May 5, 2010

Okeiko guidelines

As we change to the furo season it is always good to be reminded of okeiko guidelines.  Yes, I do remember going over these when I first started tea class, but  here they are again:

For every class:
  • Remove shoes and put on white socks. Put your shoes away neatly in the shoe cupboard or line them up under the shoe bench.
  • Store your bags and other things in the place provided.
  • Use tsukubai or wash hands first. Bring your own handkerchief to wipe your hands.
  • Always bring your fukusabasami with fukusa, fan, and kaishi.
  • When entering the tea room, enter on your knees unless carrying something.
  • Always look at the scroll and the flower arrangement when entering the tea room for the first time.
  • Sit quietly until the sensei enters the room.
  • All classes start and end with aisatsu

During class time:
  • Always clean up after yourself. Wash your bowl, chakin, whisk, and put away. Help with clean up after class and to do the mizuya work, unless the mizuya cho dismisses you.
  • The mizuya cho is in charge of the mizuya. You will follow instructions without argument. If there is a dispute, call a meeting with the cho after class.
  • Watch senior students and learn from them; from temae to tea room behavior to clean up chores. If you don’t know how to do something, ASK.
  • Never pass any tea utensils hand to hand. Put it down in front of the other person and let them pick it up.
  • Don’t take notes in the tea room. Wait until after you leave the room to write anything down. Train your mind to remember.
  • Wait until an appropriate time to ask questions. Distracting the teacher takes away from fellow students teaching and you would want the sensei’s attention on you for your lesson.
  • No teaching commentary from the side. There is only one teacher in the room. Respect the sensei to teach what is necessary.
  • Sitting seiza can be painful. Ask for a cushion, or stool. Changing position is helpful, but don’t make a production of it. Don’t get up and walk if your feet are numb.
  • Try not to call too much attention to yourself in the tea room. The sensei notices everything.
  • Working together is necessary for tea to work. Cooperation is valued.
  • Read, research, look things up on your own. There is the library and books and the internet. You are in charge of your learning and it is not up to the teacher to make sure you progress.
  • Everyone is your teacher. You can learn something from everybody.

Training in chado is hard and we must study and train diligently.  It is also a good reminder for me.

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