These people will never understand the spirit of Tea

Not long ago, a Japanese Tea Ceremony master made a visit to a certain foreign country to give demonstrations. His hosts found a beautiful garden, with two pavilions in it. In one the guests were to assemble, and then a group of fifty would go to the other pavilion, where the master was to demonstrate the ceremony. After about forty minutes, the audience would change; those who had witnessed it went back, and a new group walked the hundred yards to the master’s pavilion to see a new performance.

He commented when he returned to Japan, Tn that country the men shout and the women scream. When I heard the very first group coming across, shouting and screaming, I thought, “These people will never understand the spirit of Tea.” But to my amazement, they sat very still and attentive, and there was a good atmosphere. I thought, “They have understood the spirit of Tea after all.” They left quietly, but as they re-crossed to the first pavilion, they burst out, shouting and screaming just as before. I felt quite discouraged, and that my time had been wasted.

‘But then I thought, “No, that is wrong. They will never be the same again. They have been able to sit still, in peace, for half-an-hour. Now their old habits have taken hold again, but they will remember, in a corner of their mind, that half an hour of peace. And one day, perhaps years afterwards, when they feel deeply disturbed over something, they will think back to that time of Tea, and it will help them.” ’


© Trevor Leggett – Tea

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