Introduction: Sometimes called the “tea ceremony” in English, this 500-year-old practice is more appropriately called “chanoyu” (hot water for tea) or chado (Way of Tea).
Aspects of Chado (Way of Tea): social, aesthetic, spiritual.
Purpose: to realize tranquility in communion with others within our world, including appreciation of nature and arts/crafts.
Principles: harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility, which can also be translated “enlightenment.”
Religions: Most associated with Zen, it has elements of Shinto, Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity. Some of its earliest and most famous practitioners were Christians.
Aesthetics: Read re: Japanese “wabi” and “sabi.” Pottery, painting, calligraphy, metal work, lacquer ware, woodworking, carving, basketry, weaving, architecture, gardening, flower arranging, food preparation, incense, poetry, etc.
Procedure: Guests enter and contemplate the scroll’s theme for the gathering, the season of the flowers, and the host’s preparations. Host and guests greet. Assistant serves a sweet. Host purifies utensils while considering purity of heart and prepares tea. Assistant serves it. Host cleans up, re-checking purity of heart. Host and guests thank each other. Guests exit, again pondering the theme, the season, the setting.
Benefits: Physically, many healthy antioxidants and a slow-onset, gentle, long-lasting stimulation of caffeine. Mentally and spiritually, the meditative preparing and receiving of tea can train awareness to be both one-pointed and global while flowing in the “here-and-now.” This can generalize to daily activities in application of the four ancient principles.
Sayonara Tea Gathering
Japan America Society of
Demonstration Volunteer at an Austin Library