Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

When arranging flowers…

The way that leaders always ought to be

KOBORI Sojitsu (the 13th Grand Master of the Enshu Sado School )

In early summer, the greenery in the roji garden can be so bright, as if to have a cleansing effect on our mind and body. When one looks down, the green colour of the moss on the ground gives a similar feeling. When the wind blows at this moment there is an indescribable aroma of summer. This feeling is something we want to treasure wherever we are and all times.

Recently, there has been more and more interest in the flowers used during tea ceremony. My late father was reknowned for his ability in this area. Having watched my father arrange flowers from beside him, I learned that there was nothing technical nor artistic about what he did. While my father was an able calligrapher and was a sensitive man in many respects, when he was arranging flowers, it seemed that what was important was not focusing on how to best arrange the flowers, but rather the extent to which he was able to fully give himself in to the flowers.

And thus, I always think as follows. Other than the tea server and the guest, the flowers are the only form of life present during a tea ceremony. As we are responsible for the life of these flowers, we must then arrange them with a great feeling of gratitude for nature.

I believe these feelings of submitting oneself and being responsible for life is of extreme importance to mankind. They are antithetical to the feelings greed, such as obsession and lingering, that man has.

I think it is from these feelings that graciousness comes into being. It is this graciousness that I pay the most attention to when dealing with flowers. There is something pure, fresh and distinct about the feeling. And I believe this is what leads to ‘kireisabi’. Although this entry has been about flowers, I think it is relevant to how we want to live our lives.

April 24th was the anniversary of the late Honshin Shukei’s death. Two days earlier, we held a Buddhist memorial service and tea ceremony at Kotokuji temple. Family members and representatives of Enshuryu from around the country attended.

In the late evening of the same day, Tanosuke Toda, a major player in the art dealing world in Osaka, passed away. Speaking of the late Mr Toda, he and my father and Seizou Hayashiya would often enjoy each other’s companionship.

Over twenty years, the relationship between my father and Mr Toda became close and the conversations between the two of them during tea ceremony were often very interesting. As a young assistant to my father, the various stories I overheard them exchange are now a cherished memory of mine. From the day I saw him until the closing years of his life, Mr Toda had always been a very stylish man. I would like to take this as an opportunity to offer my sincere condolences. I like to believe that Mr Toda and my father are now enjoying their reunion.