2 Tea and Zen History

Text and Images from Slide

A green forest with deciduous trees and some bamboo in the background. Shrubs grow underneath the trees. The shrubs are tea plants.

Tea Plantation at Togano

View all slides | Contents of this slide

Lecture Notes

Tea was introduced to Japan a second time by the founder of the Rinzai Zen sect. Eisai was originally a monk of the Tendai sect. In China, however, he studied with the great Ch'an (the precursor of Zen in Japan) master, Lin-chi. On Eisai's return to Japan, he brought with him, not only a new kind of Buddhism, but tea seeds. Tradition says, he planted them in his garden in Hizen. Eisai also gave some seeds to his friend Myoe, who planted them at Kozanji temple at Togano, near Kyoto. The tea plants that flourished there became known as "hon,cha", the original tea.