Matcha is one of the most well-known Japanese cultural heritages. It comes in fine powder which can be made into cake, sweets and ice cream…
During the Warring-state Period (1400s – 1600s), Matcha started to thrive under the generous patronage from the samurai class. The samurai lords endorsed Matcha as part of their commitment to promote Zen Buddhism because Matcha keeps people awake during meditation.
Make no mistake, Zen Buddhism in the 1600s was very different from that in the modern movies, which were proved to be the residue of pre-WW2 reinvented version of Zen Buddhism. There were a few very interesting incidents happened in the Meiji period when Zen Buddhism tried to survive the nationalist religion purification movement. I always enjoy sharing the stories in person and ask people how they feel about them…
The original spirit of Zen is to seek enlightenment in long-hour meditation while living a life committed to strict routine rituals and strong self-disciplines.
Sado (Way of Tea) as the facilitator of meditation, bears similar principles:
· おもてなしの心 – Learn to serve and demonstrate respect/emotions through meticulously designed rituals.
· 侘び寂び/不完全美 – Cherish simple natural beauty and life’s imperfection.
· 一期一会 – Celebrate the encounter of the host and guest as a once-in-a-lifetime rendezvous.
· 和敬清寂 – Celebrate respect and harmony.
· 茶禅一味 – Connect with one’s Zen spirituality through tea.
Regardless of its religious hue, the Way of Tea is not a religious privilege. Tea ceremony, to me, is a very intimate way to unwind from the world and find inner tranquillity. It brushes aside unwanted noise and gives me a moment to reflect and confront my most authentic self.
One of my greatest pleasure is to make a bowl of warm Matcha and hand it into my guest’s hands. Matcha I make is sweet as my love. The moment my guest smiles after the first taste, I know Matcha has conveyed my sincere affection to him.
My favourite principle of tea is 一期一会. Every encounter is a once-in-a-lifetime rendezvous; just like how we can’t go back in time, each one of our moments happens only once. Cherish this one with me and let it be one of our most precious treasures.
Until we meet…