This is the method for making tea still used in chado. Mindfulness is essential to Zen practice. Along with zazen , a great many arts and ceremonial practices of Zen require complete attention.
What is it all about?
The folds in a monk's bowing cloth, the placement of oryoki bowls and chopsticks, the composition of a flower arrangement all follow precise forms. A wandering mind leads to mistakes in form. So it was with brewing and drinking tea. Over time, Zen monks incorporated tea into Zen practice, paying attention to every detail of its creation and consumption. What we now call the tea ceremony was created by a former Zen monk who became an adviser to the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa.
Murata Shuko c. He replaced ornately decorated porcelain with earthen bowls. Shuko's form of tea ceremony is called wabi-cha. Shuko began the tradition, still followed, of hanging a scroll of Zen calligraphy in a tea room. He may have been the first tea master to partition a large room into a small and intimate four-and-a-half tatami mat area, which remains the traditional size of a tea ceremony room.
He stipulated also that the door should be low, so that all who enter must bow. Of all the tea masters who came after Murata Shuko, Sen no Rikyu is the best remembered. Like Shuko, Rikyu left a Zen monastery to become the tea master of a powerful man, the warlord Oda Nobunaga. Ikkyu , leader of the Daitoku-ji temploe, taught the ritual to one of his disciples, Shuko. Shuko developed the ceremony and adapted it to Japanese taste. The ceremony began to be used in religious rituals in Zen Buddhist monasteries.
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By the thirteenth century, samurai warriors had begun preparing and drinking matcha in an effort to adopt Zen Buddhism. By the sixteenth century, tea drinking had spread to all levels of Japanese society. Tea was introduced from China by two founders of Zen Buddhist schools, Eisai end of twelfth century and Dogen beginning of the thireenth century. The ceremony of drinking tea gradually became identified with the Zen practice of cultivating the self.
During the Muromachi period fourteenth to sixteenth century , the drinking of tea became prevalent in Japan, and serving tea was used as a form of entertainment. A popular betting game involved identifying the source of different teas. Feudal lords collected luxury tea paraphernalia from China as a hobby, and held large tea ceremonies to display their treasures.
Murata Shuko , a Buddhist monk, condemned gambling or the drinking of sake rice wine during the tea ceremony.
He praised and valued the simplest and most humble tea-things. He established the foundation for wabi-cha by emphasizing the importance of spiritual communion among the participants of the tea ceremony. Shuko was the first to grasp the tea ceremony as a way of enhancing human life. Takeno Jo-o further developed wabi-cha , and initiated Sen no Rikyu in the new tradition.
These tea masters were mostly trained in Zen Buddhism. The Wabi tea ceremony is conducted in a tiny, rustic hut to symbolize simplification. The spirit of the art of tea consists of four qualities: harmony wa , reverence or respect kei , purity or cleanliness sei , and tranquility jaku. Jaku is sabi rust , but sabi means much more than tranquility. The atmosphere of the tea house and room creates an ambience of gentleness and harmonious light, sound, touch and fragrance.
As you pick up the tea bowl and touch it, you can feel gentleness, charm and peace. The best bowls are thrown by hand, and are mostly irregular and primitively shaped. The aim of practicing Zen Buddhist meditation is selflessness the Void. If there is no ego or self, the mind and heart is peace and harmony. The teaching of the tea ceremony promotes this kind of harmony, peace and gentleness. In the spirit of tea ceremony, respect and homage is a religious feeling. When the feeling of homage is directed back towards oneself, one can discover oneself as unworthy of respect and starts to repent.
Cleanliness is a distinctive feature of the tea ceremony. All the objects in the tea ceremony are neatly arranged in their places according to a certain order. Sen no Rikyu composed this poem:. Tranquility is the most important of the elements composing the spirit of the tea ceremony. Wabi and Sabi imply tranquility. When Murata Shuko explained the spirit of the tea ceremony, he quoted the following poem composed by a Chinese poet:. The image of one branch of a plum tree blooming in woods that are completely covered by deep snow evokes isolation, solitude and Wabi.
This is the essence of tranquility. The tea master lives in a simple hut and when some unexpected visitor comes, he prepares the tea and serves it, and arranges seasonal flowers chabana in a simple container. They enjoy quiet and amiable conversation and spend a peaceful afternoon.
