Tuesday, March 1, 2011

陸羽鑑水 / Lu Yu Identifies Water


China is the homeland of tea. Today when we talk about tea, we can not overlook the important and famous figure, Lu Yu, who earned his glory in the history of tea.

中國是茶葉的故鄉, 說到茶,不可不談的就是在茶史上大放異彩的陸羽。

Lu Yu, literary name Hong Jian, was born in Jing Ling during the Tang Dynasty. He mastered the art of tea brewing and tea tasting, and devoted his lifetime writing the masterpiece–Classic of Tea, the world’s first comprehensive treatise on tea. Lu Yu was respected in history as a “Tea Sage”.


Lu Yu was very specific on picking the right water for tea tasting. He defined three stages for boiling water: first boiling, second boiling and third boiling. He believed water at first boiling and third boiling stages are not fit for making tea. The second boiling water is the best choice, when the bubbles in the water popping like pearls and jade, for making tea. There was a story written in "Jian Cha Shui Ji" about Lu Yu’s identification of water quality, and showed us the Tea Sage’s magic “Tao of tea tasting”.

陸羽取水品茶非常講究,他將烹茶煮水分為一沸、二沸、三沸三個階段。認為一沸、三沸之水不可取,二沸之水最佳,即是當鍋邊緣像珠玉在水中跳動時取用最好。"煎茶水記" 中記載「陸羽鑒水」的故事,可見茶聖神奇的「品茶之道」。

During the realm of Emperor Tang Daizong, the Imperial Envoy of Huzhou, Li Jiqing, visited WeiYang, and happened to meet Lu Yu. Hearing of Lu Yu’s mastery on tao and art of tea, he invited Lu Yu for a cup of tea.

Li Jiqing told Lu Yu: “You are a well-known tea master, and Nanling spring water from Yangzi River is also peerless. Now famous tea master meet famous spring water, it is a rare moment, and this great chance should never be missed. Could you satisfy us with the great tea you make?”

He ordered soldiers to draw Nanling water from the river. Meanwhile Lu Yu readied his tea sets and waited.

唐代宗年間,湖州刺史李季卿至維揚,正巧遇見陸羽。李季卿久聞陸羽精通茶藝茶道,便邀請陸羽一同品茗。李季卿說:「先生善於烹茶,天下馳名,而揚子江南零 水也 是絕品,如今名茶人逢名泉水,二妙千載一遇,實在機不可失,請你煮茶以饗我等人口福。」遂命兵士駕船到江中去汲取南零水。陸羽備好茶具等候著。

Soon, soldiers came back with Nanling water. Lu Yu splashed water with his wooden scoop, and said: “Water did come from Yangzi River, but not from the Nanling Spring in the middle of the river. It seems like it is from the side of the river.” The soldier who drew the water argued: “I sailed to the middle of the river, drew the water there, and everyone saw it, how can I fake it?”

Lu Yu said nothing, poured the water into the water bowl, emptied half of it, then splashed water with the wooden scoop again, and said: “Now that’s the real Nanling water.” The solider was so shocked, he confessed: “On my way back, rapid water stumbled the boat, and half of the spring water were gone. I was afraid the water I bring back is not enough, so I drew water from the side of the river. Sir, you are so good at finding out truth, I will never lie to you.”

不久,南零水取到。陸羽用木杓揚水後說:「水是揚子江水沒錯,但 不是揚子江心的南零水,好像是江邊的水。」取水的軍士辯說:「我駕船深入江心取水,是大家有目共睹的,豈有虛假?」 陸羽不答,將所取之水倒入水方中,倒去一半,再用杓在揚水後說:「這才是南零之水。」 兵士聽後大驚失色,認罪說:「我從南 零江心取水回岸時,水勢急湍,船振盪太過,瓶中水倒了一半,怕水太少,取岸邊 水增補,處士實在是神鑑,小人不敢說謊了。」

Li Jiqing and his companies were astonished by Lu Yu’s magic skill of identifying water. Li Jiqing asked Lu Yu: “Could you tell me, from all the water you have tested, which one is the best, and which one is the worst?” Lu Yu said: “Chu water is No. 1, and Jin water is the worst.” Li Jiqing ordered his subordinates to write it down.

李季卿與隨從都驚嘆於陸羽鑒水之神奇,李季卿便向陸羽討教說:「先生所經歷過的水,哪些好哪些不好呢?」 陸羽回答說:「楚水第一,晉水最下。」 李季卿忙命部下用筆記錄下來。

Henceforth, “Lu Yu identifies water” became a famous story, which added an interesting anecdote in the legendary life of Lu Yu, the Tea Sage.


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