Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tea Kaiseki

…one of the most poignant messages that Japan pressed into my consciousness was to live each day as if there were no tomorrow. I saw that at Euryaku-ji Temple. In Buddhism, life is seen as fleeting, therefore every moment is sacred and should be appreciated to the fullest. The art of tea embodies this concept. Every tea ceremony becomes a unique occasion because you will never gather again with that same group of people on that day, during those hours, in your lifetime. The evanescence of the gathering, not unlike the brief flowering of the cherry blossoms, heightens the pleasure found in such pathos.

This kind of thinking brings grace and meaning to everything you do, including the mundane. In preparing dinner, for example, you can treat it as either a chore or a joy.

To me, cooking a meal is a gift you give to someone, including yourself. Tea kaiseki taught me that. Each dish becomes a creative expression of the heart, filled with kindness, compassion, and love. That is why the tea ceremony and tea kaiseki will ultimately live on. Both are art forms that despite the many challenges they face nourish the body and spirit.

Untangling My Chopsticks, Victoria Abbot Riccardi

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