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Portable meditation seat available in SweetPersimmon Store

Our portable meditation seat is featured in our store.  Small, compact with its own carry case that doubles as a seat cushion, the seat is perfect for the tea room to relieve pressure on your ankles.

It is popular with tea students as it is small and unobtrusive in the the tea room.  It comes in 5 colors: red, green, blue, white and yellow, as well as natural wood.

We use sustainable wood and milk paint that is good for the environment.  I hope you will enjoy using it as much as we did designing and making it.

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Learning to trust again

I have been working with a good man who has helped me redo the website.  In the process of working together, I have learned to trust again.

The last couple of times I hired a web designer, I felt abandoned with a broken website after they changed some things I didn’t understand, or like last year wiped out the whole site with a “clean install.”  These characters didn’t return my panicked phone calls and I didn’t know how to restore or fix what had happened.   The site has never worked right since last year.

But I am moving forward again and have established a trusting relationship with my new web designer.   He has helped me learn how my website is put together, and how I can change the things I need to.  We have worked through problems together and he says he’ll stick around to help me maintain it.  It only gets better from here.  Thanks Steve.

And if you’d like a referral to this great guy, send me a note via the contact us form, under the home tab above.

 

 

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The Tea Ceremony

The Tea Ceremony

http://www.samurai-archives.com/tea.html

A Brief History

Perhaps one of the most fascinating arts that has come to be linked with the samurai is the cha no yu, or tea ceremony. Few activities in general are quite as thoroughly refined and thoughtful and yet evolved through such troubled times. Complicated and yet utterly simple, at once straightforward and deep, the tea ceremony in many ways could be a metaphor not only for the samurai ideal but also for the land of Japan itself.

Tea was made popular in Japan during the early Kamakura largely thanks to the efforts of the monk Eisai (1141-1215); fifty or so years later the Zen monk Dai-o (1236-1308) returned from a visit to China and brought with him knowledge of the tea ceremony as it was practiced in Chinese Zen monasteries. Successive monks refined the art until the priest Shûko (1422-1502) presented a demonstration to the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa. Yoshimasa, already a man of the arts, took to the tea ceremony almost immediately and at this point the cha no yu began developing a secular following.

Initially, and unsurprisingly, the tea ceremony was an activity indulged by the nobility, as tea itself was primarily the elixir of the upper class at this time. This began to change with the advent of Sen no Rikyû. A man of merchant background from Sakai, Rikyû (known for much of his career as Sôeki) had been trained as a tea man in the elegant Ashikaga style; he would in time reject this school in favor of a very different approach. The nobility’s tea ceremony had been developed to cater to the sorts of individuals that partook of it, with elegant Chinese utensils and great pains taken to avoid offending any guests of higher status. In his own take, Rikyû substituted the pricey utensils with simple, practical ones, and replaced the expensive and often gaudy teahouses of the nobility with the Sôan, or ‘grass hut’ style teahouse. The only way into the tearoom of a Sôan was through a small door, the nijiriguchi, which was only some two and a half feet square. Guests therefore entered by crawling, a deliberately humbling device intended to create a sense of equality once inside.1 Rikyû intended for the tea ceremony to be an activity free from social and political trappings, though in this he was to be disappointed. As Rikyû was making a name for himself, the warlord Oda Nobunaga was also gaining fame through his steady expansion and at length came to meet Rikyû. An enthusiastic amateur tea man, Nobunaga made every effort to surround himself with men versed in the cha no yu, which by 1575 included Sen no Rikyû, Imai Sokyu, and Tsuda Sogyu. The great warrior also went to great lengths to secure valuable tea items, which he doled out from time to time as rewards to his generals.

Read more at the link above~~