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The tea ceremony was started in China one thousand years ago by Zen priests and spread into Japan a couple of centuries later. Whereas Chinese priests started it to ward off drowsiness in meditation the Japanese laity made it popular. Slowly it changed until the sixteenth century, when the present rite was finalized by Zen priests. The greatest possible economy of movements is aimed at. The rite is an exercise in refinement, gracefulness, and calm. But surprising humility is also embodied in it in a way strangely reminiscent of the Egyptian Great Pyramid, for like the entrance to the King's Chamber, the entry to the Tea-Chamber is through an opening so small and so low in the wall that a visitor is forced to bend down and almost crawl through.


-- Notebooks Category 15: The Orient > Chapter 3: China, Japan, Tibet > # 172

-- Perspectives > Chapter 15: The Orient > # 41






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