Friday, April 6, 2007
Tea and Bodhidharma
So,interestingly enough,as I am reading my book on The Way of Qigong,I come across the subject of Tea,another one of my earthly liquid desires....
And then,today,I noticed the review about Awakenings,a show about Budhist Art,where the name of a great monk Bodhidharma (fifth century A.D. ) appears.
Tea is the most popular and important medicine in China and considered as ancient as Chinese Medicine.More than two thousand years ago the legendary Divine Farmer (Shen Neng) catalogued all of China's medicinal plants,which is until today an important source of information on tea.
There is a Buddhists tale that Bodhidharma once fell asleep during his nine-year meditation vigil.When he awoke,he was so angry with himself that he cut off his own eyelids.(So much for Van Gogh in another time)These eyelids fell to the ground and arose as the first tea plant in China.Ever since that time tea has been used to keep meditating monks awake and wakeful.(Actually tea is much more ancient than Bodhidharma.Tea is mentioned at least eight hundred years earlier in Shi Jing(the Classic of Poetry).
"Among other benefits, Tea generates fluids and raises the spirit".