Aug 22, 2008

Assumed responsibility

One of the things taught by my sensei was if you see something that needs to be done you do it. No complaints, no bragging about it, no getting credit for it. It is your responsibility to do it and it is assumed you will take care of it. Also, if you don’t like the way that things are being done, it is up to you to work out a solution that is amenable to everybody.

An example of this is in the mizuya. There is usually a mizuya cho (person in charge). It is his or her designated responsibility to see that everything runs smoothly, that the correct utensils are put out for class, and that everything is cleaned and put way and all mizuya procedures are done properly. Everyone is responsible for cleaning up their own teabowl and utensils and refilling the tea container for the next person. At the end of class, everyone pitches in to clean up everything else.

Don’t wait for the cho to tell you what to do. If you are trained to do something, show someone else how to do it. If you are not trained, ask someone who knows how to do it to show you. Look to see what needs to be done and just do it. If someone didn’t clean up their bowl and refill the natsume, clean it up and refill it yourself. If all students assume the responsibility then it gets done quickly and things run much more smoothly.

This can also be extended to your life. When you see something that needs to be done, just assume it is your responsibility to do it. If you notice it, it becomes your responsibility to do it or fix it or find a solution amenable to everyone one (not just yourself).

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