Monthly Archives: August 2012


SHE DREAMPT OF A CUP OF DARJEELING TEA UPON AN ELEPHANT…. Today being the memorial of my Mother. She is the beautiful lady tucked into this video leaning on her palm.


Songs my Mother sang to me…. perfume of hope and heaven

During WW2 The American GI’s used to whistle this song, surely in unimaginable circumstances. My mother no doubt heard her Mother singing it too inside the internment camps. The soldiers used to called  ‘she gotta yo yo’ but it’s Shi nano yoru or China nights in Japanese.  Tells me that love songs catch on and always go platinum if even in the midst of horrors, love sows its dreams.

The offbeat chronicles of a Tutu with tea Shelby

An incredible dancer and blog. A click away from the majestic world so ethereal and delicious. The focus, soul, discipline is truly an inspiration.  A taste of the divine.


等 « Tamashii: The Christian Faith and Chado

The Christian Faith and Chado

Posted by tenmen under 等

This is an essay from the website of a Baptist church. At the beginning it states it was originally published in January 1994 in the church magazine, and was written by an Omotesenke tea teacher, the Revered TAKAHASHI Toshio.

The Christian Faith and Chado

Chado is the crystallization of Japanese culture. But, surprisingly that culture is not well understood.

From Okakura’s Tea Set
“Will you please keep them in
remembrance of me?”
~ Okakura to Isabella Gardner, 1905
Courtesy: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston


SEN no Rikyuu encountered many missionaries that were arriving in Japan during that time, and he had the chance to personally witness the Christian faith. Since we can say up to five of Rikyu’s seven main disciples were Christian daimyo, rumours wonder if Rikyu himself might not also have been a Christian? Anyhow, according to my own research, we can be certain that SEN no Rikyuu was especially close to TAKAYAMA Ukon, one of his seven disciples that was a very feverent Christian.

Due to Hideyoshi’s prohibition against Christianity, even after Ukon was exiled from Akashi Castle, Rikyu served him tea many times to console him as his chanoyu teacher. Also, the age continued, that is, after the Battle of Mt. Tennou, Hideyoshi who now ruled all under Heaven, ordered Rikyuu to create a tea house at Yamazaki. Thus Rikyu requested from Ukon five cedar logs for the tea room. He was overjoyed upon receiving them, and immediately put them to use. We still have today the letter saying so, written in Rikyuu’s own hand. Even just this one letter proves the close connection between Rikyuu and the Christian TAKAYAMA Ukon.


To further explain, as everyone knows, there was a thorough and complete persecution of Christians throughout Japan at the start of the Tokugawa period. Christians were hunted down, all the way from fumie* tests to bounties for turning them in. Through the religion census and temple registration system, Christianity was eliminated from Japan. Thus, in the Edo period, any trace of Christian influence was removed from Chado, which was lauded by daimyo, nobles, and common people alike.

Let me give an example. If you enter into the garden of Nanzen-ji Temple in Kyoto, there is an explanation about “the Christian lantern discovered in this garden”. In other words, a real Christian lantern stands there. At one time, the Christian faith gifted much influence upon Japanese culture, giving birth to such art (ie: the lantern). Nevertheless, due to the persecution of Christianity and the fear of punishment for even owning such an item, people were worried about it and dumped the items on temple grounds where they were buried. I have heard many examples like this.

In the Shimabara district of Kyushu, where the Christian faith is said to have greatly permeated, there are Christian influenced tea utensils, and also swords and helmets.

Since (the Tokugawa government) worked hard to remove even the smallest historical traces of Christian influence, it is extremely difficult to clearly uncover all the facts about the connection between Christianity and chado…

Translator’s note: And then the author gives some of his ideas about how Christianity might have influenced Chado. I am just going to summarize now:

The fall issue of Love magazine features Tim Walker’s take on religion as far as i can tell. Simply my interpretation, here Kate holds onto a transcendental hand upon which stirs one into realms of ‘The Other’

The roji garden is symbolic of looking for truth or looking for the way to heaven or paradise. Walking individually and alone down the stepping stones, we are stripped of everything worldly. Then we purify ourselves with the water of life in the tsukubai, while being bathed in the light of a Christian lantern placed beside it. It is a “pilgrim’s progress”.


