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Vol. 3, No. 1 (Autumn 2012) Published on November 1st, 2012
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Vol. 1, No. 2 (Summer 2010) Contents
Bericht uit Tokyo Rien ne va plus
Column by Bas Valckx
Verschuivende perspectieven
Article by Willem van Gulik
Cha Zen ichi mi
Calligraphy by Arthur Witteveen
Priests, money and women: religion in Seji kenbunroku
Article by Mark Teeuwen
Het verhaal van de zwerfhond
Article by Frans B. Verwayen
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Cha Zen ichi mi

Calligraphy by Arthur Witteveen
 
 
 
 
Cha Zen ichi mi – ‘Tea and Zen are One Taste’
 
 
Calligraphy by Arthur Witteveen
 
 
 
 
The writing of a Zen Circle (Ensō) as depicted in the first issue of this journal would, outside monasteries, typically be displayed in the context of a tea ceremony. Most Westerners nowadays are aware of the existence of the Japanese tea ceremony (cha-no-yu; lit. ‘hot water for tea’); its importance in the cultural life of the country is well illustrated by Alan Watts when he points out that ‘the chajin, or “man of tea”, is an arbiter of taste in the many subsidiary arts which cha-no-yu involves – architecture, gardening, ceramics, metalwork, lacquer, and the arrangement of flowers (ikebana)’. Instituted in monastic life in the twelfth century by Zen master Eisai, the tea ceremony entered the world of the rulers of Japan, the Shoguns, in the fifteenth century and from there filtered down into society very quickly. Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591) perfected the ceremony and is considered the father of the three main schools of cha-no-yu of today, the Omotesenke, Urasenke, and Mushakōjisenke. The tea ceremony thus forms a link between the religious and the secular world.
 
Through its procedures of utter simplicity, harmony and quiet concentration a person strives to arrive at a state of being completely in the ‘here and now’. The idea that this is considered one possible way of pursuing the Zen ideal of satori (‘enlightenment’) is expressed in the phrase Cha Zen ichi mi – ‘Tea and Zen are One Taste’.
 
 
References:
Okakura, Kakuzō, The Book of Tea, Tokyo: Tuttle, 1977.
Sadler, A.L., Cha-No-Yu: The Japanese Tea Ceremony, Tokyo: Tuttle, 1962.
Sotei, Akaji. Zen-Worte im Tee-Raume erläutert (chashitsu-kakemono ZENGO-TSUKAI), Hermann Bohner, transl., Tokyo, 1943.
Tanaka, Seno, Tanaka, Sendo and Edwin O. Reischauer, The Tea Ceremony, rev. edn, Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2000.
Watts, Alan W., The Way of Zen, Harmondsworth [etc.], Pelican Books, 1962.
 
 
A.Th. Witteveen LLM BA is currently a Research Master student of Chinese Studies at Leyden University. He started his study of Sinology after his retirement as a First Secretary of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He has been practising Chinese calligraphy for some thirty years; in 2002 he wrote, at the request of the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Druk- en Boekkunst (Dutch association for printing art and book art), De dans van het penseel. Een korte inleiding tot de Chinese Calligrafie (‘The Dance of the Brush: A Short Introduction to Chinese Calligraphy). He has the 10th dan in his Japanese school of calligraphy, the Nihon Shodō Bijutsu-in.
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