Stop being so tedious!
What a great take of the excruciatingly precise etiquette that can go into a cup of tea!
To be sure, the clip is more about sencha than sado, but the message is easily transferred.
Being able to see the forest from the trees is number one for communicating sado to cultures not familiar with it. Helping people integrate the spirit of sado to beautify their everyday lives - this is the biggie. Being a stickler about etiquette when people can't see the purpose behind it is only a turn-off.
After a fun look at tea in The Japanese Tradition clip above, I've got a great opportunity to communicate the thought behind the seemingly tedious etiquette that goes on at a tea gathering. There are two big reasons:
1. Harmonising mind and body
Zen teaches understanding is grasped by transcending logic or form. But it also reminds us the world we live in is one where spirit is expressed in forms. You assume a posture (form) for meditation, eating, driving, working at your desk, walking . . . think of the forms you assume everyday. Whatever the form, zen is right on the money when it says the mode of your mind is corrected by putting your body into the correct form.
I am more productive and think clearly when I sit with a straight posture. My mind gets lazy when I slouch. I bet you have the same experience.
When your mind moves in harmony with the forms of your body you are in pure presence (mushin). Being purely present with mind and body moving as one is the ultimate goal of performing the tea ceremony.
2. Transcending your self
Reverence is a reflection on your own unworthiness. ("We're not worthy! We're not worthy!" Wayne and Garth prostrate to rock gods.) Reverence comes from realising your limitations, physical and intellectual, moral and spiritual. The realisation evokes a desire in us to transcend ourselves.
The actions in a tea ceremony room have been practiced in the same form for over 400 years. In my tradition, the Ueda Soko Tradition, we turn the tea bowl just once to the left to offset the face of the bowl. The Urasenke Tradition turns the bowl twice; a full 180 degrees so the face is opposite from where you drink.
It doesn't matter whether the bowl is turned once, twice, or three times. What's important is standardising the practice (within respective traditions).
By standardising the practice the student sees their teacher perform the action exactly the same way each time. All the other teachers of the school perform the action the same way, too. And the teachers' teachers also performed the action the same way and so-on for centuries.
So when the student is turning the bowl, the teacher is turning the bowl and the teacher's teacher is turning the bowl. The sense of tradition in the action makes the behaviours no longer the student's own. It opens the student's integrated mind and body to an integration transcending the self.
When we transcend our self we feel reverence. Feeling reverence cultivates other virtues like respect, humility and charity. These virtues bring harmony into our interactions with other living things.
They're deep, but thems the reasons. Can you see us tea types have a solid chunk of zen thought behind our weird ways?
By conforming to standardised forms I feel the most beautiful harmony: the harmony of being in the present moment with integrated mind and body. This beautifies my everyday life by taking it out of the tea room and transferring to other forms I assume in my daily living.