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Le sens secret de la cérémonie du Thé : Cha No Yu

The secret meaning of the tea ceremony: Cha No Yu

The tea ceremony, Buddhist basics

Cha No Yu Ceremony

Most non-Japanese only know a thing or two about the traditional tea ceremony, its history, intricacies, or religious origins. However, few people outside of Japan have a deep understanding of the esoteric meaning of this practice .

Indeed, even in Japan, the secret meaning of the Japanese tea ceremony is little understood , except by those who have dedicated their lives to the discipline, and by those who are experts in the preparation of tea served in a matcha bowl in traditional rituals using a Japanese teapot .

To acquire the first working knowledge of the inner teaching of the tea ceremony, one must go back in time at least two thousand years . China is the true birthplace of the tea ceremony, but it was the Japanese who developed the practice and kept the flame alive in the modern era.

Buddhism: The first secret

Zen Buddhism can probably be considered the founder of the tea ceremony as it is practiced today in Japan. The first two people who brought the tea and its service rituals from China were indeed Buddhist monks .

Each of them did a lot to establish the different parts of the ceremony that we know today. However, much of what happens in Zen Buddhism is not what appears to an outside observer .

Buddhism itself is largely an inner practice , an outer ceremony or ritual often reveals nothing of the inner meaning of a given behavior. The tea ceremony and meditation are just two examples.

It is impossible to know what is going on during meditation just by observing a person in a meditative state. The same goes for the tea ceremony. Both tourists and foreigners can watch or even participate in a Japanese tea ritual without learning anything of its inner and esoteric message .

The books on the subject often mention that the central aspect of the tea ceremony is harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. What can we deduce from it beyond words? Like everything Zen, this particular social ritual contains an inner form and an outer .

The interior aspect of the tea ceremony emphasizes simplicity and naturalness. These two qualities give the outward form of the ceremony its simple aspect , calm and unadorned .


The outer part it emphasizes the Japanese concept of " Sabi ", or material life . You notice this characteristic when you look at the aged and weathered materials that surround the tea room. I ls remind us that our outer physical life is only a temporary thing which will decompose and eventually disappear.

By understanding the inevitability of impermanence (Sabi) and the simplicity of our inner being (Wabi), one can move towards an advanced state of consciousness even in this life.True aficionados of the tea ceremony tend to regard it as an esoteric religious exercise, and nothing less!

The science of the brain: The second secret

There is, believe it or not, a lot of science behind the practice of ritualized tea serving and drinking Modern experts on the subject point out that both sides of the brain are stimulated by the Japanese ceremony tea. This balanced activity helps bring deep calm and even spiritual awareness to those who participate in the activity.

You should know that the tea ceremony acts directly on the five senses. In ancient times, Buddhist monks structured the ritual in such a way that it awakened people, both physically and spiritually.

At the same time (and this is part of the dichotomy of the case, or rather the complementarity of its dual nature), the tea ceremony aims to bring a deep inner peace and tranquility to those who participate in it. by bringing body and mind together.

The smell, touch, taste, hearing and sight are, respectively, encountered with the aroma of tea and straw in the groundsheet, the feeling of the Japanese teapot , the tea itself, the sound of water when it boils without forgetting the visual images of the rolls of wall and flowers in the room.

Both sides of the brain

With the five senses awakened and in tune, the left hemisphere of the brain has a lot of material to analyze , including the ritual itself, the instruments, the process and the "facts" of ceremony. These are standard subject types that the left hemisphere of the brain likes to decipher.

On the other hand, or rather on the other side of the brain, the right hemisphere takes care of the floral arrangements and scrolls, the atmosphere of the room, the chemistry between the guests and the host.

This experience is the precise moment in the process that most people see the face of Zen in the modern tea ceremony. Zen Buddhism often works along the same lines of thought, with equal stimulation of both parts of the brain, left and right, in order to provide a chance for understanding for the practitioner.

The hidden meaning of the tea ceremony

Those who only know the tea ceremony through books or a brief visit to Japan usually miss some of the unseen angles that concern tea and its rituals. On the one hand, among the Japanese themselves, the tea ceremony is considered an esoteric practice that is difficult to understand and takes years to appreciate. An analogy could be how Westerners perceive the classical violin. It takes a bit of study and a lot of time to listen to a violin piece with a true appreciation of the music, the instrument, and the musician.

Japanese people who want to learn more about their country's most secret art form join informal clubs to study it. Subsequently, some take formal courses, which can be quite expensive. , with a tea master.

There are, as in many martial arts, certificates and degrees associated with several of the prominent tea schools throughout Japan . For the privileged few who decide to take a deep dive in art, it may be that a lifetime of study will await them.

Just as a concert pianist or cellist can give his life to the perfection of musical technique, some Japanese will devote themselves fully to the ancient art and ritual of the tea ceremony.

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