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.

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).

41 comments

Nimue Pendragon

Rikyu knew what he was talking about :)

Ram Reddy
Ram Reddy3 years ago

Thanks for good tea Annie

Dale Overall

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

Anne Marie
.3 years ago

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

Karen Martinez
Karen Martinez3 years ago

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

Loo Samantha
Loo sam3 years ago

noted

Susan S.
Paul Stephan3 years ago

Which is to say--be present

a             y m.
g d c.3 years ago

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a             y m.
g d c.3 years ago

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Lindsay Kemp
Lindsay Kemp4 years ago

That all makes sense, and sounds very calming