Ways of Zen: Sa-Dō and Sui-Boku-Dō

Sa-Dō, the Way of Tea

"Sa-Dō, the Way of Tea", the 15th Grand Master of the Urasenke-School says, "has to be learned through the movement of your own body and through your own experience. The wish to learn the Way of Tea has to come from the very depth of your heart. The most important aim of the tea exercise is to prepare and serve the tea at the right time without looking back, or to receive it in the same manner."

TZRiedingerHere at Mumon-Kai, the »First Zen Community of Berlin«, Sa-Dō is practiced since it was founded in1971. Initially, the preparation of tea in the tradition of the Urasenke-School was shown by the Japanese teacher Yoko Kawashima. Later, we were given tea lessons by Yohiko Harima, a representative of the Omontesenke-School. In 1984, Mieko Takeya, also a member of the Omontesenke-School, continued to give lessons in the Way of Tea

Since 1985, all members of the Sa-Dō group are also Zen practitioners in the »First Zen Community of Berlin«, Mumon-Kai. The tea practice is alternately led by the practitioners. Ursula Kotō Haußmann has been the head of the tea group since 1998. Her Zen practice began in 1984, her training of the Way of Tea began in 1986.

 

Japanese tea-ceremony carried out by KotōJapanese tea-ceremony carried out by Kotō

 


To put it briefly: The Mumon-Kai Rinzai-Zen Community has devoted itself to cultivating the Japanese Way of Tea for more than 40 years. Ever since the beginning, a Buddhist way is thereby offered to help practitioners rediscover harmony, respect, purity and stillness, leading to a world of peace and altruism, qualities that are regrettably lacking in our world of today.

Butsudan in the tea-room of Takujū-HouseButsudan in the tea-room of Takujū-HouseOur tea exercise is an ever-recurring effort to get to know oneself. There is no end to the training nor the Way. To discover, behind the world of phenomena, a suchness that transcends space and time is a mental process that practitioners of the Way of Tea call »Way«and Buddhists call »Zen«.

In this spirit, Sa-Dō is practiced in our Japanese tea room in the Buddhist Centre – the Takujū-House – once a month.

 

 

 

Sui-Boku-Dō, the Way of Ink-paintingRinzai-Zen monk Genpō while paintingRinzai-Zen monk Genpō while painting

How is it possible that a few fleeting strokes on paper can become alive as a fragrant flower, a rushing squirrel or rustling bamboo in the beholder's mind?

And how is it possible that just a subtle hint can have a greater effect on us, leaving us more deeply moved than any material phenomena do?

As practitioners of the Sui-Boku-Dō, the Way of Ink-painting, however, we do not ask such questions

Our dear friend Aoki Oshō-sama, Rinzai-Zen priest and ink painter, with Sōtetsu YūzenOur dear friend Aoki Oshō-sama, Rinzai-Zen priest and ink painter, with Sōtetsu YūzenWe simply paint. During our monthly ink Sundays (from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm) at the Kin-Mō-Zendō, we not only get to know the diversity of the motifs, but also experience body and mind in concentration and harmony - our Ego with its many desires, concerns and fears - and we learn to handle the materials and enjoy the refreshing second breakfast we share.

The Zazen exercise at the beginning and end of our ink-practice days helps us not to cling to the notion of wanting to create a "beautiful picture".

The more frequently we get to paint a picture undisturbed by an egocentric state of mind, the more inadvertently the motif appears all on its own.

This vividness, which cannot be produced by an Ego, is able to unite motif, painter, and beholder in a single moment left free of thoughts.

 

Fools of ink they are,
dipping their brushes deeply
into heart's wellspring.

S.Y.

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