It is said that “Tea Ceremony” was brought to Japan from China. During Kamakura period, there is a Buddhism priest named “Eisai” learned Zen Buddhism in China. After he came back to Japan, founded Kennin-ji Temple in Kyoto, and has contributed to spread the Rinzai sect. The other thing Eisai brought back from China was the seeds of “tea.” Eisai encouraged people to plant “tea,” and told everyone about the benefits of drinking tea. Still now, as one of religious austerities in Zen Buddhism, there is a daily but important ceremony named “茶礼(cha rei),” which is a gathering of priests’ having tea together and regaining peace of mind and harmony with others. As Zen Buddhism has been introduced all over Japan, “Tea Ceremony” has been broadly spread as well. Currently, “Tea Ceremony” has already become the symbol of Japanese culture, especially many of foreign Japanophile want to come to Japan and experience it at least once in their lifetime, and try to understand the essence of Japanese spirit.
What is “Tea Ceremony”?
Speaking of “Tea Ceremony,” many people might feel there are lots of tools should be prepared, such as “茶筅(cha sen, meaning tea whisk),” “茶器(cha ki, meaning tea cup),” “釜(kama, meaning kettle),” “茶巾(cha kin, meaning napkin),” “帛紗(fuku sa, meaning paper napkin),” and so on. In addition to preparing these tools, a certain proper behavior at a tea ceremony should be learned, and this complicated protocol makes us feel troublesome. However, “Tea Ceremony,” simply speaking, is one of traditional Japanese culture, a host invites several guests to a small room named “茶室(cha sitsu)” and serves tea, and at the same time guests appreciate the beauty of the four seasons, looking over the garden.
Let’s experience the beauty of “Tea Ceremony” from the link below.
Next, what do you think about the cultural value or the effects of “Tea Ceremony”?
Tea Ceremony” cultivates a person
While you are served tea, it is more important to think about the reason why you must take this action, not to just remember each process of action. If you do so, you might be able to learn the hospitality of the Japanese throughout the ceremony. In order to enjoy “Tea Ceremony,” there is “作法 (sa hou, meaning protocol),” some manners you had better know, such as お点前(o te mae, meaning how to make a tea), how to drink, how to sit, how to express one’s gratitude, how to rise, and how to walk. While doing each process has a certain manner you had better follow. We will learn this protocol, and at the same time learn the concept of respecting others (guests) and cherishing the items (tea ceremony tools). For example, “bow” has the meaning of gratitude. By differentiating our ways of thinking, it will affect our behaviors or the choice of words. “Tea Ceremony” is the way of having tea, but it can be said as the way of learning or the way of life, and we will continue learning throughout our entire life.
Consideration to others
At tea ceremony, there is one word, “和敬清寂 (wa kei sei jyaku),” which reminds us of the state of mind.
“和 (wa, meaning peace and harmony)”
This word suggests us to open our hearts and keep harmony with others.
“敬(kei, meaning respect)”
This word suggests us to respect each other.
“清(sei, meaning cleanness)”
This word suggests us to keep tea ceremony tools or tea room clean.
“寂(jyaku, meaning calmness)”
This word suggests us to calm down and relax.
The concept of each word above, combines together, and tells us the message that we must open our heart, respect others, and have good influence on each other.