As a Philosophical Concept

In China, Tea was first introduced to common people as a medicine, afterwards as food spices, and later as a new material for drinking. When tea first entered into the daily lives of the common people, tea almost instantly became associated as part of Chinese traditional Daoism.

When tea entered into royal family's life, the royal family branded it with Confucianism; when tea entered into the Buddhist circle to help Buddhist monks meditate, Buddhists dissolved Buddhism into tea pots. So, for Chinese, tea is not just tea, it is a combination of Chinese Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.

Tea & Daoism

The Chinese character for Tea, Chá , is made up of three components: (grass), (human), (wood). (human) is between (grass) and (wood). Humans are one with the natural essence of sky and earth. This embodies the essence of Daoism: ultimately being the unity of man and nature.

Dào is the philosophy and religion that originally rooted from ancient China. In Chinese, Dao literally means path or way, and it can extent its meanings as of principle and moral. Daoism means the essence of the universe, and the united one of human beings and the natural world - thus declaring Dao as the combination of truth, kindness, and beauty of the universe. The material and human spirit cannot be separated; as material is in the spirit - and the spirit is in the material.

Tea & Confucianism

Confucius (551 - 479 B.C.), the greatest philosopher in ancient China, and his student, Meng Zi established Confucianism. Emphasizing on the formality and ceremony between almost everything, Confucianism in whole re-disciplined and in a sense redefined the relationships between people by the behavior they must conduct.

Such concepts include Mercy, Commitment, Etiquette, Wisdom, and especially the "Gold Middle Way" suggesting Harmony and Balance.

Its complex structure of etiquette also influenced the creation of the tea etiquette and tea ceremony in China. From Confucius perspective, tea means harmony, calm, etiquette, and optimism.

Tea & Buddhism

Buddhism was founded in 535 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 B.C.) in Lumbini of Northern India (now currently inside Nepal. Buddhism's Mahayana tradition entered into China as a foreign religion during Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.) by trying to explain the essence of human life.

In the Buddhist temple, monks are very strict about their diet: where vegetables, rice and wheat products are the sole resource for their daily nutrition. Tea on the other hand as an exception, tea in essence is a vegetable so drinking tea breaks no- monastery rules.

Additionally, drinking tea can help monks meditate by keeping them awake. Tea's bitter taste can refer to Buddhist suffering; the clean and clear tea liquid can refer to the monastery rule of self-discipline, and calm.