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The Book of Tea: The Classic Work on the Japanese Tea Ceremony and the Value of Beauty

Kakuzo Okakura

THE BOOK OF TEA has served for more than a century as one of the most perceptive introductions to Asian life and thought in English. Publication of the book was a pioneering effort in the cultural bridge-building between East and West. Kakuzo Okakura perceived chanoyu—literally, "the way of tea"—as a form of spiritual culture, a discipline that transforms itself into the Art of Life.

In writing of chanoyu, his concern was the broad current of Asian culture flowing eastward from India, and its potential contribution to the culture of all humankind. Buddhism, Taoism, Zen, and Chinese and Japanese aesthetics are discussed, giving voice to traditional Asian values and ideals that had been little recognized in the West. Thus, he sought to convey the spirit of chanoyu as a crystallization of the cultural life of the East.

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