Ceremony

Japanese Tea ceremony

The Old Library, West Dean College

Free to watch/£10 to participate

Come and watch or participate in this ancient, graceful ceremony led by Tea Master Chizuko Kimura.

Booking essential to watch or participate: free to watch/£10 to participate.

The traditional tea ceremony was introduced to Japan from China during the 16th century and even in today's hi-tech environment continues to be part of everyday life. Based on the spirit of Zen, it was perfected by Master Senno-Rikyu in Daitokuji Temple, Kyoto.

The successful application of the tea ceremony requires grace, discipline and a keen sensitivity to nature. The object is to achieve a spirit of harmony, tranquillity, purity and respectfulness for all the participants in relationship with the environment.

Before the tea is served, dainty sweets are eaten. There are three basic types of tea. Bancha (coarse leaf tea), Sencha (medium quality tea), and Matcha (powdered green tea). The Tea Master spoons out the powdered green tea with Chashaku and pours boiling water over it. It is stirred with a bamboo whisk, the Chasen. Finally the brew is poured into tea bowls, Chawan.

When receiving the tea, the guest bows, takes the bowl in the right hand and places it on the palm of the left hand. The cup is rotated clockwise twice with the thumb and forefinger of the right hand. After drinking, the bowl is rotated anti-clockwise and returned to the Tea Master.

Chanoyu, the way of the tea, may seem to our Western eyes too formal and even obsolete in today's way of life, but it has long history and is deeply rooted in Japanese culture, being one of the best ways one can come to try and understand its foundations.

Now in the 21st century the tea ceremony continues to influence a nation and its people's way of thinking and living. For Japanese people, Chanoyu is a mental discipline for pursuing a state of mind in which the person is calm and content. Many families continue to enrol their daughters in tea ceremony classes as part of their grooming for marriage, thus ensuring that even in this technological age the tradition will not be lost for future generations.

Tea Master Chizuko Kimura.