Sen no Rikyu, The master of tea and life
Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591) was the greatest master of the Tea Ceremony in Japan. He was born in Sakai, Osaka, in 1522 and started studing tea cememony and Zen at an early age and becoming Tea Master to Oda Nobunaga,Japanese tyrant, when he was 58 years old. He invented Wabi-cha, which became the form of the modern Japanese tea ceremony. Wabi-cha emphasizes simplicity and became a movement from expensive wares to local wares and simple styles.
Sen no Rikyu introduced“Shiki Shichi soku”.「四規七則」
“Shiki” 四規 is four fundamental qualities of tea ceremony, “Wakei Sei-Jyaku.”
1“Wa” means Harmony. Be kind to each other
2 “Kei” means Respect. Respect each other
3 ”Sei” means Purity. Cleansing your mind and body
4 “Jyaku” means Tranquility. Stop being easily influenced
“Shichi soku” 七則are the seven rules that you must follow when you welcome your guests.
1. Make the tea just right for your guests.: Think about the situation and feeling of your guests to serve the perfect tea for them
2. Arrange the charcoal so the water boils quickly: Prepare focusing on important points
3. Arrange the flowers as they grow in nature: Respect the life and see the beauty as it is
4. Keep the tea room cool in the summer and warm in the winter: Feel a sense of the season. Creat comfortable environment for your guests
5. Have preparation ahead of time: Prepare ahead of time. When you are fully ready, you would be confident, relaxed, and serve great tea. Value your time with them.
6. Have umbrellas for rain even it is not raining: Create a contingency plan.
7.Give your guests every consideration: Care about the guests. Respect each other and enjoy the moment together.
Sen no Rikyu teaches us the rules for the tea ceremony, but it is not only about making tea. I feel It’s telling you that how you treat people, how to live and what is important. There is a lots of love and care in those rules and that’s why we are fascinated by his work even now.