Here in Tim Walkers exploration of Asia, in my inordinate impression only I sense he is exploring what calls magical thinking. Are these elemental realms anointed with divinity? The original meaning of Christ means the anointed one. In Zen Buddhism we bow down to the divine within nature, in her pure unscathed harmony. This is our religion. The tea goddess Kannon is our equivalent of Madonna. She whom is one purely with our original nature which is of divinity

Rikyu explanation about flowers in the field resembles the Lord’s sermon on the mount.

Sharing one bowl of tea among all the guests resembles the Eucharist.

Tucking the fukusa in at the waist resembles how the Lord Jesus tucked in the towel at his waist when washing his disciple’s feet as a servant.

Nobody knows the real reason Rikyuu was ordered to commit seppuku. Might it have been because he was Christian?

*fumie: Being forced to step on sacred Christian pictures. Those who refused were tortured and killed. This is pretty interesting because, technically in Christian theology, a picture is just that: a picture. It is nothing worth being killed over. It is likely that the extreme reluctance of Japanese Christians to step on such pictures comes from native animistic influence.

via 等 « Tamashii.

茶の湯と陰陽五行 « Tamashii

I have no words to describe how precious a resource such as the wealth of this website.   Akin to scribes whom accomplish the scriptorium.

Kanreki Fukusa and Benio Chasen

Kanreki Fukusa and Crimson Thread Chasen
With Mount Hourai (Penglai) and the character for “longevity” drawn on it, this was the fukusa for the occassion of Tantansai Soushou’s 60th birthday. The tray is the Chitose-bon, which Kayoko-in created for Tantansai Soushou’s 60th birthday. The benio chasen, which is bound with crimson thread, was favoured by Gengensai and isn’t used except for 60th birthday tea parties.

*Translater note: The 60th birthday is called “kanreki” and is easily distinguished by the birthday boy in question wearing particular crimson (beni) garments. Having survived all 60 years of the sexagenary calendar is a cause for celebration. Red is worn because the start of the next sexagenary cycle is considered like a small beginning of a life again, thus just like little babies are wrapped in red, so is the birthday boy.


茶の湯と陰陽五行 « Tamashii.

India’s (Jewish) Mother – by Michelle Goldberg – Tablet Magazine – Jewish News and Politics, Jewish Arts and Culture, Jewish Life and Religion

Outside the Manakula Vinayagar temple in Pondicherry, a former French colony in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, a temple elephant named Lakshmi collects offerings of rupees with her trunk, blessing devotees and tourists alike with a pat on the head. White curlicues are painted on her face, bells hang around her neck, and silver jewelry adorns her ankles. Behind her, little stalls sell religious knickknacks—faux-sandalwood figurines of Hindu gods and a great profusion of framed pictures. It looks, in other words, like thousands of other temples throughout India, until you examine the pictures more closely. They’re of an old woman with hooded eyes and a cryptic closed-mouth smile who looks a bit like Hannah Arendt. Everyone refers to her as “The Mother,” but she was born Mirra Alfassa. The de facto goddess of this town is a Sephardic Jew from France.




India’s (Jewish) Mother – by Michelle Goldberg – Tablet Magazine – Jewish News and Politics, Jewish Arts and Culture, Jewish Life and Religion.

The freedom of undressing ones conscience

Confession is never for the confessor but for the sanity of the heart. I never noticed until suddenly that sanitation includes the word sanity! When I was a child the sacrament of confession was terrifying.  In fact it led to my returning to public school. How I became Catholic is far too impossible to fathom.  If anyone can handle a bee-bop non sequiter?  My new Chinese celebrity hairdresser said ‘Dahling you have European hair’   I thought about it and my Grandmother is from Ireland and the fluffy cotton candy hair I possess compared to my family?  Must be genetic how I became Catholic thus a confessor.  Here is the modern worlds solution and I like it very much!

1345228145502-74NS3T8RMJ8UDB6S1L9E · A White Carousel.

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