Monday, November 11, 2013

24 Hour Tea x Zen - reflection #1

At 6pm Tuesday 5 November, Seikan and I completed a 24 hour tea and zen sesshin (sesshin is a long duration, intensive period of zazen meditation). The 24 Hour Tea x Zen was conducted with no food or talking, just Zen monk Seikan Czek and I doing our thing: he sitting in zazen, me sitting and performing the tea ceremony. People were welcome to enter the cubed space to partake of tea and sit zazen.

My first reflection is on the common themes that welled up in my mind心 during the 24 hours.

Here they are in no particular order:

1. The Seven Rules of Rikyu.

The Seven Rules of Rikyu are:
Make a delicious bowl of tea; lay the charcoal so that it heats the water; arrange the flowers as they are in the field; in summer suggest coolness, in winter, warmth; do everything ahead of time; prepare for rain; and give those with whom you find yourself every consideration.

I think to master these rules is to master life, a reverent life, a life where we find ourselves in constant contact with other human beings, animals, and Mother Nature.

Before the event I was concentrating on rules five and six. As it was a 24 hour event with a strict time schedule and no breaks, talking or food, it was critical to have everything prepared in advance, and to be prepared for rain and the cold night.

As people could enter the cube to freely partake of a bowl of tea and sit zazen, for the majority of the 24 hours I was concentrating on rules one and seven. These rules are concerned with cultivating the pure spirit inside you that serves a bowl tea without judgement, assumption, or reservation. Into each bowl of tea I poured my heartfelt sincerity, love, and reverence for life, believing that tea takes on the sentiment of the maker. I believed in everyone that entered the cube - believed that they would 'get' the spirit of tea and zen no matter what their knowledge, beliefs or state of consciousness (we had several guests affected by drugs and alcohol). To my delight, all people that entered the cube 'got' that tea and zen was a spiritual practice for deepening one's relationship with the self an others.

2. 'Big Time Sensuality' by Björk.

Björk is one of the central idols who influences the way I live and what I aspire to be. If more people were like Björk the world would be even more awesome than it is. A world of creative minds and sensual, soulful artists enriching their environments with art, giving, love, passion and honest smiles.

Every time I listen to Big Time Sensuality I get shivers. For me, it sings the truth of every second of life being a moment you are blessed to feel and influence your environment: 'I can sense it, something important is about to happen, it's coming up'. And then it happens! You're alive! And then the next moment: 'I can sense it, something important is about to happen, it's coming up' And then it happens! You're alive! And then the next moment: 'I can sense it, something important is about to happen, it's coming up' And then it happens! You're alive!

You get the picture - live every moment with an acute sense that right here, right now, matters. The person you are talking to is another person of irreducible value - give them all the love and respect you yourself deserve. Get joy from experiencing yourself in time.

As a bodhisattva wannabe of the backstreets devoting himself to Tea/Zen/Art, I often joke that the chorus of Big Time Sensuality is my life motto: 'hardcore and gentle, big time sensuality'.

3. 'The Triumph of a Heart' - another Björk song!

The triumph of a heart, that gives all - that gives all
The triumph of a heart, that gives all - that gives all
The triumph of a heart, that gives all - that gives all

4. The Heart Sutra. Especially my favourite parts:

There is no delusion, and no end to delusion.

There is no suffering, no cause of suffering, no end to suffering, no Way, no wisdom, and no attainment.


Form itself is emptiness; emptiness itself is form.


5. Lying naked with the person I love.

Yep, I'm a human being with carnal passion circulating through my blood after all.

Picture from manga 'Hyouge Mono'
by Yoshihiro Yamada / Kodansha


Photos by Ryo Yamauchi:

BlockTimeZazen & TeaDateActivity
18:00:00Zazen & Tea startMon 4 Nov
18:30:00Zazen & Tea finishMon 4 Nov
18:30:00kinhin startMon 4 Nov
18:40:00kinhin finishMon 4 Nov
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19:10:00Zazen & Tea finishMon 4 Nov
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19:20:00kinhin finishMon 4 Nov
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19:50:00Zazen & Tea finishMon 4 Nov
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20:00:00kinhin finishMon 4 Nov
20:00:00Zazen & Tea startMon 4 Nov
20:30:00Zazen & Tea finishMon 4 Nov
20:30:00kinhin startMon 4 Nov
20:40:00kinhin finishMon 4 Nov
20:40:00Zazen & Tea startMon 4 NovHeart Sutra
21:10:00Zazen & Tea finishMon 4 Nov
21:10:00kinhin startMon 4 Nov
21:20:00kinhin finishMon 4 Nov
21:20:00Zazen & Tea startMon 4 Nov
21:50:00Zazen & Tea finishMon 4 Nov
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23:50:00Zazen & Tea finishMon 4 Nov
23:50:00kinhin startMon 4 Nov
0:00:00kinhin finishTue 5 Nov
0:00:00Zazen & Tea startTue 5 NovHeart Sutra
0:30:00Zazen & Tea finishTue 5 Nov
0:30:00kinhin startTue 5 Nov
0:40:00kinhin finishTue 5 Nov
0:40:00Zazen & Tea startTue 5 Nov
1:10:00Zazen & Tea finishTue 5 Nov
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3:10:00Zazen & Tea finishTue 5 Nov
3:10:00kinhin startTue 5 Nov
3:20:00kinhin finishTue 5 Nov
3:20:00Zazen & Tea startTue 5 NovHeart Sutra
3:50:00Zazen & Tea finishTue 5 Nov
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4:00:00Zazen & Tea startTue 5 Nov
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6:30:00kinhin startTue 5 Nov
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6:40:00Zazen & Tea startTue 5 NovHeart Sutra
7:10:00Zazen & Tea finishTue 5 Nov
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7:50:00Zazen & Tea finishTue 5 Nov
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10:00:00kinhin finishTue 5 Nov
10:00:00Zazen & Tea startTue 5 NovHeart Sutra
10:30:00Zazen & Tea finishTue 5 Nov
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10:40:00Zazen & Tea startTue 5 Nov
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13:10:00Zazen & Tea finishTue 5 Nov
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13:20:00kinhin finishTue 5 Nov
13:20:00Zazen & Tea startTue 5 NovHeart Sutra
13:50:00Zazen & Tea finishTue 5 Nov
13:50:00kinhin startTue 5 Nov
14:00:00kinhin finishTue 5 Nov
14:00:00Zazen & Tea startTue 5 Nov
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14:40:00Zazen & Tea startTue 5 Nov
15:10:00Zazen & Tea finishTue 5 Nov
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16:30:00kinhin startTue 5 Nov
16:40:00kinhin finishTue 5 Nov
16:40:00Zazen & Tea startTue 5 NovHeart Sutra
17:10:00Zazen & Tea finishTue 5 Nov
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17:20:00Zazen & Tea startTue 5 Nov
18:00:00Zazen & Tea finishTue 5 Nov

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