Complete Japanese Tea Ceremony

topic posted Sun, August 20, 2006 - 12:53 PM by  Anaka
Complete Japanese Tea Ceremony
Table of Contents
• Introductions
• Japanese Culture
• Spiritual Aspect
• Hanging Scoll (Kakemono)
• Guest-Steps
• Host-Steps (Thin Tea)

Tea Ceremony is known as one of Japanese cultural traditions. Although SEN Rikyu, who established the foundation of so called tea ceremony, mentioned that Cha-no-yu, Chado, or tea ceremony was only making and drinking tea, many people have been attracted by the ceremony. In a tea gathering or a tea party, a host and a guest can share a sense of togetherness in a small tea house. A host and a guest are not usually expected to talk physically but spiritually, while in an English-styled tea party, people are expected to talk each other physically.
In the eighth century, the custom of drinking green tea was brought from China to Japan by a monk. As a result, the custom of drinking tea in Japan was popular among mainly monks at that time. In the twelfth century, Eizai, a Japanese monk, presented tea to MINAMOTO Sanetomo, a general, the custom spread to the samurai class. Then, the custom became popular among citizens in the fourteenth century. At that time, MURATA Shuko was spiritually awakened by Zen, and he found the Buddha's thought in the way of making and drinking tea. That is, any book didn't have the Buddha's thought but life including making and drinking tea had. TAKENO Jouo developed Shuko's idea, and SEN Rikyu finally established the foundation of Chado, or tea ceremony in the sixteenth century.
The basic idea of Chado, or tea ceremony, which Rikyu mentioned about, is expressed by four Chinese characters, WA, KEI, SEI, and JAKU. WA means harmony, KEI means respect, SEI means purity, and JAKU means tranquillity. Harmony can be formed among all matters in the world such as people, flowers, tea bowls, and so on. In fact, in a tea gathering, people talk to each other and to every piece of equipment a host uses in silence to form harmony in a tea room. People must respect all matters without their status; that is, people must not discriminate. For example, people use a crawl-through doorway to enter a tea room, so even a person who has a high social status has to lower his or her head to enter in although he usually lower his head. Purifying spirits is very important since the ideal spirit of the ceremony is a sort of religious mind. Then, after people can get the three ideas, harmony, respect, and purity, people can finally embody tranquillity. Rikyu thought that we could reach tranquillity in the mind after we achieved harmony, respect, and purity.
Some people say that tea ceremony is a performance after they see a presentation of the ceremony; however, so called tea ceremony is not a performance, nor a ceremony. In fact, SEN Soshitsu XV, the fifteenth-generation blood descendant of SEN Rikyu, now calls it the Way of Tea in English, not tea ceremony anymore. Walking the way of tea is not easy because the way of tea is life which people seek to tranquillity through harmony, respect, and purity.
Sen, S. XV (1984). Urasenke: Guide for the Way of Tea. Japan: Shufu no Tomo Sha.
Kuwata, T. (1979). History of Chado. Japan: Kodan-Sha.
The Editorial Office, Tanko-Sha (Eds.). (1993). English for Use in "The Way of Tea". Japan:
Chado is considered to include almost all aspects of Japanese culture. For example, Chado includes flower arrangement, ceramic, calligraphy, and so on; moreover, it includes not only abstract aspect of culture but also non-abstract ones. According to Hisamatsu Shinichi, Chado is an incarnation of Buddhism. It could be true; however, it is not all. Since Japanese has been also influenced by Taoism, Confucianism, etc, Chado has been influenced by not only Buddhism but also others. Furthermore, someone says that Christianity has affected Chado, too.
The Spiritual Aspect
In chado, the spiritual aspect is most important.
The basic principles of chado are expressed in the words harmony, respect, purity, and tranquillity. Harmony can be created between persons, between objects, between a person and an object... among all matters of the world. In chado, we should respect everyone and everything without distinction of status or rank. In chado, spiritual purity is essential. We can embody tranquillity only when we make harmony, respect and purity our own. By learning chado, we seek to obtain an ultimate peace of mind. The Grand Tea Master (Sen Soushitsu XV)teaches the thought of
" Peacefulness through a Bowl of Tea."
Chado is also deeply influenced by Zen thought. In a sense, the ideal spirit of chado is a kind of religious mind. The essence of chado can be understood as the guiding principle for life for each person. The spirit of chado is universal.
ATTENTION!!! This article is from:
English for Use in "THE WAY OF TEA" Copyright ・1993 by Tankou-sha, Japan
Hanging Scroll (kakemono)
A Hanging Scroll, or kakemono is one of the most important equipment in a tea room because it symbolizes the spiritual aspect of the ceremony; a host decides which kakemon he chooses in order to symbolize his purpose for a particular ceremony to guests.
• WA-KEI-SEI-JAKU: It is said that this word shows the basic idea of chado. "Wa" means harmony. "Kei" means respect. "Sei" means purity. "Jaku" means tranquillity. We can finally reach "jaku" through "wa", "kei" , and "sei."
• ICHI-GO-ICHI-E: Meet once. People can have only one particular tea party (or an event in life) even though the same people will meet again. So, one moment is very important, and meeting people is so solemn.
• EN: Freedom, Equality, and Indiscrimination
• MU: MU is not EN. MU consists of all objects and ideas in the world such as Yes, No, Zero, and One even though they seems to be opposite.
• SHU-JIN-KOU: True oneself
• KITSU-SA-KO: It is saying that a bowl of tea is served to everyone whoever wants.

