Also known as chanoyu, commonly refers to the Japanese tea ceremony, a spiritual and aesthetic discipline for the understanding of how to "do", and how find "the way" of "chado" that means "the way of tea".
The tea ceremony is centered on the activity that the host spend together with the guest. The aim is to serve to him an unforgettable moment with a cup of tea in exchange of his gratitude responds, realizing both that shared time togheter can never be repeated, and that it is an opportunity of "once in a lifetime".
Urasenke has long been active in promoting worldwide understanding and appreciation of chado, so that the spirit of this 'way,' symbolized by its ideals of Harmony
Invented by SEN Rikyu, having been grown on Japanese soil, "the way of tea" is the quintessence of Japanese aesthetics and culture. The principles behind this art of living are harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. These are universal principles that, in a busy world like ours today, can guide us towards the realization of true peace.
The tea plant probably originated in the mountainous region of southern Asia, and from there was brought to China. At first it was used as a medicine, but by the Tang dynasty (618-907), it came to be drunk mainly for the enjoyment of its flavor.
The Japanese "tea route" dates back 500 years, and Genshitsu Sen was head of the Urasenke school. Having survived World War II, he sees tea as a powerful force for peace. In December 1943, he entered the Japanese naval air service. He had a box and some tea with him. Everyone knew that and in their uniforms they sometimes sat cross-legged and like the war-time samurai he was there, making tea for these warriors. Then, in April 1945, the Tokushima division of the air service was assigned to the kamikaze units. When it happened, a comrade said, "Ok, Sen, I guess this is my last cup of tea." As he drank, he said, "Sen, i wish to come in your teahouse and share a cup of tea with you again." That memory, after all these years, still remained vivid to Genshitsu Sen , and that was when he realized that they would never come back home.
In the end, with much luck Sen he was transferred. If it had not happened now it would be at the bottom of the sea, dead.
More than 70 years have passed since the end of the war and today, every single day, with shame in his heart, Sen puts his hands in prayer for all his friends he lost.
He hears their voices in the sky, telling him, "Hey, make sure we did not died in vain, do you understand?" And that's why today Master Sen is still very determined to tell the world that with a cup of tea and the Way of the Tea (Chado) we can still try to prevent war and bring peace. This is what he has always wanted to do.
Sadou, chadou or even cha-no-yu--as it is often called--is the beautiful, meditative, and serene Japanese ritual of ceremonial tea. It's also a life's work for those attempting to master it. But one can never master sadou because it is an on-going meditative practice and there is actually nothing to master except the mind itself.
With three main schools of practice, Urasenke is the most well-known. The other two main schools are Omotesenke and Mushakoujisenke. These three are known as the san-senke, and have lineage to the so-called founding father, Sen Rikyu. Many other schools exist but aren't known as "senke".
Created by a Zen Buddhist priest named Ikkyu, it was his student, Sen Rikyu (Sen-no-Soueki Rikyu Kouji) who perfected the tea ceremony by refining it into rustic simplicity: Meaning no-frills which could hinder the path to enlightenment. This concept has reverberated into modern architecture, seen in breathtaking homes with beautiful floors, walls, sliding doors, and interiors containing nothing but a vase of flowers. Even a photo of a Japanese interior exudes calmness, which works its magic on you from the pages of a magazine or coffee table book.
It is Sen Rikyu who is often regarded as the father of the tea ceremony, and not Ikkyu. Sen Rikyu is also said to be the father of "wabi-sabi", or imperfect beauty; and what many in the Western world consider as "old stuff", missing the point completely.
The tea ceremony was first used as a meditative practice. It wasn't about the tea at all. The ritual was about mindfulness, simplicity, and respect for the self. The main purpose of Zen, and of the tea ceremony, is to eliminate the unnecessary in life (and we could all use a little bit of that!). After all, the ritual consists of nothing more than "the simple act of boiling water, making tea and drinking it", to quote Sen Rikyu. As the greatest tea master of all time, he believed that if we all did a bit of navel gazing, we would realize that our human lives are filled with a plethora of ridiculous and superfluous thoughts, cluttering our minds and causing confusion. To get back to basics by boiling water, making tea, and sipping it we are helping rid ourselves of fantasy and illusion, enabling us to live a more harmonious and balanced life.
Westerners are curious about the tea ceremony because it is just so unlike anything we know or do. But mostly what attracts Westerners is the beauty, serenity, and tradition of the ritual and only a few do it to drink the tea. The ceremony incorporates special handmade instruments used in a choreographed ritual with theatrical precision that centers the mind. Exquisite hand-made bowls are adorned with the finest tea in Japan, whisked into a frothy three-sip gesture of respect.