Feb 5, 2008

The wind in the pines

Matsu kaze is a beloved phrase of chanoyu and one of my favorites. In a poem by Sen Sotan, Urasenke third generation tea master, he wrote, “If asked the nature of chanoyu, say it is the sound of windblown pines in a black and white painting.” The pine symbolizes steadfastness because it doesn’t change color like other trees in the autumn. The wind symbolizes the ephemeral nature of life.

In the tea room, as the kettle begins to boil, it sings different tunes. You know that the temperature of the water is just right to make tea when you hear the sound of the the wind in the pines coming from the kettle.

This suggests the depth of the study of Chanoyu. All of the senses are engaged in a tea ceremony. It is not just a visual feast, the sound of the water, the smell of the incense, the taste of the sweets and tea, the roughness of the teabowl all come together in a kind of super experience that rarely happens today.

The phrase matsu kaze reminds me to become fully engaged with all of my senses for a fuller experience of life.

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