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decoction ( 湯)

An infusion. A drink made by decocting (senshu 煎取) - literally, "obtaining by boiling" - fruits, seeds, herbs, or spices to extract the essence; usually considered medicinal or stimulating. Tea (cha, sa 茶) is a decoction, but one so common that it is called by its own name. At Buddhist monasteries in East Asia, tea and other decoctions are served and consumed by the living on various social and ceremonial occasions. Examples include a rice decoction (beitō 米湯), plum decoction (baitō 梅湯), and sweet decoction (mittō 蜜湯) or sugar decoction (satō tō 砂糖湯). Tea and other decoctions are also used as offerings of nourishment (kuyō 供養) made to various deities and spirits, in cups placed before the altars that hold their icons. The term fragrant decoction (kōtō 香湯) refers both to drinks served in cups to the living and to spirits, and to liquid used to bathe images as an act of worship. According to Keizan's Rules of Purity, the fragrant decoction used to bathe an image of the newborn Buddha should be made by decocting five kinds of wood: peach, plum, pine, oak, and willow. In ordinary Japanese, the word 湯 often refers simply to hot water, such as that used for bathing or washing dishes, but boiled water can also be served as a "decoction." The expression hot water (ontō 温湯) refers to the water used to clean bowls at the end of a meal in a monastery, but it can also be translated as "warm" (on 温) "decoction" ( 湯).