Tea Reflection - May 19, 2018

Graduation Tea Ceremony at the University of Illinois - May 13, 2018

The prospect of performing a tea ceremony after only fully practicing it on the tatami twice was utterly terrifying. I was so nervous as I started to go through the cleaning of all the equipment, I couldn't process all of what I was doing. As I kept going, I remembered one of the scrolls that was hanging, "have tea". This reminded me that the only thing I needed to accomplish in that moment was to lovingly share bowls of tea with my family. It was okay if my movements didn't perfectly match what we had practiced, as long as I put my heart into making the best bowls of tea that I could. This scroll was also special because neither of my parents had seen a tea ceremony before. I remember the first time I saw a tea ceremony, I was completely amazed just by the experience of quietly watching our host carefully and calmly prepare a bowl of tea. One of my favorite parts of tea ceremony is that it needs no embellishment to be a beautiful experience. You gain so much from the simple experience of having tea. I was very happy to share the tea ceremony with my family, and I hope they took away a similar love of sitting down and having tea.

~ Paige

Tokokazari - May 3, 2018

The scroll in the 4.5-mat room – shakutei ichi zansui, or “one drop of water at the bottom of the dipper” – really resonated with me this week. When I’ve seen this scroll in the past, mostly it’s made me think about how even if we have just a little of something, we can still accomplish something with that. However, this Thursday, just a week before I graduate, seeing this scroll made me think much more specifically about the amount of time I have between now and the end of college. Four years of being here is just long enough that up until now, it’s felt like this is the place I would be forever – that my routine would stay the same, and that I’d always have the friends I’ve made here nearby. But now, just a few days out from moving away from campus, I’m finally starting to internalize that this period of my life is ending. It would be easy to be sad about this, and spend my last few days mourning the end of my college experience. But there is still one drop of water at the bottom of the dipper, a few days left to enjoy and soak up everything I have loved about this place, and that is what this scroll reminded me to do.

~ Paige

Tokokazari - April 5, 2018

The first scroll depicts three people fishing on the rocks. They are tranquilly sitting in this beautifully misty landscape, and it looks like they don’t care about the fishing results but just immerse themselves in the pleasing and peaceful activities with the nature. The painting shows the harmony between people and the landscape. The second scroll means “The kokoro of the bamboo rejoices pure wind.” Bamboo is my favorite plant which has straight, neat, smooth green trunk and narrow thin leaves. The sound of bamboo is a beautiful composition of the wind. The third scroll is a calligraphy work of the word “vivification”. The handwriting is vigorous and forceful, having the strength as the meaning of the word. All the scrolls give me a refreshing sense that the spring is coming and the life is energetic.

~ Vivi

Tokokazari - March 29, 2018

“Dust Off”. This scroll reminds me of one of the things I love most about coming to tea class – the ability it gives us to step away from our daily routines and into a calm and peaceful setting. The dust could also be thought of as all the worries and stresses that accumulate over the course of the week, that coming to tea class each week allows us to leave behind. As we practice tea, it is important that we focus, so we must shed whatever daily concerns we have as we enter the tea room, which is what this scroll encourages us to do. I found this scroll to be particularly relevant this week. We just got back to campus from spring break, and a week off of tea class, so I felt out of practice both with the tea ceremony itself and with the process of removing myself from my daily stresses so I can take time to focus on tea. The scroll reminded me that I still have all the skills we've been practicing, I just needed to shake off the dust that settled over the past week, focus, and remember.

~ Paige

Tokokazari - March 15, 2018

The scrolls for this week, hana or "flower" in the 4.5-mat room, and mei reki reki or "light shines everywhere" and ro do do or "dew in its purity covers everything" in the 10-mat room, speak very much to the simplicity and beauty of nature as compared to the more abstract concepts such as those found in Zen teachings. Together, the scrolls appear to emphasize something like a morning scenery, and they serve as a nice reminder that for as much as we may like to contemplate about our nature, it is also important to just go outside and enjoy nature.

~ Felix