Mar 29, 2008

Pointing the way

It is a funny thing that students think that the sensei has so much control of the students in what they teach them and how they teach them. But from the sensei’s side, the student has the ultimate control: they simply can stop coming to class, or find another teacher if they are not getting what they think they should be taught. Students choose their teachers, but teachers rarely get to choose students.

The student also has control of how they experience their own learning. For some students, the way of tea is harsh and demanding; for others, it is an endlessly fascinating puzzle with more and more intricate mazes and pathways. To a certain extent, your sensei will influence your study and so will your personality and interests. Some people are attracted by the rituals of tea, others the sweets. Still others come to tea to learn about kimono, gardening, or ceramics. Whatever it is that brings you to chado, welcome.

I have had the fortunate experience to have had wonderful sensei who were sometimes very hard and strict, and some who very enthusiastic and there were some who were extremely knowledgeable. My sensei taught me the basics of tea, and showed me the pathway to continue my own studies. Because ultimately, chado is a pathway that only you can travel. Everyone’s path is different and will experience the way of tea differently. Yet we are all striving to realize the four principles of tea: harmony, respect, purity and tranquility.

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