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Lu Yu and Sutra of Tea

luyuLu Yu(陆羽, 733-804), whose courtesy name was Hongjian(鸿渐), was born in today’s Tianmen City of Hubei Province. His another name was Ji(疾) and courtesy name was Jizi(季疵), and his literary names were Jinglingzi(竟陵子), Sangzhuweng(桑苎翁), Donggangzi(东冈子) and Chashan Yushi(茶山御史, Royally-Assigned Governor of Tea Hill). He liked tea best all the life and specialized in Tea Culture, and he wrote the world’s first masterpiece themed with tea. The book was named Cha Jing(茶经, The Sutra of Tea). Lu Yu made the unprecedented contribution to the development of tea culture and theory. In history, he was crowned to be The Immortal of Tea(茶仙), The Saint of Tea(茶圣) and The God of Tea(茶神). Incidentally, Lu Yu was also expert in creating poems, but, nowadays, there were just some of his poems remained. His interests in tea were mainly embodied in the aspects of his long-term study and investigation on tea and expertise in planting, raising and processing the tea. And his theory on how to taste and judge the tea is also quite useful and becomes an important part of Chinese tea culture. In 760, Lu Yu led a reclusive life in Jiangnan region, and completed his famous classical works --- The Sutra of Tea, which roughly comprised of three volumes. In an authoritative masterpiece of Tang Dynasty named Quan Tang Wen(全唐文, The Overall Articles of Tang Dynasty), there is the Autobiography of Lu Yu(陆羽自传).

In New Book of Tang(Xin Tang Shu, 新唐书), there was some content themed with introduction of Lu Yu. In accordance to the record, Lu Yu’s birthplace was unknown, and someone said that Lu Yu was discovered by a monk at the brink of the water and he brought up in temple. After Lu Yu grew up, it was the time to give him a formal name, and the monks of temple named him formally Lu Yu in accordance with the random content gotten by way of Bushi(卜筮, a mysterious and time-honored fortunetelling way) from Book of Changes(易经), and the content was a part of Jian(蹇) called Jian(渐, gradualness), and the specific interpretation of this part in Chinese was” 鸿渐于陆,其羽可用为仪”(swan gradually gets on the land, and its feather could be the tool of rite). The Sutra of Tea of Lu Yu was the systematic summary of scientific knowledge and practical experience of tea in Tang Dynasty and before Tang Dynasty. it was the first-hand document that Lu Yu got from the tea production and processing.


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