Tea, Spirituality and Japanese Tea Ceremony: An Interview with Michael Ricci

2019-05-21 Calligraphy No comment

When I visited the interview, Michael Ricci was removing the teahouse garden. We sat in front of the small tea "hut" at Loba University in Buddhism, Boulder, Colorado. In an hour, I will rush through the small doorway on my knee to join me with his students and others. The first Japanese tea ceremony newcomer.

Michael discovered the Chado through Japanese Zen. “I started reading about Zen, and I’ve been reading tea references. I called Naropa, and they just offered their first class through an extended study program. There’s also a post. I’m here, love now. "Get it," he added. "It seems to be a perfect way to learn more about Zen and start doing some meditation in my meditation. It's a spiritual path that makes sense to me."

“Everything the Japanese have done has become an art. This is how they treat tea. Keeping the existence of tradition is serious, and the rules are very important to them. The Japanese tea ceremony contains almost all traditional Japanese art. – Flower arrangement, calligraphy, lacquerware, ceramics, bamboo, wood. I am an artist, so I fell in love with it."

Michael spent two years studying tea with Hobart Bell, head of the Boulder Zen Center, and then studying at the Urasenke headquarters in Kyoto under the guidance of the 15th Tea Master Tea Series, this is the largest tea series. world. Here, he is immersed in traditional Japanese culture and etiquette to learn all aspects of Japanese tea. But after a year of study, he only crossed the surface, so he stayed for another year and a half. After that, he said, "I moved into a Zen Buddhist temple and trained with the monks. I didn't swear, but I lived with the monks for six months."

It is from this humble attitude that Michael shares his knowledge through his tea lessons and his art.

“There are two ways to enjoy tea between the owner and the guest. The first is Chaji, a formal multi-course meal that lasts four to five hours. The abbreviated version is called Chakai, which is simply a dessert and a bowl. tea. "

The day Michael taught me there, so each of his students had a short version of the tea ceremony one after another in four hours.

There is no distraction in the teahouse. Michael explained, "You are in a very small room in a very small room, in a very intimate atmosphere. The conversation is deprived. Everything is to focus on the present and completely forget the outside world. Teahouse. ”

"The small door, called nijiriguchi, was designed for everyone to bow when they entered the tea room. Shoguns and Samari may be sitting next to the peasants. They must take off their swords, leave them outside, bow their heads and modest themselves, because in the tea room, Everyone is the same. "Now, he said, we took off the rings, jewelry and watches. “Anything says this is something that I am/#39; or take us outside the tea. The tea ceremony is the eternal realm in the bottle.”

The ceremony expresses harmony, respect, purity and tranquility through every deep symbolic gesture – an elegant choreographer between the host and the guest.

Koicha is a "thick tea" ab' made with a lot of matcha [powdered green tea] and less hot water. All 3 to 5 guests share a bowl. The owner provides tea for the #39;First Guest' [not a beginner, can shape tea etiquette]. The first guest yelled at the second guest and said in Japanese, "Please forgive me for drinking tea in front of you." The second guest was also embarrassed. The first guest dipped their share in a specific way with a paper towel, turned and wiped the edge of the bowl, and then passed it on to the second guest. Michael said, "Koicha is the most intimate part of the party, sharing the bowl like this." I think, start sorting.

' Thin Tea', Usucha, more water and less tea, but only about three and a half sip. Michael explained: "This is enough to quench the thirst. It is powder and there is no soaking. It was taken away." "In the ' Each of them takes turns to eat sweets and then drink tea.” The first guest received a bowl of tea, drank it, then passed it on to the owner who wiped it, cleaned it, and provided it in the same bowl of the next guest. A bowl of tea. On that summer, the watery dessert made with bean paste rejuvenated us.

Soon, each guest took turns to check the cutlery – spoon, bowl and blender – and check the bright green valley in the bowl. When the tea was ready, the owner skillfully took a portion of Matcha. When the owner returned to the kitchenette, the conversation between the guests turned to enjoy the warm weather, tea, tea house. My body is stinging because of a healthy feeling. Is it L-theanine in green tea? Or pay close attention to the results of each action?

My thoughts reached a standstill, just like tea leaves at the bottom of the cup.


Michael Ritchie is a tea artist who teaches Japanese tea ceremony and its related artistic and cultural influences. He studied the art and crafts of traditional Japanese pottery-style tea making, called Raku, which was invented in Japan more than 400 years ago for tea ceremony. He uses clay, bamboo and wood to make tea sets, which you can see on one of his courses or special event tea ceremony. He has lectured and staged demonstrations at pottery studios, universities and art institutions in Front Range, Colorado, USA. Contact Michael at [970] 530-0436.

Copyright 2005 Terry Calamito

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