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When I graduated from university, where I began studying tea and Eastern thought, I spent a decade traveling the world, finally settling in Taiwan where I currently reside. I also lived for quite some time in India, China and Japan. I have had the great fortune to study with some the best tea masters in the world, learning many different traditions. Tea is medicine to me, for purifying the body and more importantly the soul, as an aspect of a healthy spiritual practice. I use tea as a means of purification, though my daily life also revolves around a healthy diet, tai chi, meditation, prayer and study.
I am the Senior Managing Editor of all English Publications at Wushing Publications, Ltd.; and therein one of the main contributors to the magazine "The Art of Tea". I am also a co-founder and the editor-in-chief of the online magazine "The Leaf" (www.the-leaf.org), and an avid painter. Most of my art is also tea-stained. You can view it at: www.sagacitea.com
We have a free tea center/school in Taiwan. You can read about it at: www.teasagehut.org as well as a global outreach program called Global Tea Hut. (www.globalteahut.org) You are welcome to visit and share a cup of tea!
This book does exactly what it states in the introduction. For many Zen (Chan) readers the stories within this book will be known and for some, very well known. But that is not the point, it is the reinterpretation of the stories and the explanation that Mr Fisher gives that makes this book useful and insightful. Is the book about tea? Yes. Is the book about Zen? Yes. Is it about both? Yes, again. However, it is more than the sum of its parts. Mr Fisher has written a book that is also about living and living an enlightened life.
This book is not a history of tea and Zen and is not a cultural or social map of the two. It goes straight to the heart of the matter on the first page "...Zen is an experience..." so is the experience of tea but also so is our life; not to be sitting on the sidelines or wondering which path we should follow. Mr Fisher gives us the only path that is possible, our path. A different path to anybody else. A path that is uniquely our own but in the paradox that is Zen and in fact, also tea, the path that belongs to us all equally and is the same.
"Zen and Tea One Flavor" is able to be read straight through or by reading individual chapters in any order. Meaning for each chapter is self contained and not dependent on serial reading. Each chapter has a story and an exposition on that story. The exposition is the thing that will stay with you, like the flavour of tea, sometimes for a long time.
So, this book is not only about Zen and not only about tea. However, by reading this book you will learn a lot about both and much more. "...there is nothing to agree or disagree with, merely signs pointing the way."
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This may not only be the greatest book on tea ever written, and the greatest book on Zen ever written, this might be the greatest book ever written PERIOD!
This book urges you to "Have a cup" and wait "While the next pot is steeping" through its various sections. Via this journey of reading along with tea as prescribed, wonderful insight is bound to occur. Who knows? Maybe through its pages you'll lose yourself!
When the soul is pure and the cha clean, There is no one left for the tea to drink -- Alone in the garden, Steaming to itself.
-- Wu De --
This book can take you.
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