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Through the performance of a simple the tea ceremony, the participants should learn these things. In the tea ceremony human relationships are important, so the tea master tries to deal with each guest as if it were a unique occasion. The term is particularly associated with the Japanese tea ceremony, and is often brushed onto scrolls that are hung in the tea room. In the context of tea ceremony, ichi-go ichi-e reminds the participants that each tea meeting is unique. Another school, named Edosenke , has no relation to the schools founded by the Sen family.
The Sansenke are simply known by their names for example, Urasenke. There are many of these schools, most of them quite small.
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By far the most active school today, both inside and outside Japan, is the Urasenke ; Omotesenke , though popular within Japan, is much less well-represented abroad. A full list of all available tea implements and supplies and their various styles and variations could fill a several hundred page book, and thousands of such volumes exist. The following is a brief list of the most essential components:. All the tools for tea ceremony are handled with exquisite care. They are scrupulously cleaned before and after each use and before storing.
Some components are handled only with gloved hands. Currently, the Urasenke School is the most active and has the largest following, particularly outside Japan. Within each school there are sub-schools and branches, and in each school there are seasonal and temporal variations in the method of preparing and enjoying the tea, and in the types and forms of utensils and tea used.
All the schools, and most of the variations, however, have facets in common: at its most basic, the tea ceremony involves the preparation and serving of tea to a guest or guests. The following description applies to both Omotesenke and Urasenke, though there may be slight differences depending on the school and type of ceremony. The host, male or female, wears a kimono , while guests may wear kimono or subdued formal wear. Tea ceremonies may take place outside in which case some kind of seating will usually be provided for guests or inside, either in a tea room or a tea house , but tea ceremonies can be performed nearly anywhere.
Generally speaking, the longer and more formal the ceremony, and the more important the guests, the more likely the ceremony will be performed indoors, on tatami. The smallest tea room can be a mere two mats, and the size of the largest is determined only by the limits of its owner's resources. Building materials and decorations are deliberately simple and rustic. If the tea is to be served in a separate tea house rather than a tea room, the guests will wait in a garden shelter until summoned by the host.
They ritually purify themselves by washing their hands and rinsing their mouths from a small stone basin of water, and proceed through a simple garden along a roji , or "dewy path," to the tea house. They will then return to the waiting shelter until summoned again by the host. If no meal is served, the host will proceed directly to the serving of a small sweet or sweets. Kaishi is tucked into the breast of the kimono. Each utensil—including the tea bowl chawan , whisk chasen , and tea scoop chashaku —is then ritually cleaned in the presence of the guests in a precise order and using prescribed motions.
The utensils are placed in an exact arrangement according to the ritual being performed. When the ritual cleaning and preparation of the utensils is complete, the host will place a measured amount of green tea powder in the bowl and add the appropriate amount of hot water, then whisk the tea using set movements. Conversation is kept to a minimum throughout. Guests relax and enjoy the atmosphere created by the sounds of the water and fire, the smell of the incense and tea, and the beauty and simplicity of the tea house and its seasonally appropriate decorations.
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The hosts who serve the guests seem to have great people skills and English skills as this place currently the top rated tea room in Kyoto. Chikage and Kabuto usually greet you at the entrance and make you feel very comfortable for the whole time you are in there. There are many exhibitions and artifacts in the facility that explain the connection between the zen philosophy and tea ceremony. The tea ceremony at Maikoya costs 2, yen without a kimono and 5, yen with a kimono and hairdo.
If the guests choose to wear a kimono, cultural aspects of kimono why kimonos are only 1-size, why kimonos have sleeves, etc. One of the things that sets Maikoya apart is, after the tea ceremony you can walk outside in kimono or get many pictures taken inside the facility which has many Kyoto related backgrounds. Maikoya accepts same day reservations, requests for PRIVATE sessions or walk ins but guests without online bookings may be asked to wait. The first sessions start at am and run every hour until 7 pm.
Group Size: Around 6 people. Address: Root-Kawaramachi blg. Camellia Flower is located near Ninenzaka, a famous district for the visitors of Kiyomizudera Temple. The traditional streets makes it good option as it give you the old Japan feeling but it may be difficult to find the place as it is located on a dead-end street.
Similar to other tea ceremony venues, there are friendly hosts who explain the meaning and culture of tea ceremony and let you make your own tea.