On February 17th, The Tallahassee Chan Center was honored to host a performance of Cha No
Yu (the Japanese Tea Ceremony). The ceremony was presented to an audience of about forty
attendees by Ms. Nishida Umejo. She visited us in Tallahassee from Gyokusen-en, the Nishida
family garden in Kanazawa, Japan. Ms. Nishida is a regularly published haiku artist and tea
master in the Urasenke Chado lineage.
Ms. Nishida was joined in presenting the ceremony by her daughter, Chiho, who is married to
our teacher Guo Gu. Their daughters Zea and Zoe also joined them in the presentation. Tea was
served to Guo Gu and several others who attended the showcase. In honor of the event, Guo Gu
also created a calligraphy piece from Case 19 of The Gateless Barrier where we get the phrase
“ordinary mind is the way” which was on display for guests to enjoy.
After a short talk from Guo Gu, Ms. Nishida offered an introduction where she explained that the
tea ceremony in Japan is deeply connected to Chan and Zen Buddhism. She told us that its
origins are connected to the famous Japanese Zen teacher, Eisai. In accordance with the spirit of
the Zen tradition, the aim of the tea ceremony is deeply meditative. It asks practitioners to simply
experience the simplicity of a moment of drinking tea. Through the experience of tea, the
ceremony channels the principles of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.