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Chado [The Japanese Way of Tea]

Apr.29.2015
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· CHADO & TEALEAVES ·

The confluence of tea and culture can be beautifully explored within Chado – the Japanese Way of Tea. Chanoyu exhibits the high art and technique of otemae (performance of Chado) and enshrines the influence of Zen Buddhism and tea appreciation.

Chado has a revered place in our evolution, reminding us of the importance of art within the craft of being a tea blender. At Tealeaves, we are guided by the four principles of the Japanese Tea Ceremony coded almost four hundred years ago: harmony, respect, purity and tranquility.

We are honored to have a long-standing friendship with the Urasenke Foundation, starting at the inception of our company in 1994. For years, the Tearoom reserved an honoured place for our three-tatami chasitsu room, which was designed by Keith Snyder and built by Master Craftsman Masa Negishi. In this space, we are privileged to have our teacher, Ayako Sakaino, teach us the wondrous beauty and grace that is Chado.

Understanding what a privilege it is to film this beautiful Chado ceremony, we gratefully thank our friends Kazue Kojima, June Yoriko Tanemura, and Yasuko Takahashi, who all practice the Japanese Way of Tea in Vancouver.

· PURITY HARMONY RESPECT & TRANQUILITY ·

By Keith Snyder of the Urasenke Foundation of Vancouver

The Way of Tea (Chado) developed in Japan out of a fusion of many elements: Zen, Chinese and Japanese aesthetics, Bushido (the Way of the Warrior), and the early of the beverage in temple and manor. The practice of tea is also known as Chanoyu.

Tea came to Japan in the 12th century by way of travelling Japanese monks. At first it was considered a medicine since it had the wonderful property of increasing the mental alertness of the imbiber. While it was used in temples as an offering and as a way for monks to remain alert during long periods of meditation, it was also served by the wealthy at large gatherings at which fine art works from the continent were displayed. In time, the tea utensils themselves came to be appreciated as objets d’art and tea was prepared before the guests according to prescribed rules.

By the 16th century, three dominating influences can be discerned: the Zen tradition of Ikkyu, the aesthetics of the so-called Higashiyama culture centred around the Ashikaga Shogunate, and the interest in tea of the merchant class. It can be said that these three elements came together in the tea of Sen Rikyu, who is regarded as the father of Chado as we know it today. To the outside observer, the movements of the participants engaged in tea activity look deceptively like an elaborate and arbitrary system of etiquette.

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Form is everything in tea, but form is not valued simply as an end in itself. Through the form one enters into a deeper understanding, which is not available by any intellectual process or verbal explanation. Learning Chado begins with a step-by-step process in which the body acquires the ability to act in the tea environment without superfluous mental calculation, and as in any sport, dance, or discipline, this means that it is learned by the body through repetition.

Though there are various levels of practice, increasing in complexity as the student advances, it is the elementary procedure first learned that is the most important, for it is with this basic procedure (hira-demae) that one makes and offers tea to others outside of the tea lesson. Not a ritual, not a ceremony, this is a pure act of the heart.

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Chado Room Vancouver | Master Craftsman Masa Negishi | Photographer Vicky Tang

· THE PRINCIPLES OF CHADO ·

Chado incorporates an array of sensibilities: social etiquette, Asian artistic traditions and philosophy, attention to the seasons, and the essence of Zen Buddhism. This construct allows one to achieve the four principles of the Japanese Tea Ceremony: harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.

The emotion derived from Chado is conceptual: your focus naturally flows into the present, where the uniqueness of each moment can be savoured. The host focuses entirely on serving a cup of tea; the guest, entirely on receiving tea with gratitude. In doing so, the host and guest foster a true sense of tranquility.

· CHADO – THE WAY OF TEA ·

Chado is based upon the simple act of boiling water, making tea, offering it to others, and drinking of it ourselves. Served with a respectful heart and received with gratitude, a bowl of tea satisfies both physical and spiritual thirst.

The frenzied world and our myriad dilemmas leave our bodies and minds exhausted. It is then that we seek out a place where we can have a moment of peace and tranquility. In the discipline of Chado such a place can be found.

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Tealeaves Folio | Chado
Tealeaves Folio | Chado

· THE DOCTRINE OF SEN RIKYU ·

By Soshitsu Sen, Urasenke Grand Tea Master XV

Tea is nothing other than this:
heat the water, prepare the tea, and drink it with propriety.
That is all you need to know.
Make a delicious bowl of tea; arrange the charcoal to heat the water;
arrange the flowers the way they are in the fields;
in summer suggest coolness, in the winter warmth;
anticipate everything; be ready for rain;
show the greatest possible consideration toward your guests.

· CHADO at TEALEAVES ·

We are honoured to have esteemed master, Mrs. Saikaino of the Urasenke Foundation, as our teacher.
For more information about Urasenke please refer to www.urasenke.org
For more information on Chado please contact:

The Urasenke Foundation of Vancouver
Mr. Keith Snyder
209 Jackson Street
Coquitlam, British Columbia
Canada V3K 4C1
Tel: 604-939-7749
Fax: 604-939-7128
krsnyder@shaw.ca


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