Oct 29, 2007

Opening and closing doors

There is a proper form to open and close the sliding shoji doors in a tea room. First one must sit down, then use the recessed finger pull to open the door about an inch. Then the hand closest to the door jamb slips into the opening about 18 inches from the floor and slides the door half way open. The other hand then pushes the door open until it lines up with the next sliding screen.

Bow at the door and slide across the threshold on your knees. Then turn to face the door and pull with the hand nearest the door and slide it half way closed. With the other hand pull the door closed until the hand touches the door jamb, and then reach up to use the finger pull to close the door completely.

This may seem like a big production to just open the door, come in and then close the door, but it is a skill to do it gracefully and quietly. It takes practice. Entering the tea room is not about making an entrance, it is about being respectful and restrained. It is also good training to learn the proper etiquette and spend the time to do it mindfully.

In any culture, we are judged by the little things we do. Things like entering and leaving a room. Chajin (tea people) are conscious of even the smallest detail, because it is often a reflection of our inner state. My sensei often said that she could tell what my mood was by just observing how I entered the room and took my first step. It is something to think about the next time you enter a room or close a door.

No comments:

Post a Comment