Enshu Sado at A Glance
The tea ceremony is an intimate experience. It is the appreciation and understanding of the efforts of not only the person preparing the tea, but everyone involved in making it.
“The host should share the mind of his guests and guests should share the mind of his host.”(1)
Unlike the usual tea ceremony, the Enshu Sado school emphasizes more on humility and fellowship, rather than the strict tradition in which it is usually performed. Not to say that they are not traditional- it still is very much so- but there are more opportunities for the participants to interact.
Now celebrating their 20th anniversary in opening up a school in NUS, the Enshu Sado was originally formed by its founder mainly for the purpose of spending quality time with his family and friends.
It was founded by Lord Kobori Enshu Masakazu, feudal lord of Tohtoumi- now known as the Shizuoka Prefecture- in the early Edo era.
“The spirit of Enshu Sado lies in Kirei Sabi, or gracefulness and simplicity. Kirei Sabi has its origin in ancient Japanese sense of beauty which is closely related to waka(31-syllable Japanese poetry) of the Heian period.”(2)
Following its formation, the Enshu Sado lineage was one of prestige and humility.
“ Lord Enshu served as the official tea instructor for the second and third Shoguns of Tokugawa, Hidetada and Iemitsu.”(3)
Now being led by the 13th head, Grandmaster Kobori Sojitsu- a man of many talents- , the school is doing pretty well and the grandmaster has expressed his non-concern about the practice going out of trend.
He believes that innovations are an accumulation of tradition, as such combining a little of each to ensure present essential needs are met.
““Stay with the style, yet go beyond it,”- the motto of Enshu Sado, is an expression of cha-no-yu at its purest.
The clear-cut expression, “Wa(harmony), Kei(respect), Sei(purity), and Jaku(serenity)” well represents the philosophy of Sado. We must have a peaceful and disciplined mind. We must respect and have a feeling for others in order to build harmonious relationships with people and things.”(4)
The Grandmaster also believes that, with the current lifestyle there is, everyone is becoming too busy to stop for a moment to enjoy the nature and their company. With the new technologies coming out everywhere, he hopes that his school- the Enshu Sado- will be one of the instruments in which interaction between peoples may be healthily maintained and encouraged- keeping in touch with not only other people, but with nature and the unique Japanese tradition as well.
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As the Grandmaster finished his lecture, we the audience, were visibly more than inspired to take up the course ourselves.
Interesting as well as highly enlightening answers were given to the questions posed. An example of this would be the presence of wooden tea table and chairs for the tea ceremony. It was highly unusual to see one being used in such a traditional practice. Later on, we found out that it was a live application of the school’s motto of “Stay with the style, and go beyond it”. It was the first of its kind.
Following that, we were escorted outside the lecture hall to try out for ourselves how a tea ceremony is like.
Now more knowledgeable as to what goes on during a tea ceremony, I can’t help but feel more appreciative of the art, as well as blessed in being able to have a first-hand experience.
There’s nothing better than to end this review with the most appropriate word by the recipient.
Review by: C. Paulene, Vice President of JCIG