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The Way of Tea

The Way of Tea

Sen Rikyu, the 16th-century tea master who perfected the Way of Tea, was once asked to explain what this entails. He replied that it was a matter of observing but seven rules. The questioner was vexed with the answer, saying that those rules were simple matters that anyone could handle. Rikyu, knowing that the Way of Tea is well described as the Art of Living, said that he would become a disciple of the person who could carry out these seven rules without fail:

1. Making a satisfying bowl of tea.

2. Lay the charcoal so that the water boils efficiently.*

3. Provide a sense of warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer.

4. Arrange the flowers as though they were in the field.

5. Be ready ahead of time.

6. Be prepared in case it should rain.**

7. Act with utmost consideration of your guests.

*Tending to the source of heat is important. For modern times that might mean to be energy efficient and alert to when the water is perfectly boiled so not to waste more resources than needed.

**Even though it is unlikely that you’ll be preparing your tea outside, be prepared for quick changes of plans.

Read more: Spirit, Guidance

Adapted from Tea Bliss by Theresa Cheung (Conari Press, 2007). Copyright (c) 2007 by Theresa Cheung. Reprinted by permission of Conari Press.
Adapted from Tea Bliss by Theresa Cheung (Conari Press, 2007).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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12:58AM PST on Jan 27, 2013

Rikyu knew what he was talking about :)

3:09AM PST on Jan 26, 2013

Thanks for good tea Annie

11:33PM PST on Jan 9, 2013

Tea is marvellous and a comforting and tranquil delight on a cold day or a cool refreshing drink on a hot humid evening.

6:35AM PDT on Sep 21, 2012

thank you for this article, I love tea and drink it every day.

5:48AM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Interesting. Now to figure out how to apply it to my hectic life. Thanks

12:56AM PDT on Aug 17, 2012


5:51AM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

Which is to say--be present

4:24PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012


4:24PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012


9:26AM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

That all makes sense, and sounds very calming

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