One of the important characters in the world of Cha Dao (a spiritual approach to tea) was Baisao, the Old Tea Seller. In the mid-eighteenth century, leaving behind a life as a buddhist monk in his late fifties, Baisao set out for Kyoto to become a tea seller. He used tea as a medium to inspire and bring enlightenment to those who frequented his tiny stall.
He’s a great inspiration to Ya-Ya and I want to share an except from one of his poems that highlights some aspects of tea that are important to us.
It doesn’t take seven cups like Master Lu says
My guests get old Chao-chou’s one cup tea;
And whoever can grasp the taste in that cup
Whether stranger or friend, knows my true mind.
Sake fuels the vital spirits, works like courage,
Tea works benevolently, purifying the soul.
Courageous feats that put the world in debt
Couldn’t match the benefit benevolence brings.
Baisao, from ‘Tasting some new tea from Ekkei ‘
(Translation by Norman Waddell)
I’ll be setting up my little tea stall at the Harbour Harvest Festival at Living Springs on 5 April. Come by and let me share a cup with you…