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Cha-Dao Book

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Introduction to the English Language edition of Cha-Dao -- from Tea to Tao


James and I took up the principal work on this translation in the Spring of 2008. In order to be qualified and energetically competent to effectively transmute many of the esoteric concepts presented in the work -- we, like the old tea friends, had to be initiated properly into the Way of Tea. Master Ho said we would have to share in the same experience as did The Way of Tea Research Society in their monumental 100 Sessions. He added a statement to this that I will never forget. He said that he had to 'kick in a few doors in our minds'. This was to prove by no means an exaggeration, and, looking back, an almost incomprehensible honour*. It was the only form of payment that we received for our work. And, once when asked by greatest living Chinese Calligrapher and associate of the Cha-Dao Society, Wu Ji Ru, why we did this -- we answered simply "for the glory". He was so impressed by this statement that he presented each of us with swords by the last great dragon sword master of China -- symbolically knighting us and putting us in company with Richard Nixon and Mao Ze Dong as recipients of these blades.

This work was by no means an easy undertaking. There were numerous fights between the translators, as well as with the Chinese Language editor Professor Ruaan of Taipei University. In the end the work was completed -- though it bears a few scars from the highly lettered editorial board for whom English was perhaps not their main area of expertise. Looking back these seem like mole hills that James and I turned into mountains; however it will likely be apparent to the reader at certain points where some sentences occur like koans out of the blue.

Of the initial run of 20,000 copies of this rainbow paged, lavishly printed, opus to the golden age of antique Pu-Erh tea in Taiwan, scant few made it outside Asia. The few that did I hand carried back and gave away to friends or to guests of tea symposia. This work was executed primarily so that tea society members in places such as Singapore, and Malaysia -- who spoke Mandarin but did not read Chinese (traditional) characters -- could access this ode to the timeless philosophy, culture and first hand accounts of drinking the best and rarest ancient teas available to humanity.

As with many great works of art, this book is highly idiosyncratic. It is not a course in the mechanics of tea brewing. It is a tome -- and in a sense a manifesto -- as to what is ultimately possible through the process of Tea meditation. It can be -- at its best -- a supra-sensory experience which not only approaches, but is truly a communion with the Divine -- with the Tao.

We encourage you to read this work with an open (heart) mind. In this way, wherever you may currently find yourself, you may in time partake of Tea's Elysian Spring for yourself.


*To even begin to attempt a recreation of the education in Antique to modern teas given by Master Ho, would require a minimum budget of 30 million dollars. Non inclusive of rare teas which are factually priceless such as 1838 車順 (of which only 4 specimen are known to exist) — at our graduation tea session upon presenting the manuscript.



Erick Smithe



Victoria B.C CAN

Written at an auspicious hour

Cha Dao Cover
Cha Dao Chapter Two
Cha Dao Chapter Three
Cha Dao Chapter Four
Cha Dao Book Chapter Five
Cha Dao Book Appendix

This book will be sold in six parts - each sold separately.

Section 1 is the Table of Contents and Chapter One)

Section 2 is the Second Chapter

Section 3 is the Third Chapter

Section 4 is the Fourth Chapter

Section 5 is the Fifth Chapter

Section 6 is the Appendix

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