Thursday, May 20, 2010

Two important lessons for the tea ceremony 2

These are the pictures from the tatami room for the second tea gathering we joind.

The other lesson that our master told us for the tea ceremony was…

The second lesson: Behave depending on the time and situation
What we learn and practice in the lessons are just a basic. It is not always right just strictly to follow the procedures that you have learned and practiced. You have to think and behave depending on the time and situation in a tea ceremony. The attitude of improvisation is necessary, our master said.

Here is an example that I experienced in this tea ceremony regarding to a bow to the next guest to me.
We have learned and been practicing in the lessons, making a bow to the next guest, right after your tea is served. It has the meaning of “Excuse me for going before you “.
However, the situation was a little difficult in the actual tea ceremony. Several assistants worked in the ceremony. The assistants brought teas from the preparation room, and the teas were served at almost the same time to every guest. So, when I received my tea and bowed to the one of the assistants who brought my tea, I saw the next guest was almost receiving her tea from another assistant, and was going to bow to the assistant. Then I was supposed to bow to the next guest, but she was kind of busy for receiving her tea. Now, what? What would you do? Do you just bow to her as you learned? Here is the moment when the right attitude of improvisation is required.
Our master said that there is not only one answer, and I could have got through with a quick, brief bow to the next guest, or even could have skipped the bow. As our master said, it is not always right strictly to follow the procedure.

What I actually did was that I moved slowly and waited until the next guest was through with receiving her tea. Then I made the bow to her. I’m not sure if my improvisation behavior was smart and correct.

I kind of realized that we are practicing the temae over and over in the lessons for the attitude of improvisation in tea ceremonies, or for our daily behavior, and not just for remembering the procedure. This tea ceremony was very worth to me.

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