和(wa) 敬 (kei) 清 (sei) 寂 (Jaku): Harmony, respect, purity, tranquility
Woah, how refreshing is it to have class in person again!
Unbelievable as it was, we studied tea online for the entire last year. Although it was beyond inspiring to see everyone utilizing their creative powers for continuing tea practices at home, in-person interactions are invaluable. When I sit down on the Ryurei table, I almost forgot how to direct my bodies to prepare for tea. Doing tea online allowed us to practice a variety of interesting temaes and adapt to different equipments, but we also lost a lot of the nuances and bodily motions that always came so nature in an actual tea room.
Gunji-sensei's teaching on viewing the fan as an analogy to studying progress perfectly encapsulates our rusty return to Japan House. When we first started learning tea, it feels like climbing up a closed fan and we might find ourselves reached the top after learning all the basic temaes. Yet, the fan opens one small leaf, and we suddenly realize that our knowledge is only a start among the night sky. Then, we relearn and refine our tea with the pure heart of a beginner.
The loop of learning humbles us, inspires us, and widens our hearts and horizons. With an appreciative and humble heart, I am ready to study tea with a fresh set of eyes that look for beautiful nuances in each movement.
Tea students in the Urasenke Urbana-Champaign association