A Way to the Tranquil WorldDado, the traditional process of making and drinking tea
Goo Ja-gun Cub Reporter  |
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승인 2006.04.01  00:00:00
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리

THE FRENCH philosopher Pierre Sansot says in his book "Du Bon Usage de la Lenteur (The Meaning of Living Slowly)" that slowness whispers to us to let our souls breath by walking around peacefully and taking a tranquil rest. Tea has played a significant role as a symbol of this so-called well-being life style because the process of making and drinking tea requires calmness and composure. But these days, people only know about drinking tea, not about the process of making it: the traditional custom that embodies the real meaning of drinking tea. It is called dado, the tea ceremony.

  Dado refers to the whole process of making tea. Generally, it starts with picking and infusing tea leaves, followed by boiling them, straining the liquid, and finally serving it in a cup and offering it to another person. There are various kinds of dado, depending on to whom the tea is served, and their processes differ slightly.

  There is a misconception that dado is originally a Japanese custom, but this tradition started in China in the 8th century and then spread into Korea and Japan. China and Japan's dado have unique characteristics in terms of ideology. In Japan's hwakyung, based ideology, dado pursues peace and accord. To pursue harmony with all things including nature, animals and human beings, it adheres strict, polite rules and emphasizes formality. Meanwhile, China's dado is based on kumduk ideology. It pursues frugal, good-natured characteristic and tries to make tea into a sublime art form.

  In Korea, the origination of dado can be found in the Shilla Dynasty, used for the education of chivalry. Korean traditional dado was improved and used in the nobles' culture in the Goryeo Dynasty and in temple culture during the Joseon Dynasty. Throughout the Joseon era, dado was almost abolished because of the restraints of Buddhism, but during the 19th century, thanks to the monk Cho-hee who wrote "Dongasong," a book on dado, it was re-absorbed into the common people's culture and has ever since been revised and improved. "Korean dado's ideology can be classified as joongjung ideology, which pursuits moderation. With it, ancestors tried to overcome the desire for fame and riches," explains Park Kwon-hum, Chairman of The Tea Union.

▲ Photographed by Lee Yang-jung
  Presently, in Korea, many people preserve the traditional dado or a modified version of it. The Tea Union has contributed to the improvement of traditional dado since 1979, the year of its establishment. "We have been running The Korean Dado Institute from 1993 in order to foster the practitioners of dado. Through dado, we are trying to inherit the spirit of ancestors," says Park. At Yonsei University, a dongharee named Kwan-Sul-Cha-Hoe, established in 2000, is doing various events related to dado including workshops and demonstrations of dado, as well as tea time. Also Sookmyung Women's University Korean Food Institute offers courses for prospective modern dado professionals such as "Tea Therapists" and "Tea Consultants."

  "By learning dado, we can achieve mental maturity and stability. It teaches us that nothing should be either extravagant or lacking. This is the grand attraction of Korean dado," says Woo Jae-joon (Soph., Dept. of Computer Science), the president of Kwan-Sul-Cha-Hoe. As he says, Korean dado deserves to be preserved due to its beneficial instructions for the modern world on how to lead a composed and harmonious life. The most important aspects of dado are not in its process but in having a tranquil and balanced mental state. The overall appeal of tranquility in this chaotic modern world helps this ancient Eastern tradition maintain its relevance.

Recommended Traditional Tea

- Nok-cha
: It's usually called green tea. It? famous for anti-oxidants.

- Omija
: A tea mixed with Omija which is composed of five tastes. It? good for preventing amnesia.

- Oo-long
: Tea- similar to Silon-tea. It? helpful for reducing cholesterol and fat.

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