Nov 30, 2008

Do Gaku Jitsu revisited

In a previous post I explained the three guidelines for the study of chado - Do, the way; Gaku, the knowledge; and Jitsu, the practice.

Jitsu – the practice of chado. We get plenty of practice of temae, the procedure for making tea in class, but remember that the practice of tea is not just the practice of procedures. It also means to put into practice what we learn in our study into our everyday life. When we learn to work together in harmony in the mizuya we can take that practice and use it to foster the same team work in the business world, or in your family or in social situations. We train in the tea room to think of others and how we affect others rather than how others affect us. How can you put into practice what you learn in tea class?

Gaku – the knowledge of tea. This is a vast and deep subject. It includes everything pertaining Japanese culture, from drama, literature, and seasonal festivals, to etiquette, conversational idioms, and dressing yourself in kimono. It also is the study of the cultural arts: ceramics, flowers, calligraphy, fabric, architecture, gardening, woodworking, lacquer ware, basket making, metal work. Not to mention Japanese history and of course the study of Zen. Any one of these subjects could be lifetime study. What subjects are you studying?

Do – the way of tea is a hardest to define. It comes from study of knowledge and training. But also it comes from your heart. To have tea heart is unadorned. It is knowing what is appropriate in every situation. It is to apologize immediately for any mistake rather than defend it. It is to remain calm and unruffled when there is chaos around you. It is believing in the best while preparing for the worst. It is learning from the lessons of life and applying those lessons to make the world a better place. It is a pragmatic approach to life yet aspirational to be the best of ourselves. What is your path?

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