Finishing the year.

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Finishing the year.

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

The 46th National Convention held on October 14th of this year was a great success. The various different teas available and the men in kimono enjoying thick tea were two particularly memorable scenes for me. Since the gathering coincided with the IMF assembly, I imagine it was not easy to get things up and running with the heightened security, but it was the best performance I've seen. I would like to take this opportunity again to thank everyone involved for their hard work.

Since we are closing in on the end of the year, I would like now to present the speech I gave at the convention as it expresses everything that I am feel at present.

As you know 'Enriching the soul through Tea' has been the objective Enshuryu has set itself for the 21st Century. The character for soul in Japanese is read 'shin' and is also part of the character for center and human nature. It is also our physical body, honesty and truth.

Tea ceremony is a tradition which well represents Japan. It is the only place where the souls of a host and his guest can enter into dialogue. On some occasions, the guest takes the lead and on others the host becomes the center of attention. It is this exchange that modern man continues to forget.

I place a lot of importance on three phrases I use during tea ceremony : 'Excuse me for starting', 'Excellent' and 'That was delicious'. The first recognizes and pays respect to other participants, the second is an honest expression of the soul and the third an expression of total gratitude. It is Enshuryu's dream that one day everyone in the world uses these three expressions in their daily lives.

My father Soukei 'Koushin' passed away in the spring of last year. It was he, born as Soukei Kobori, who inherited and established the 'Kirei Sabi' tea ceremony from Rikyu and Oribe, allowing for the restoration of the tradition after the war and brought about the renaissance of Enshuryu. He was both a magnificent father and tea master.

Thinking back to the turn of the century, January 1st of 2001 marked the change of Grand Tea Master, from the 12th to the 13th generation. In the ten years since then until the spring of last year, my father and I discussed our various dreams for Enshuryu. As Japan finds itself in a tumultuous position both domestically and overseas, the role that Tea ceremony should play today is becoming a significant issue. Passing down the correct spiritual state from parent to child and to the next generation. I consider what my father last asked of me to be divine will. And this was to further grow Enshuryu's ability to communicate with the world.

Dear All, please be proud and confident about the fact that you practice tea ceremony. Let us take a new first step together from today for the future of Japan. In closing, I have a message for everyone practicing tea ceremony with us. The first is to enjoy tea ceremony. It is important that you enjoy everything you do. The second is to learn tea ceremony deeply. Lastly, I would like this to be a reason for you to feel happy to be alive. I briefly summarized the feeling I had today having finished a tea ceremony in a short poem: Tea Ceremony. Enjoying and Learning from one another. This is something worth living for. Thank you.

I wish you all the very best.