Ichi-go Ichi-e is the esteemed Japanese idiom that expresses the fleeting beauty of passing time. With respect and acknowledgment, it implies that each moment, each meeting, is different, and can never be repeated again. A glimpse of this seasonality can be gleaned through the quiet spectacle of blooming and falling cherry blossoms each spring. Its significance extends to the ritual of Chadō, the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
As the trees grew heavy with vibrant pink blossoms, wafting their sweet scent in anticipation of the seasonal festivities, we had the distinct honor of sitting down with Ms. Yasuko Takahashi, esteemed Chadō artist from the Urasenke Foundation. Together, we embarked on a philosophical journey to deconstruct the elements of Chadō, the Japanese Tea Ceremony, with ephemerality as a central theme of focus. We shared a meditation on the elements that bring harmony to the tea ceremony, led by the masters of each fine craft. The result is an audio-sensory experience evoking the meditative tranquility of the tea room.
The following is a guide to the Japanese Way of Tea written by Ms. Yasuko Takahashi and translated to English from its original form.
The five wisdom we talk about here are: (1) Having a peaceful mind [and heart] to maintain harmony, (2) treating people equally, (3) seeing the world without having any prejudice, (4) dedicating yourself to others, and finally, (5) being honest and true to yourself.
As you learn more about Japanese culture, you will realize that it often portrays life and death, immortality and mortality, nature and culture. Thus, we appreciate our life and work hard on improving ourselves as we realize that nothing stays the same.