Sep 6, 2007

Think of others

The thought of the host is the the thought of the guest. The thought of the guest is the thought of the host.

As part of the creed, these are words that we have repeated over and over before and after keiko. Thinking of others, putting oneself in the other’s place is what creates the chanoyu experience. For the host’s part, giving those with whom you find yourself every consideration. For the guest’s part, giving those with whom you find yourself every consideration goes as well.

When I first began chado, my sensei would not let me make tea for months. I thought that was what tea was all about. I wanted to make tea, put on tea parties and serve tea. But I first had to learn the guest part. The guests have designated roles in the tea ceremony. One needs to learn how to be a good guest. Then when one learns to be a good host, he can put himself in the guest’s place and anticipate what needs to be done.

Recently, I gave a tea gathering for a few of my tea friends. These were experienced tea people and knew how to be good guests. It was such an incredible experience because guests anticipated the host and I anticipated the guests. By thinking of each other we, together, created an unforgettable experience. Things flowed and time stood still for us. And too soon it was coming to an end. We had been in a small room for 4 hours and there was never a moment that was awkward or uncomfortable. I would say that because of this our spirits touched and it was very moving.

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