At our city library, among a lot of Japanese books at the shelves for The Way of Tea, I found a book written in English. It is entitled “THE SPIRIT OF TEA” by Sen Soshitu XV, who was the Urasenke grand master.
You can’t learn about the preparation of tea or how to conduct a tea ceremony from this book. But, the great importance of this book is that you will be able to understand what we enjoy in The Way of Tea. This book talks about the SPIRIT with a great quality of photos. I realized that there is no other culture in the world which you talks about the SPRIT of beverage drinking this much.
In my tea lesson, I always practice the ceremony only by role playing in a tea room, and I don’t study these spiritual theories in a class room. This book has some answers for the wonders I had on things in the tea ceremony. It also taught me things that I have never realized.
But, in some other parts, the ideas are abstract and difficult. For example, description of wabi is pretty different from the other books I read. That makes it more difficult for me to understand what wabi is. I believe that the descriptions will differ depending on one’s point of view even if we are looking at the same thing.
In this book, Soshitu mentioned:
“The way of tea, chado, must be acquired by means of the movements of your own body and through one’s own experiences. It cannot be learned by observing and listening to others thus by imitating them. There is no other method than this in pursuing chado.”
I think you also have to find out and understand these spiritual aspects all throughout your experience. However, this book tells me about some of them, and helps me understand these essences a little faster than discovering them by myself. This is one of the books that I want to re-read sometimes as I carry on The Way of Tea. I’ll recommend this book for those who want to know more about Japanese way of tea.
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