The Way of Tea

The Way of Tea -- Sado  [more popularly known as Japanese Tea Ceremony] is an intricate act of making and serving tea originally performed by Samurai warriors as a form of spiritual training. 

Sado or Chado is also known as chanoyu (literally tea and hot water). 
It is a spiritual and aesthetic discipline for refinement of the self — known in Japanese as a "do," a 'way'. 

Sen no Rikyū (1522-1591) is the most well-known figure in the realms of Japanese Tea Ceremony. He is recognised as the person who established wabi-cha, the simple tea ceremony so widely performed today. 

His teachings perfected many newly developed forms in architecture and gardens, art, and the full development of the "way of tea" using the philosophy of ichi go ichi e which exemplified the idea of cherishing every moment as if it will never occur again. 

Rikyū’s concept of the tea ceremony was so simple that from it other tea ceremony schools were able to emerge.

Chinshin-Ryu - The Samurai Way of Tea 

One of the schools that was derived from Rikyū’s was Sekishū-ryū. 
The Sekishū-ryū style was the most popular style among the samurai.

There was once a time when samurai and government officials used to attend tea ceremonies. That is how it came to be seen as  "a warriors' tea ceremony" and why, more than samurai and governmental officials, exceptional masters of tea ceremony used to have great political influence. 
Katagiri Sekishū (1605-1673), the founder of Sekishū-ryū, was one of these masters.

For samurai warriors, it was vital to acquire strength, both physical and mental, to face various adversaries including death. Starting off as rough-edged and uncultured, warriors felt the need to become more culturally sophisticated as their social status became raised and they began replacing kuge court members as the most powerful rulers. 

Tea ceremony culture, having Zen Buddhism as its spiritual base, was most suited as the tool of day-to-day self discipline and as a source of enjoyment.

Matsuura Chinshin (1613-1703) the 29th head of the Matsura clan was the Daimyo feudal lord who presided over the Hizen Hirado fief, headquartered at what is now Hirado city in Nagasaki Prefecture. He became interested in tea ceremony at an early age and developed into a major tea ceremony figure.

 Chinshin saw tea ceremony culture as a graceful pastime which helps a samurai to discipline himself culturally and at the same time martially. His tea ceremony aim was to nurture a kind of spiritual strength that a samurai was expected to possess so that he could face any situation with calmness. 

After the Meiji Restoration, the then head of the family, Matsuura Shingetsu strived to keep tea ceremony tradition alive in face of the onslaught of western cultures. 

It was also he who encouraged ladies to take up tea ceremony, which formerly was the men's activity. Shingetsu laid the foundation for present-day Chinshin-ryu.

Since returning to Japan in 2017 we have been dedicated our efforts to learning as much as we can about the Samurai Way of Tea in the hopes that we might one day in the future be able to introduce this practice to Jamaica and imbue it with aspects of our indigenous herbal culture so as to create a new multicultural tradition of global healing.

Learn More about Japanese Tea Ceremony