“Pochayevnichaem?” – this is the question we, the Russians, often ask our guests. Over a cup of tea, we discuss political and family issues, we cry and laugh, and none of our home gatherings are complete without this drink. But for us, tea is just an excuse for conversation, an attribute. In China, this ritual has a completely different attitude. This action reflects many aesthetic principles of the people, their philosophical worldviews. I talked about the peculiarities of Chinese tea art with Alexander Shu and Boris Saptakov, employees of the Tea Culture Club “Cha-I”, created on the basis of the” Confucius School ” of the Russian State Pedagogical University.
Interviewer: How and when did this tradition originate in China?
Boris: There is a legend. In China, there was a Shengnun deity who had a bull’s head and a jade belly. He once tried 100 herbs in a day, 72 of which were poisonous. Shennun felt ill, lay down under a tree, from which a drop of dew fell on his lips, the patient felt better. The tree was a tea tree… There is another legend. One day, Bodhidharma, a man who preached Buddhism in China, came to the border with China to meditate. But during meditation, I accidentally fell asleep. When he woke up, out of anger, he tore out his eyelashes, which then grew into a tea bush.
Since then, the Chinese have been drinking this divine drink that brings health and vigor.
Correspondent: The earliest mention of the term “tea ceremony” is associated with a literary essay by author Yuan Mei from the 51st year of the Qin Dynasty. And what types of tea ceremony exist today?
Alexander: In Russia, three types of tea ceremonies are most common. The first and simplest is Pin Cha, which is a classic way of making tea. This ceremony can be performed daily. The second is Gongfu Cha, or Supreme Tea Mastery. The third and most difficult method is the brewing of tea on fire according to the method of Lu Yu, which is the oldest method that appeared in the 8th century. Each of the ceremonies has its own characteristics and traditions, the necessary attributes. For example, in the Pin Cha ceremony, the main accessory for brewing tea is a gaiwan (cup with a lid). In more complex cases, there is a cup of justice (a drink is poured into it, which is then poured into the cups of the guests). A special Chaban tea table is also required. They also use Chahe, that is, a cup for acquaintance with tea. Tea leaves are placed in it, and all the guests take turns inhaling their aroma. During the tea ceremony, it is important to relax. To do this, turn on relaxing music, light scented candles…
Correspondent: It is known that the tea ceremony from China moved to Japan. But there are many more types of this action (the most popular six). It turns out that the Japanese have perfected this tradition? Have you moved on?
A: Not really. The fact is that in China there is a teaching of Chan Buddhism, and the tea ceremony was perceived as an important element of rituals, it was ritualized. This teaching (and with it all the tea traditions ) migrated to Japan and was modified into Zen Buddhism. We must not forget about the historical features: after China was captured by the Mongols, the country was in a fragmented state, and gradually tea became a secular drink. The modern tea ceremony in Japan is a strictly canonized action, in China the most important thing in the tea ceremony is unity with the drink, it does not need a huge number of types of tea drinking. In China, there are no strict rules of behavior, even sitting during the ceremony can be as comfortable as possible (in contrast to Japan, where you rely on your own heels, putting a dzabuton under your knees-approx. correspondent)
Correspondent: . Despite the fact that there are only three main types of ceremony, how long do you need to learn this art?
A. (smiling): All your life…
Interviewer: And how many hours is the basic course in your tea school?
A: The program is designed for 30 hours. Classes are held constantly, as groups are recruited (in a group of up to 5 people). At the end, an exam is held. The courses teach, for example, about the origin of tea, about the features of each type of ceremony, about how to choose tea…
Interviewer: And how do you choose a good golden drink (tea)?
A: This is also a whole art. But to learn this, you need to try a lot and often a variety of teas. However, for each type of ceremony, there are the most suitable teas. For example, for Gongfu Cha, turquoise tea is more suitable, for brewing tea – black, green, yellow and white. It is also worth considering who will enjoy this drink. For a noisy company, you need one tea, for a romantic conversation, quite another.
Correspondent: Today, life is becoming more and more dynamic and rapid. Do the Chinese still drink tea, observing all the traditions?
A.: Unfortunately, no, now there is a tendency to simplify. But no one drinks bagged tea there either. China has a very different tea culture. Sometimes a tea ceremony is held, for example, to sell tea. Or as an accompanying act during the Peking opera.
Natalia Borisova, a student of the USU journalism faculty.