Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Way of Tea

I've been seeing lots of great Matcha recipes on food blogs these days. Matcha is a ingredient dear to my heart and it makes me happy to see that traditional Japanese powdered tea is becoming widely accepted around the world. I have been practicing Sado, or "the way of tea" for more than 13 years now. I've been lucky to have an amazing Sensei (teacher) that has taught me so much more than how to gracefully prepare a bowl of tea. People often ask me..."what exactly is tea ceremony? is it like a tea party? a drink with jam and bread?" Well, its a lot different than most people imagine. I compare tea ceremony to dancing. Lots of detailed, mapped out steps that flow gracefully. Just like there are many routines for dancing there are over 200 ways to boil water, mix tea, and serve guests depending on the day, the season of the year, the level of formality, the number of guests, etc... For me, tea ceremony is a form of meditation. Every Saturday I go to my tea ceremony lessons to relax, clear my mind, and focus on one thing: creating the perfect bowl of tea. Sen Rikyu (the man who devised tea ceremony over 500 years ago) created the tea ceremony principle and motto, "Wa, Kei, Sei, Jaku", which means:"Harmony, Respect, Purity, Tranquility."

HARMONY (Wa): In tea ceremony, one practices harmony between the host and the guest, all things in the world. RESPECT (Kei): One learns respect for traditions, the implements, and each other. PURITY (Sei): One gains purity both inward and outward.
TRANQUILITY (Jaku): One finds tranquility by living a life of harmony, respect and purity.
In a world full of chaos, the tiny tea room is my serene place of harmony, respect, purity, tranquility... plus the Japanese wagashi or sweets you get to eat in tea ceremony are the BEST.


Rosie said...

Beautiful, beautiful post and such an enjoyable read!!

Sylvie said...

That's really interesting. I'd love to go to a tea ceremony.

Jan said...

I would love to go to a tea ceremony too! Sounds good. Great post.

chou said...

Your pics look like posters I want on my wall. :)

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