Mar 26, 2008

There are no shortcuts

When I first began to learn about Chado, I thought I could become a tea master in ten lessons. But I found out in those first ten lessons just how much there was to the ceremony, not just making tea. I still did not understand what a lifetime of study meant, but it was intriguing enough for me to continue.

My sensei drilled into all of our heads that in tea, there are no shortcuts. We thought that what she said pertained to the temae (tea procedures) that we were studying. There are no shortcuts in tea procedures because through 400 years of refinement, the moves have been honed to the best and most efficient and most graceful way of making powdered matcha tea. If you shortcut one part of the procedure, often you will come to a place that you cannot move forward without backtracking, kind of like knowing the way into and out of the maze. I have learned to follow the exact procedures because I have gotten myself stuck and didn’t know how I could get myself out of it again. And each more advanced procedure is based on the one preceding it, so you cannot skip up to a higher level because you will not have learned something essential to the next procedure if you haven’t mastered it in the previous level.

And like sensei says, there are no shortcuts in many other parts of my life. Often we think we can take a class and attain skills and mastery in “tea ceremony in ten easy lessons” or learn everything we need to know by watching the video “tea mastery in a day.”

Want to get into shape? There are no shortcuts in exercise. Want more patience? To be a better parent? Have a loving relationship? There are no shortcuts here either. In fact, to acquire or strive for something of lasting value, one must do the work and learn it from the beginning.


  1. Margie-sensei, I read your blog from the very beginning of it.. First I foud it on
    I love the way you explain things.
    Thank you! ♥

  2. temae,
    Thank you for reading the blog. I hope you are finding it helpful. Please stop by again and comment.