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The Practice of Ichi-go Ichi-e with Japanese Tea Ceremony

Oct 30 2020 - Blog

The Japanese tea ceremony is the deep-rooted culture of preparing and serving green tea. Beyond just making a hot drink, this ritual of preparing tea holds significant meaning that stems from the country’s rich history.

Also called Chadō or Sadō (meaning the “Way of Tea”), the tea ceremony is a microcosm of the Japanese philosophy of omotenashi, which in turn represents the practice of Japanese hospitality and how they look after their guests wholeheartedly.

“Teaism (Chadō) inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.” - Okakura Kakuzo, The Book of Tea, 1906.

History of the Japanese Tea Ceremony

The upheaval in Japanese tea culture began around the Muromachi period. One of the significant concepts behind the Japanese tea ceremony is wabi-sabi and the influence of tea master Rikyū.

Wabi-sabi is the belief that accepting unpredictability and imperfection is the first step towards enlightenment. Understanding that life is not always perfect is considered an important part of awakening.

Here, let Sky Premium bring you back to the 16th century to learn how Rikyū incorporated the philosophy of ichi-go ichi-e (一期一会) in Chadō.


Ichi-go Ichi-e

Ichi-go ichi-e is an old Japanese proverb that means "one opportunity, one encounter". Rikyū used this philosophy to express the idea that each tea ceremony is unique and that one will never experience the same tea ceremony ever again.

Each moment is special, and each ceremony is treasured. Each guest is treated with the utmost respect and every action performed by the host is meant to give the guests a beautiful and pleasant experience.

We can relate this concept to life. As we meet people along the different stages of our life, every encounter is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and will never unfold the same way again. So it is important that we always treasure our time with the people around us.

The Japanese tea ceremony not only gives us a fascinating glimpse into Japanese culture; it teaches us how to better our lives.


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