Signed in as:
The Origins of Chadō: An Ancient Tradition
Zen Buddhist monk Eisai, founder of Kennin-ji Temple and the Rinzai school of Buddhism, in the year 1191 first introduced the custom of drinking matcha to Japan. Half a century later, Daio-kokushi introduced “tea ceremony”, and subsequently the Zen Buddhist priest Ikkyu Sojun of Daitoku-ji Temple taught the tea ceremony to his apprentice, Murata Juko, who is considered the true forefather of the Japanese tea ceremony.
Murata Juko, who became an adviser to shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, served tea in a small plain room. He replaced ornate porcelain with plain bowls in this way creating austerity to contrast the opulence most shoguns were accustomed. He stressed that tea was a spiritual practice and that an aesthetic approach was necessary. Shuko's form of tea ceremony is called wabi-cha or "simple tea".
As such, Zen and tea ceremony are deeply intertwined: the proscribed movements Zen tea rituals and tea ceremony and the silent meditation that requires no words.
Likewise, phrases most used to describe tea ceremony ichi-go ichi-e (literally “one time, one meeting”) and wasei seijaku (literally “harmony, respect, purity and tranquillity”) come from the Zen spirit. This can be fully appreciated in the the phrase “Chazen ichimi” (“Zen and Tea Ceremony are the same”).
Why ceremony? Isn't tea just tea?
Yes and no. Tea will always be defined as "leaves fit for consumption steeped in hot water and then drank from a vessel".
Yet there is deeper meaning in the preparation, the essence of the act of recieving, being grateful (thanking the plant for it's offering, the water for it's offering, even the vessels and implements for their offering), the preparation of the tea with reverence for the process (sharing a simple yet intentional gift of the self), being grateful to be in presence with others. Then simply to be.
This mindful way evokes a shared and intimate experience.
Why we use glass bowls and tea blossoms.
By using simple glass bowls we bring illumination to the hidden. A participant can see the unfolding of the tea, the flower from which the tea comes in all it's beauty. It reminds us of the beauty of that which gave it's essence for this ceremony. In this way we might be grateful.
"If you can be grateful for the illuminated you may then find the opportunity to be grateful for the hidden. The hidden and illuminated are no different in their essence, it is merely the perception that we take for granted."-Timothy J. Grossman
Who prepares the tea?
Usui Reiki Ryoho Master Timothy J. Grossman prepares and presents this experience with the sacred respect and reverence that both the ceremony and your party deserve. He recalls the words of reknowned tea master below:
“What is important is not shape, but heart. Of course, tea made in accordance with proper etiquette is refreshing. But I believe that tea made with a careless heart, tea that is tea in form only, even when made according to the etiquette, will not move the hearts of guests.”-Kenin Magami
 O'Brien, B., 2021. "Chado: Zen and the Art of Tea.".
 Magami, K., 2022. Chado – The Way Of Tea | Traditional Kyoto.traditionalkyoto.com.
If you'd like to experience a Chado tea ceremony by itself or with any of our offerings, please contact us to discuss details for booking.
Take the online version of The Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) and Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) as well as other curated assessments to get a better understanding of where you are.