Actual Steps --- Guest
Entering the tearoom

Sit down in front of fusuma (sliding door).
Place your sensu (folding fan) in front of you.
Open the fusuma.
Place your hands on the tatami (tatami mat).
Look into the tearoom.
Move the sensu forward.
Edge, while seated, into the tearoom.
Viewing utensils in the tearoom

Take the sensu with your right hand.
Stand from your right foot.
Walk to the tokonoma (alcove), and sit down.
Place the sensu in front of you.
Make a formal bow.
View the scroll, and then the flowers and the flower container Again, make a formal bow.
Stand form your left foot.
Crossing the kayoi-datami and then the ro-datami, walk to the dogu-tatami. (Walk on specific tatamis.)
Cross the tatami edging with your right (left) foot.
Be careful not to step on the tatami edging.
Sit in front of the kama (kettle).
Taking the sweet (the case of using a kashiki, or a container for sweets)

The host asks you to take the sweet. "Please take the sweet."
Respond to the host's request and make a bow. "I will partake of the sweet."
Make a bow to the next guest. "Excuse me for going before you."
Take the the kashiki (container for sweets) with your both hands.
Raise the kashiki slightly to express thanks.
Put the kashiki back down.
Place your kaishi (packet of paper) in front of you.
Place the folded edge towards you.
With your right hand, first take the far dry sweet.
Place it on the kaishi.
Next, take the near dry sweet.
Pass the kashibachi to the next guest.
Partake of them.
Drinking usucha, or thin tea (the case of the second guest)

The host puts out the tea.
Stand form your right foot.
Cross the tatami edging with the right foot.
Sit down, and take the chawan (teabowl).
Stand from your left foot.
Turn, and cross the tatami edging with your left foot.
Return to your seat and sit down.
Place the chawan between you and the main guest inside the tatami edging.
Bow and say, "I will join you."
Place the chawan between you and the next guest.
Bow and say "Excuse me for going before you."
Place the chawan in front of you inside the tatami edging.
Bow and say, "Thank you for the tea" to the host.
Take the chawan with your right hand.
Place the chawan on your left palm.
Steady the chawan with your right hand.
Bow your head slightly to express thanks.
Turn the chawan clockwise twice in order to avoid its front.
Drink the tea to the last tip.
Wipe the place where you drank from with your right thumb and index finger.
Wipe your fingers on your kaishi.
Turn the chawan back so that the front faces you.
Place the chawan in front of you outside the tatami edging.
Viewing the chawan.

Place your palms on the tatami.
Take a closer view of the chawan.
Pick it up with both your hands.
Rest your elbows on your knees. (not to pick the chawan up high)
Take a closer view of the chawan again.
Returning the chawan (when there is a host's assistant)

Turn the front toward the host's assistant.
The host's assistant comes to take the chawan.
You both bow.
ATTENTION!!! These sentences are from:
English for Use in "THE WAY OF TEA" Copyright 1993 by Tankou-sha, Japan

The rule of Making Usucha (thin tea)---Basic Idea
Serve the sweets.
Bow to the guest.

Prepare in the tearoom

Place the tools (the chawan-teabowl, the chasen-tea whisker, the chashaku-teascoop, the natsume-container of grained tea powder, etc.)
Purify the tools such as the natsume, and the chashaku with the fukusa (silk cloth).
Check the chasen. First, pour the hot water into the chawan. Then, put the chasen into the chawan, and raise the chasen in order to check the tines.
Rinse the chasen.
Wipe the chawan with the chakin (linen cloth).
"Please take the sweets."

Making Tea

Scoop the powdered green tea from the natsume.
Put the powdered green tea into the chawan.
Whisk the thin tea.
Turn the chawan clockwise twice with your right hand to show the front to the guests.
Serve the tea.
Clean Up

Pour the hot water into the chawan, and discard the water into the kensui (waste-water receptacle).
Clean the chasen above the chawan pouring the hot water, and rinse the chasen in the chawan. Discard the water into the kensui again.
Clean the chashaku with the fukusa.
Place the tools again.
Return to the entrance with the tools.
Bow to the guests.
posted by:
San Antonio
  • Unsu...

    Re: Complete Japanese Tea Ceremony

    Wed, August 23, 2006 - 5:03 PM
    Thank you! I studied the tea ceremony long ago, and recently decided to look into it again. I hadn't even had time to do the research, and here it is. Wonderful!

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