Monday, October 7, 2013

Handle the tools with care

This is what my tea teacher in Kyoto told me countless times.  She said to hold a little cup with the right hand and support it with the left hand whenever I put it down anywhere.  As a kid, I did not properly understand what this meant.  For me, the cup was just a cup.  Nothing special and the tea tools that I used during the lesson were just the same as other ordinary cups.  I was annoyed about having to pay so much attention when doing this simple thing.

As I got older, I came to understand the importance of her teaching.  This is a fundamental thought in the tea ceremony.  As a person learning the way of tea, one should have compassion for the creator of the tools that one is using.  Every tool in the tea lesson was made by artisans; the kimono worn to the tea ceremony is made devotedly by an expert, the table runner to put the tools is woven reverently by hand, and the cups themselves are the outcome of patient experiments and diligent effort.  Whenever I see such handmade products, I think of their creator.  A Spirit inhabits these objects.

Learning to respect the tools is to respect the person who made it.  At the same time, we learn to respect nature and all living things including us.

1 comment:

  1. I have taken the tea-ceremony lessons for a few months when I was in Tokyo. We used simple tools and simple rules. I never mastered how to participate, but with that experience, I can relate to you thought here a bit. 良い器は愛でてあげたいものですね・・