Apr 27, 2008

Time for reflection

There is a point in temae where you hold the water scoop in a certain position called “kokoro no kagami,” translated, that means mirror of the heart and there is a pause here in the procedure. As in many of the things about tea practice, it allows us to look at things is new ways.

Reflection can mean many things, including the return of light, heat, or sound, etc. after striking a surface; a fixing of the thoughts on something; or careful consideration; as well as a thought occurring in consideration or meditation.

And so the mirror of the heart can mean many things, too. It can mean the return of the heart between host and guest. I like this explanation in the context of chanoyu, the host and guest each reflecting their hearts to each other and sharing the experience as one.

But we can also take it another way as in careful consideration of the heart. To examine what is in your heart and what your intentions are. Tea practice can be a time of self examination of how you conduct yourself. By clearing away all the hidden agendas, the petty jealousies, the competitiveness, and the imagined hurts is one way that the host purifies himself so that by the time he is ready to make tea for the guest, there is only the pure intention of making a good bowl of tea. This is one of the principles of tea – purity.

Kokoro no kagami is seeing the true reflection from your heart, or even the true reflection of your heart could be like seeing into your own true nature. Since nobody else can see this, it is a time for honesty and reflection.

The kokoro no kagami also reminds us to polish the mirror by striving to improve ourselves through the cleansing of our intentions. The mirror shows us our true nature. Like housework, it is never done. You must continue to remove the dust of the world and be vigilant.

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