Aug 9, 2008

Putting it into practice

Every week we go to okeiko to practice the procedures for making tea. Inside the tea room there are rules and etiquette to guide us in the proper behavior for both the guest and the host. It often seems archaic and stiff – too formal for today’s modern life. But what we are learning can be of help to us outside the tea room if we put it into practice in our everyday life.

One of the things we learn is kansha, when we lift the bowl of tea or tray of sweets in silent gratitude. During the day we can take a few seconds and acknowledge what we have in silent gratitude. Nobody has to know what you are doing.

When we say “Otemae chodai itashimasu” we are not just thanking the host for the tea. We are thanking him for the preparation beforehand and making of the tea as well as the person who ground the tea, grew the tea and packaged the tea. In fact, we are thanking everyone that made it possible for the tea we are about to drink.

In doing our work in the mizuya, everyone cleans their own utensils. And further, everyone helps to clean the mizuya and put things away in their proper place. In other words clean up your own mess and then help clean up the group mess.

People get a chance to practice leadership skills when they become the mizuya cho. As the head of the mizuya, you must know what needs to be done and be able to direct people to get it done and take all the responsibility if something is not done or not done right. As a mizuya worker, it is good to practice doing what needs to be done without the mizuya cho directing you. Just get it done with the least fuss. This is learning to work together. The sooner the chores are done the sooner the whole group gets to go home.

The very first words of the Kotoba or Creed are “We are striving to learn the essence of Chado and to put it into practice in our daily lives.”


  1. Hi Margie,

    I appreciate the sentiment of: “We are striving to learn the essence of Chado and to put it into practice in our daily lives.”

    While I do not study Tea, I think the underlying implications are the same as my own practice.

    Thank you for your elegant post.


  2. Jordan,

    Thank you for your comment. It is always good to hear from you.

    I try to convey to students and anyone who is interested that chado is not just some archaic traditional pastime we are playing at, but can be a deeper spiritual lifestyle that has relevance to daily life. I am interested how you think the underlying implications are the same in your practice.

    Take care,


  3. Margie,

    I could take what you have said, and replace the word Chado with Buddhism. How wonderful! Yes, I think that Buddhism is daily life, and indeed tea is daily life.

    Of course that is a great simplification, but for the moment I think it fits perfectly, and is much more artful, which I appreciate greatly. But for or a more scientific answer I have heard that the underlying implications of Buddhism are to stop the dualistic reflection of the human ego/consciousness and to see things as they are in the here and now. I see that emerging in how you express tea.

    Thank you for your practice.

  4. Ah Jordan, I am learning so much from you. Thank you for the explanation. I like your phrase to see things as they are in the here and now. We have only this moment and no other.

    “The moment is the moment, and you can never recapture it.”

    Thank you and try to stay cool.