What is tea ceremony?
That is a question that becomes harder to answer the more I
practice this ancient art. Paraphrasing something I once read
about Japan: When I first met Chanoyu I felt I could easily write a
book on it; after a few years of experience I was confident that I
could produce a solid chapter; now, alas,only a short paragraph.
My best attempt at an ever-evolving definition would be: Tea
ceremony is a way of being truly present to the moment and to
each other. It is neither spiritual nor secular; it is an everyday act
done carefully, respectfully and cleanly.
Tea practice emphasizes four principles that every one of us can
strive to incorporate into our daily lives: Wa (harmony or peace),
Kei (respect), Sei (purity), and Jaku (tranquility). In today's hectic
world these are all too rare.
When Sen no Rikyu , our first Grand Master, was asked to define
chanoyu he replied: "Tea is just this: boiling water, making tea
and drinking it." The astonished listener responded that anyone
could do that. "Then I will become his student!" Rikyu replied. In
the modern world where multi-tasking is the norm, we have lost
the ability to do one thing at a time with our full attention. Just this
simple act is enough to change our lives and open us in a most
Here at Gessha, tea ceremony is practiced in the Urasenke
tradition as passed on from teacher to student down through 16
generations. Our mission is to promote awareness of this art
through lectures and demonstrations and most importantly to
find students eager to learn chanoyu through lessons offered
weekly. I would be glad to share a bowl of tea with you.
Past demonstrations have included:
The Philadelphia Gallery of Art
Shofuso-En Japanese House
The State Museum of Harrisburg
The National Clock Museum
Owl Valley Garden Center
Zen Meditation Groups
Since study of tea ceremony embraces
almost all aspects of traditional Japanese
culture, talks are tailored around the
interests of your specific group. These may
include garden design, pottery, calligraphy,
poetry, architecture or cuisine. Many of our
demonstrations include hands-on
experiences for audience members.
Outdoor demonstrations are given at special
times throughout the year. We gladly travel to
your location. Especially delightful are
Flower-Viewing gatherings in the Springtime
when Cherry Trees are in blossom as well
as those in the Autumn in honor of full moon.
Gessha Through the Seasons