The Book of Tea: 7

Chapter III 第三章

Taoism and Zennism 道教と禅道

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Take eggs out from refrigerator, crack two or three of them and pour into bowl, then beat. Put a piece of butter into a flying-pan. Make a fire and melt it until the butter covers the surface. When the pan gets enough heated, pour beaten eggs into the pan, then stir them as fast as possible with your full energy.

When eggs become soft-scrambled, put away from the fire and let them cool. About 30 seconds of silence. Take off the remains of eggs on the edge of pan with spatula, at this time, you may mix in other ingredients. Put the pan on the fire again with a high heat, tidy up a shape like spindle. Use wrist pliably to turn over the cuisine on the pan, then serve it in a plate. Need ketchup? Help yourself.

This is an irreplaceable moment. If a stew is a long-distance race, this cuisine is a sprint. This is a race to the finish in an instant. Winner is for those who cook the dish better.

A hot omelette is always an outstanding masterpiece. Many will adore the creamy taste of omelette. The sauce of yolk overflows when corrupting the perfect creation, this is a breathtaking moment but also a painful time. The mild saltness of butter is awesome. You can put in sliced cheese, mushrooms, beacon, chopped vegetables are fantastic. minced meat are greatly welcomed. An omelette adopts every ingredients and embodies with itself. The definition of the legitimate omelette cannot be decided forever. because whoever the chef, such as the Spanish, the French, the Taiwanese, or the Iranian, always make excellent omelettes in their styles. Egg dishes were the beloved of people since the era of an ancient empire, they eagerly took pains and enjoyed the completion of recipe, by studying how to heat or to mix with other ingredients.









The connection of Zennism with tea is proverbial. We have already remarked that the tea-ceremony was a development of the Zen ritual. The name of Laotse, the founder of Taoism, is also intimately associated with the history of tea. It is written in the Chinese school manual concerning the origin of habits and customs that the ceremony of offering tea to a guest began with Kwanyin, a well-known disciple of Laotse, who first at the gate of the Han Pass presented to the “Old Philosopher” a cup of the golden elixir. We shall not stop to discuss the authenticity of such tales, which are valuable, however, as a confirming the early use of the beverage by the Taoists. Our interest in Taoism and Zennism here lies mainly in those ideas regarding life and art which are so embodied in what we call Teaism.

It is to be regretted that as yet there appears to be no adequate presentation of the Taoists and Zen doctrines in any foreign language, though we have had several laudable attempts.4

Translation is always a treason, and as a Ming author observes, can at its best be only the reverse side of brocade, –all the threads are there, but not the subtlety of colour or design. But, after all, what great doctrine is there which is easy to expound? The ancient sages never put their teachings in systematic form. They spoke in paradoxes, for they were afraid of uttering half-truths. They began by talking like fools and ended by making their hearers wise. Laotse himself, with his quaint humour, says “If people of inferior intelligence hear of the Tao, they laugh immensely. It would be the Tao unless they laughed at it.”

The Tao literally means a Path. it has been severally translated as the Way, the Absolute, the Law, Nature, Supreme Reason, the Mode. These renderings are not incorrect, for the use of the term by the Taoists differs according to the subject-matter of the inquiry. Laotse himself spoke of it thus: “There is a thing which is all-containing, which was born before the existence of Heaven and Earth. How silent! How solitary! It stands alone and changes not. It revolves without danger to itself and is the mother of the universe. I do not know its name and so call it the Path. With reluctance I call it the Infinite. Infinity is the Fleeting, the Fleeting is the Vanishing, the vanishing is the Reverting.” The Tao is in the Passage rather than the Path. It is the spirit of Cosmic Change, –the eternal growth which returns upon itself to produce new forms. It recoils upon itself like the dragon, the beloved symbol of the Taoists. It folds and unfolds as do the clouds. The Tao might be spoken of as the Great Transition. Subjectivity it is the Mood of the Universe. Its Absolute is the Relative.

It should be remembered in the first place that Taoism, like its legitimate successor Zennism, represents the individualistic trend of the Southern Chinese mind in contradistinction to the communism of Northern China which expressed itself in Confucianism. The Middle Kingdom is as vast as Europe and has a differentiation of idiosyncrasies marked by the two great river systems which traverse it. The Yangtse-Kiang and Hoang-Ho are respectively the Mediterranean and the Baltic. Even to-day, in spite of centuries of unification, the Southern Celestial differs in his thoughts and beliefs from his Northern brother as a member of the Latin race differs from the Teuton. In ancient days when communication was even more difficult than at present, and especially during the feudal period, this difference in thought was most pronounced. The art and poetry of the one breathes an atmosphere entirely distinct from that of the other. In Laotse and his followers and in Kutsugen, the forerunner of the Yangtse-Kiang nature poets, we find an idealism quite inconsistent with the prosaic ethical notions of their contemporary northern writers. Laotse lived five centuries before the Christian Era.







4 We should like to call attention to Dr. Paul Carus’s admirable translation of the ‘Taotei King’. The Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago, 1898.



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