The warmer weather of May can refresh the soul and easily coax people out of their homes. Everyone seems to have more energy this time of year–what a great time to try something new! On that note, I’d like to introduce you to Buke-sado or “Samurai Style Tea Ceremony”. Buke-sado was born in the Sengoku period (c. 1467 ~ c. 1603) and it’s all about nature and simplicity centered around the spirit of Zen. The simple elegance of the actions refresh our minds and even have healing power.
If you’ve experienced a tea ceremony before, you might be surprised by the lack of complexity in Buke-sado. First, you don’t have to wear a kimono to attend. Second, when you’re served tea, you are only expected to rotate the cup slightly to the side before drinking. This is unlike the complicated rituals of other schools, where you have to hold the tea bowl up and scan the artwork it’s adorned with or greet the person next to you with “Osakini” before you take your sip.
Nakamura Nyosen, head master of Kogetu Ensyu Zen School of Tea Ceremony, has taken it upon himself to spread the word about this unusual style of tea ceremony. Watching Nakamura making tea, I felt as if I were watching some traditional performance of Noh or karate. He tread lightly on the tatami mat, softly shuffling his feet, then swiftly reached for the ladle just like a samurai reaching for his sword. The motions were simple, minimal, and disciplined. Just sitting in my upright position and observing his actions, I felt at ease.
According to Nakamura, just like martial arts, tea ceremony also requires focus on your tanden or solar plexus chakra (basically your center of energy) to maintain balance. “Samurais made tea and drank it for energy before taking the battlefield. I want everyone to train their tanden and get in touch with their spirit through tea ceremony,” he says. Nakamura is based in Yokohama and offers classes and workshops throughout Japan. Suzuki Yukio, CEO of Yokohama Canvas Bag, is one of Nakamura’s students and Nakamura serves tea at Suzuki’s shop on Kaigandori several times a year. To learn more on this unique art of tea ceremony, visit the website below.
Kogetu Ensyu Zen School of Tea Ceremony Head Family