Jun 16, 2011

The deep desire to learn -- Rikyu hyakushu

こころざし 深き 人には いくたびもあはれみ 深く 奥ぞ 教ふる
Kokorozashi fukaki hito niwa ikutabi mo awareme fukaku okuzo oshifuru.

To the student who has a deep desire to learn the secrets of chanoyu the teacher should spare no effort.
One should spare no effort in teaching those with a deep desire to learn.
You should many a time compassionately impart the inner teachings to one who has a deeply willing mind.

I'd like to comment on this from both the student's perspective as well as being a teacher.  When I was an intermediate student, I was so hungry for anything I could get my hands on in learning more about Chado.   And I must say that all of my teachers and all of my sempai have been more than generous to teach me what they know.   The world of chado is so vast, and so deep, that nobody can know all there is to know about it.  As students, we are attracted to certain aspects and not others.   But every single teacher, sempai and student have taught me about the way of tea.  They have taught me sometimes without knowing that I was learning.   Even when I was not a good student and not paying attention in class, sensei would still try to teach me over and over again.  I'd copy my sempai in the mizuya and try to pay attention when they were explaining things to other students.

As a teacher, when a student is hungry like that, it is a joy to teach them.   Sometimes a comment in class will motivate a student to seek even more knowledge, skill or technique.  When students ask me for extra help, I always try to give them extra attention. I love the way of tea so much, that I want to share as much as I can with others who want to learn.  It is even inspiring to me to have a student who is motivated to learn.  By passing on what I know, the next generation of students will be able to carry on the tradition that love.


  1. I've always really valued this in my pursuit of chanoyu (and, for that matter, Japanese martial traditions contemporary to tea ceremony). It does seem that so many who have found their way to instructing are very generous in their teaching, despite barriers of various kinds.

  2. John, Thank you for your comments. I feel very lucky in my teacher, and even luckier in my students, who are all dedicated and eager to learn, despite the pressures of daily life. I look forward to seeing more of your comments.