Let us take note of something that experience – of whatever extent – of being a Tea-guest can actually teach us all, about living in this world gracefully as good customers.

It was written by a close friend of the Founder of this School (Lord Enshū). The writer was also a spiritual director sought out by – among a multitude of others – the famous samurai-swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, and a guest often welcomed by the supremely-powerful Tokugawa family, the heads of which were shōgun, or military dictators, appointed by the Imperial Household.

153rd Abbot of the Daitoku Zen Motherhouse, he is now known by his priestly name, Takuan Sōhō Zenshi. What he wrote is this.

You, yes you     born into this world
so long as you     keep enduringly in mind
that you are here     come as its guest
hardship need never     prove to be your lot
Whenever a meal     that this world provides
tastes to you good     of course praise it well
When another does not     you are here as guest, so
address it with just     as great a gusto
The heats of summer     bear you must, and
since you are here as guest     winter’s rigours alike
Once you recast those unruly     fruits of your loins
as fellow-guests alike     living in amity
shared with them all     will surely result
Do but this and     when you must take
your final farewell     this you will find you complete
without need to repent     or endure regret

One more thing

And I have one thing more to add. When things go wrong, and thus disappoint you, ask yourself just this question:

Haven’t I, somewhere in my past, effectively chosen this?

Seriously considering your answer to this can often prove … surprisingly restorative. And what is this but, in another form, the following Tea-principle?

As host any guest’s blunder
is ultimately one’s own
As guest     any accident caused
by your host is the fault     of you and your fellows

Good customers

Being mindful of the needs of others is the key to being good customers. It doesn’t matter whether you are on the serving side, or on the receiving side. We create each occasion together. Consideration and collaboration are key to the successful conclusion of an event, occasion, and of life itself.

Click here to read more on how you can show good behaviour at a traditional kaiseki meal.

Tyas Sōsen

Tea has become a way of life, and a way of viewing the world we live in. I have learned to be more appreciative of the things we have, respectful towards other people, have more reverence for our natural environment, and am more able to be present in the current moment.

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