Sep 13, 2007

No trivial acts

There is a saying in tea that everything is important and nothing really matters. It is one of those tea koans. In Chado, everything is important. That means everything requires our awareness and attention. Nothing is trivial. Every movement is deliberate, everything is thought about ahead of time. Nothing is below you, no matter how advanced you get. Cleaning the toilet is exclusively the host’s job, he can’t palm it off to someone else because it is important.

Some people would call this mindfulness. When folding your fukusa after your lesson, pay attention to what you are doing. Don’t just throw down you fukusa (purification cloth) in the kitchen. Sit down and fold it properly, then go out and say goodbye to your guests. When picking up and putting down utensils, use two hands. Sit down first, then open the door.

This doesn’t mean that every move is made as if it was filled with portentous significance. Nothing really matters. It just means that you are aware and are paying attention to what you are doing. Even if you are making a mistake, do it with awareness and attention.

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