This scroll is perhaps one of my favorites because of its simplicity. “Fetch water, carry firewood.” It draws attention to the basic necessities of making tea: having hot water. Just as we need this basic ingredient for tea, we must not forget the basics of what we are doing in every other aspect of our lives. It’s great to have a beautiful mizusashi or a thousand-dollar chashaku. It is wonderful to know the step by step procedure of doing a tea ceremony. But what is more important is having the bare minimum of materials, without which you cannot have tea. Sen Rikyu said “Tea is naught but this. First you heat the water. Then you make the tea. Then you drink it properly. That is all you need to know.” This teaches us that in everything we do, no matter how dressed up and fancy it may be, it is important to remember the basics of what we are doing and why we are doing it.
Tea students in the Urasenke Urbana-Champaign association