The Classic of Tea monograph (8th century)


The Classic of Tea or Tea Classic  is the very first monograph on tea in the world, written by Chinese writer Lu Yu between 760 CE and 780 CE during the Tang Dynasty.
According to Tea Lore, Lu Yu was an orphan of Jinling county (now Tianmen county in Hubei province) who was adopted by a Buddhist monk of the Dragon Cloud Monastery. He refused to take up the monastic robes and was assigned menial jobs by his stepfather. Lu Yu ran away and joined the circus as a clown. At age 14, Lu Yu was discovered by the local governor Li Qiwu who offered Lu Yu the use of his library and the opportunity to study with a teacher. During the An Lushan and Shi Siming rebellion period, Lu Yu retired to Shaoqi (now Wuxing county, Zhejiang). During this period, Lu Yu made friends with many literati, including the calligrapher Yan Zhenqing and the poet Huang Pu Zheng and wrote his magnum opus: Ch’a Ching.
For Lu Yu, tea symbolized the harmony and mysterious unity of the Universe. “He invested the Ch’a Ching with the concept that dominated the religious thought of his age, whether Buddhist, Taoist, or Confucian: to see in the particular an expression of the universal”

Saw Lu Yu off to Pick Tea
Thousand mountains greeted my departing friend

When spring tea blossoming again

With indepth knowledge in picking tea

Through morning mist or crimson evening clouds

His solitary journey is my envy

Rendezvous in a temple of a remote mountain

We enjoyed picnic by a clear pebble fountain

In this silent night

Lit up a candle light

I knocked a marble bell for chime

While deep in thought for old time.

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