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和敬清寂 The Way of Tea

May 29, 2019


Feeling the spirit of Chado after the tea ceremony by Reiko Goto. 五藤 禮子は、裏千家茶道家。養和会 塩月弥栄子の茶室主宰. Shin Ikesue introduced Cheena Murphy-Shigematsu and I to Reiko and her son Yasuhiro Sosei Ajioka who provided excellent explanation of the intricacies and philosophy embedded in the experience.


The scroll expresses the spirit of Chado as 和敬清寂. Wa, Kei, Sei, Jaku means Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility. 


和 The Harmony that should exist in human relations and between humans and nature


敬 Respect is paid to all things and comes from sincere feelings of gratitude for their being


清 Purity implies both worldly and spiritual cleanliness


寂 Tranquility is a state of spiritual peace


I invite tea masters to teach in my classes and also use the metaphor of the tearoom in my teaching, asking students to enter the classroom with the same spirit. Samurai were also required to leave their swords outside and bow their heads when they entered the space, thereby showing vulnerability and humility. The ceremony is also imbued with a sense of ichi-go, ichi-e, treasuring it as a once-in-a-lifetime moment. In Japan, the simple preparation and drinking of tea, in the form of Matcha, became the profound spiritual and aesthetic discipline that has had a pervasive impact on Japanese civilization. 


In the photo we three guests all have peaceful smiles and our legs are slowly getting used to the seiza sitting.


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