Bowing in Japanese Tea Ceremony[August 2015]

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Bowing in Japanese Tea Ceremony[August 2015]

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

Every August, I usually hang a scroll in the tokonoma area of the school, upon which the words 'The hermit in the woods is at peace' were written by my father, the 12th generation grand tea master Koshin Sokei. As I bow before the tokonoma, this scroll and the one I mentioned in last month's entry both make me wonder how my father and grandfather felt at the time.

The mental states expressed by both these scrolls are hard to reach nowadays when people are often pressed for time and bombarded with information.

How and under what circumstances can we achieve a peaceful state of mind? Since this is something that is achieved internally, our psychological state must be important. It is possible that people who know how to keep calm, regardless of the emotional challenge, are accessing that peaceful state of mind. I invite tea practitioners to try to reach this peaceful state through their daily training.

As the hottest season of the year, Summer is a time of the year rife with internal struggles. When we come to the tea practice area, we wash our mouth and hands at the sink. This is not only for maintaining a hygienic environment but also for purifying the mind. Before entering the tea room, we lay down our hand fans, bow, sit before the tokonoma, and bow again. Bowing is not only a greeting but it also an act that keeps us honest.

Most acts in tea ceremony are accompanied by a bow. This is repeated over and over. This is of course considered to be polite but above all it is an act of modesty.

People can sometimes be arrogant and often come to regret it afterwards. That's just how people are. And this is precisely why it is important to occasionally reflect on our behavior.

I believe that tea ceremony is a means of achieving modesty naturally and I look forward to continuing to grow as a person.