Aug 21, 2008

The tsukubai

"Guest and host both joined as one, share a bowl of tea. In tranquil meditation, no margin divides their hearts. The tea garden is a way apart from this bustling world and its many cares. Why not sweep away the dust from within our hearts?"

As part of the tranquility of the tea ceremony, one must leave behind the world and prepare oneself for the tea room. The host has cleaned and prepared everything, and now the guests must prepare themselves. Before entering the tea room, guests make their way through the garden and wait at the covered bench called the koshikake machiai. Sitting here in the garden, one can hear nature and begin to remove oneself from the cares of the world.

The host will signal the guests to enter the tea room by bringing a bucket of clean water and watering the plants around the tsukubai. Then she will rinse her hands and mouth at the tsukubai, and refill it with the bucket of water. After returning the bucket to the crawling in entrance (nijiriguchi), she will come to the middle gate, open it and bow silently. Then she will enter the tea room by the nijiriguchi and leave the door ajar.

One by one the guests will go to the tsukubai to rinse their hands and mouth. First squat down in front of the basin to dip a scoop full of water and rinse the left hand, then the right hand. Take another scoop and pour some water into your left hand and rinse your mouth. The scoop is tilted upright to let the water run over the handle to purify the handle for the next guest. The scoop is returned to the tsukubai and the guest wipes his hands on his own handkerchief. Thus purified, the guest may now enter the tea room.

NEW! Introduction to Japanese Tea Ceremony
Harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. These are the four principles of tea ceremony distilled from Japanese culture. In this ten week class, students will be introduced to Chado, the way of tea. The arts of Japan will be examined through the ritual preparation and drinking of matcha, Japanese ceremonial tea. An overview of Japanese aesthetics found in gardening, architecture, art and literature and how Tea Ceremony has influenced Japanese culture will be presented. Also covered are tea ceramics, calligraphy, kimono dressing, and participate in an incense ceremony. We will also learn zazen meditation and discuss how to put tea practice into every day life.

When: Thursdays 7:00-8:30 Starting September 4, for 10 weeks
Fee: $250 most materials, tea and sweets furnished. Others available for purchase at class.
Where: Classes will take place in an authentic Japanese tea room located at Ryokusuido Tea House, 3826 NE Glisan St. Portland, OR 97232.
How to register: Call Margie 503-645-7058 for registration or email margie at issoantea dot com.

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