Cha-do, the Japanese "Way of Tea", is neither ancient nor exotic, neither sacred nor profane.
In fact, it is extremely ordinary, orderly and essential.
In practice, it is "simply" making sure you have properly heated the water for the tea, literally cha-no-yu.
In its atmosphere of heightened awareness and hospitality, host and guest ultimately transpose roles and unite. It is this very give-and-receive dynamic exchange that makes the world a wonderful place.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
The study of chanoyu, literally in Japanese, hot water for tea, is a lifetime pursuit. This is why it is called the "Way" of tea, chado.
Do: The Way
It is most likened to studying a musical instrument: we learn how to touch, to tune, to hold, to repair, to listen to the sounds of our instrument. We do scales, etudes, explore the classic repertoire, play in ensemble, informally alone.
In short, we practice.
Likewise, in the study of chado, we learn how to hold utensils, how to build a fire to heat the water (and to select the water), how to handle the tea, how to walk in the tearoom, how to identify and combine utensils in pursuit of a seasonal poetic theme. We learn the history of the practice, about the crafting and provenance of utensils. We explore the tea room's architecture and our movement within it. We also enjoy preparing and eating appropriate meals and sweets that complement the experience. it is all done with full cognizance of the seasonal appropriateness.
It is a way of being with ... tea, each other, what is in the room and what is not.
We learn to be host and guest equally, so that we can have full appreciation of the totality experience.
We practice over and over. From one to ten and then again, one to ten.