Tea Ceremony Demonstrations
Some things come along to remind me how easy and comfortable my life really is. Yesterday, the house where I teach the furnace went out, as in it didn’t work. When I arrived in the afternoon to set up the mizuya and clean the tea room, it was about 40ºF (5ºC), a little above the outside temperature. I immediately turned on the thermostat to start the furnace as I usually do. No sound of it starting up and no heat.
I began to set up the mizuya, putting on the water to boil, and cleaned the tea room. That warmed me up a little, but still no heat. I closed the shoji doors to the tea room and started the little electric element in the ro. Still no heat. I put the kama on, filled the natsume and began to make sweets. Still no heat. I lit a candle in the tea room and hung the scroll, arranged the flowers and lit some incense.
By the time the first student arrived, it seemed to warm up a little from the boiling water and my moving around rather energetically. But still no heat. We did zazen for about 10 minutes and then began to set up for the lesson. By now it was obvious that there was not going to be heat for the evening lessons.
We proceeded with the day’s lessons and learned lessons on how to project through your spirit and personality how to suggest warmth. The guests sat closer together on the tatami and the host drew attention to the steam from the kettle rose that in such beautiful clouds, guests lingered over bowls of tea, stories were exchanged to take guests minds off the cold. The host offered extra bowls of tea or hot water. As the guests left the tea room, they remarked on how much warmer the tea room was from the hallway just outside.
From the seven rules of Rikyu – “In the summer suggest coolness, in the winter warmth.”
Noh is one of the oldest performance arts in the world, featuring rhythmic musicians, choral chanters and masked actors. Principal noh actor Shizuka Mikata will be joined by four exceptionally talented performers from the Kanze School to demonstrate this traditional art, including actor, Michiharu Wakebayashi, flute player Manabu Takeichi, kotsuzumi drummer Ichiro Kichisaka, and otsuzumi drummer Masaharu Kawamura.
Tuesday Februay 10, 7pm
Dolores Winningstad Theater
Contact Dr. Laurence Kominz, phone 503-725-5288, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday February 12, 7 pm
Stimson Auditorim Seattle Asian Art Museum
Contact SAM box office, to RSVP email email@example.com
Saturday February 14, 8 pm
University of Colorado, Denver
Kenneth King Academic & Performing Arts Center, Recital Hall
Contact lee Ann Weller, phone 303-556-2296, email: LeeAnn.Weller@ucdenver.edu
One of my sensei in Japan once said that Chado becomes the yardstick with which you measure your life. I didn’t know what he meant by that, and to be sure it is like the scrolls in the alcove – the meaning of the words are much deeper than the words appear on the surface.
Over the many years of study, Chado has changed my life. Every time I step into the tea room, I learn something new. As I learn more about the way of tea, the more I learn how I am in the world. The tea room is a microcosm of life and how I behave there often translate to how I behave outside the tea room. The form and etiquette of tea are often seen as empty gestures, yet some of the enforced politeness pays off as I unconsciously incorporated politeness, respect and thinking of others in my everyday life.
Before I started to study Chado, I had a very short attention span. Anything new or shiny took me off course and I had trouble finishing any project, job or chore. Even moment by moment, I had trouble staying on task. Eventually, I found myself focusing more and more until the job was done.
My years of cleaning and cleaning the tea room and mizuya have trained me to do the same thing in my home. I used to be such a slob. Now, I cannot cook in a kitchen until I have cleaned everything up. I never used to make my bed in the morning and now I do.
While some people see Chado as irrelevant and tradition bound, there are benefits that are applicable to everyday life. As my husband says, “After a while, studying tea goes beyond a hobby and becomes a lifestyle.”
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