I am not a student of Zen, but I am a student of tea, so anything in English that helps me understand the relationship of Zen to tea captures my interest. One of the overt examples of Zen in the tea room is the scroll displayed in the tokonoma. It is often a Zen saying. Although it may seem on the surface to be a simple statement “nichi, nichi kore kojitsu” everyday is a good day, or everyday is a day to be liked, it can have deeper and more profound meanings.
I recently came across the book, “The One Taste of Truth, Zen and the Art of Drinking Tea,” by William Scott Wilson.
ISBN: 978-1-61180-026-5 paperback.
Here is the publisher’s description:
Traditionally in China and Japan, drinking a cup of tea was an opportunity for contemplation, meditation, and an elevation of mind and spirit. Here, renowned translator William Scott Wilson distills what is singular and precious about this traditional tea culture, and he explores the fascinating connection between Zen and tea drinking. He unpacks the most common phrases from Zen and Chinese philosophy—usually found in Asia printed on hanging scrolls in tea rooms, restaurant alcoves, family rooms, and martial arts dojos—that have traditionally served as points of contemplation to encourage the appropriate atmosphere for drinking tea or silent meditation.
Part history, part philosophy, part inspirational guide, The One Taste of Truth will connect you to the distinctive pleasure of sipping tea and allowing it to transport your mind and thoughts. This beautifully written book will appeal to tea lovers and anyone interested in tea culture, Chinese philosophy, and Zen.
What I especially appreciate about this book is that is shows the phrase in calligraphy so we may begin to learn to recognize it. The book also shows the romanji, so we know how to pronounce it, and the English translation. The explanation that follows for each phrase is easy to follow, and contains more gems for those of us looking for gomei from these phrases. Historical and cultural context are also covered. An overall good addition to your Chado library.