not.” Perhaps we reveal ourselves too much in small
things because we have so little of the great to conceal. The tiny incidents
of daily routine are as much a commentary of racial ideals as the highest
flight of philosophy or poetry. Even as the difference in favorite vintage
marks the separate idiosyncrasies of different periods and nationalities
of Europe, so the Tea-ideals characterise the various moods of Oriental
culture. The Cake-tea which was boiled, the Powdered-tea which was
whipped, the Leaf-tea which was steeped, mark the distinct emotional
impulses of the Tang, the Sung, and the Ming dynasties of China. If we
were inclined to borrow the much-abused terminology of artclassification, we might designate them respectively, the Classic, the
Romantic, and the Naturalistic schools of Tea.
The tea-plant, a native of southern China, was known from very early
times to Chinese botany and medicine. It is alluded to in the classics
under the various names of Tou, Tseh, Chung, Kha, and Ming, and was
8
highly prized for possessing the virtues of relieving fatigue, delighting
the soul, strengthening the will, and repairing the eyesight. It was not
only administered as an internal dose, but often applied externally in
form of paste to alleviate rheumatic pains. The Taoists claimed it as an
important ingredient of the elixir of immortality. The Buddhists used it
extensively to prevent drowsiness during their long hours of meditation.
By the fourth and fifth centuries Tea became a favourite beverage among
the inhabitants of the Yangtse-Kiang valley. It was about this time that
modern ideograph Cha was coined, evidently a corruption of the classic
Tou. The poets of the southern dynasties have left some fragments of
their fervent adoration of the “froth of the liquid jade.” Then emperors
used to bestow some rare preparation of the leaves on their high
ministers as a reward for eminent services. Yet the method of drinking
tea at this stage was primitive in the extreme. The leaves were steamed,
crushed in a mortar, made into a cake, and boiled together with rice,
ginger, salt, orange peel, spices, milk, and sometimes with onions! The
custom obtains at the present day among the Thibetans and various
Mongolian tribes, who make a curious syrup of these ingredients. The
use of lemon slices by the Russians, who learned to take tea from the
Chinese caravansaries, points to the survival of the ancient method.
It needed the genius of the Tang dynasty to emancipate Tea from its
crude state and lead to its final idealization. With Luwuh in the middle of
the eighth century we have our first apostle of tea. He was born in an age
when Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism were seeking mutual
synthesis. The pantheistic symbolism of the time was urging one to
mirror the Universal in the Particular. Luwuh, a poet, saw in the Teaservice the same harmony and order which reigned through all things. In
his celebrated work, the “Chaking” (The Holy Scripture of Tea) he
formulated the Code of Tea. He has since been worshipped as the
tutelary god of the Chinese tea merchants.
The “Chaking” consists of three volumes and ten chapters. In the first
chapter Luwuh treats of the nature of the tea-plant, in the second of the
implements for gathering the leaves, in the third of the selection of the
leaves. According to him the best quality of the leaves must have “creases
like the leathern boot of Tartar horsemen, curl like the dewlap of a
mighty bullock, unfold like a mist rising out of a ravine, gleam like a lake
9
touched by a zephyr, and be wet and soft like fine earth newly swept by
rain.”
The fourth chapter is devoted to the enumeration and description of the
twenty-four members of the tea-equipage, beginning with the tripod
brazier and ending with the bamboo cabinet for containing all these
utensils. Here we notice Luwuh’s predilection for Taoist symbolism. Also
it is interesting to observe in this connection the influence of tea on
Chinese ceramics. The Celestial porcelain, as is well known, had its
origin in an attempt to reproduce the exquisite shade of jade, resulting,
in the Tang dynasty, in the blue glaze of the south, and the white glaze of
the north. Luwuh considered the blue as the ideal colour for the tea-cup,
as it lent additional greenness to the beverage, whereas the white made it
look pinkish and distasteful. It was because he used cake-tea. Later on,
when the tea masters of Sung took to the powdered tea, they preferred
heavy bowls of blue-black and dark brown. The Mings, with their steeped
tea, re …
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