Japanese Tea Ceremony

"Tea is nought but this;
First you heat the water,
Then you make the tea.
Then you drink it properly.
That is all you need to know".

- Sen Rikyu (1552 - 1591)

The Japanese tea ceremony known as chanoyu (hot water for tea) evolved from tea drinking rituals practiced by Zen Buddhist monks. The tea ceremony is much more than an elaborate ritual to prepare tea, it is a quiet interlude during which the host and guests strive for spiritual refreshment and harmony with nature. The ceremony can be practiced anywhere, at home or in a teahouse.

The essence of the Japanese tea ceremony is reflected in its 4 main principles: harmony (with other people and with nature), respect (of others), purity (of the mind and the senses) and tranquility (peace of mind and appreciation of nature's abundance).

At its most basic level, taking part in the Japanese tea ceremony involves sitting quietly with several other people and tasting a small sweet offered by the host, who then prepares a bowl of frothy green tea for each guest. The structure and atmosphere of a Japanese teahouse are designed to focus one's attention on the present moment and promote a feeling of being away from the concerns of the everyday world.