The Japanese tea ceremony, or the Way of Tea, is a tradition steeped in history. Tracing its roots back to the ninth century, when tea was introduced to Japan from China, the tea ceremony, which was heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism, is as much a performance as it is ritual and ceremony. The ceremony called sado developed its own aesthetic over time, and follows the philosophic notion of ichi-go ichi-e, in which each meeting should be treasured, for it can never be reproduced. At the core of sado, the principles of harmony, reverence, purity and tranquility set the tone for a ritual that is both traditional and conducive to quiet reflection of the passing of time and its effect on all it touches.
The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens hosts these introspective tea ceremonies once a month, encouraging participants to learn and practice serenity, peace and meditation. Held in the Seishin-an Tea House, the authentic ceremony follows the Omote-Senke style, where practitioners whisk the tea to create a light foam, and is one of three houses that count their founder as Sen no Rikyu (collectively known as the san-Senke), and are dedicated to carrying forward the way of tea he developed. The ceremony encapsulates the true spirit of the custom—part artistic performance, part meditative practice—incorporating harmony (wa), reverence (kei), purity (sei) and tranquility (jaku) in an intricate dance of tradition.
- Demonstrations of Sado: The Way of Tea is held the third Saturday of the month from October to June. Demonstration times in the Seishin-an Tea House: 12 p.m. Tickets cost $5. For more information, visit morikami.org.
For those interested in learning how to perform the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, the Morikami and the Omote Senke School hold workshops and courses on the Way of Tea. Taught by Master Soei Chieko Mihori, classes not only teach the history and tradition of the ceremony, but the process and steps of the ceremony as well. Long a central tenant of Japanese culture, sado changes month to month, as intricacies adapt to different seasonal observances and the weather.
- Two-week Sado sessions are scheduled two Sundays monthly, from October to June. Classes begin at 10:15 a.m.
- Admission costs $55.
- Prerequisite: Tea Ceremony Workshop
- For more information and registration, call 561-495-0233 ext. 210 or visit morikami.org/education/sado-omote-senke-tea-ceremony.
In the workshops, pupils will learn the basics of sado, from the aesthetic of the performance and the proper form for being a guest in the ceremony, to the correct way of making a bowl of tea and serving to a guest.
- Three workshop dates are scheduled for the 2013-2014 season: November 2, 2013; January 1 and March 1, 2014.
- Held in the Seishin-an Tea House from 1-3 p.m.
- Admission costs $35.
- Workshops are a prerequisite for Sado classes.
- For more information, visit morikami.org/education/tea-ceremony-workshop.