Inside a Jar…

Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:00p

The weather changed dramatically for this weekend of tea in the barn. Still carrying the last tea ceremonies’ warmth in my heart, I was convinced that more tea in the barn was a good idea. And, though very cold, it was indeed a good idea, for my tea teacher, Roo came up to practice with me!

We did four temae: Chabitsu sou, Roo served me tea; Chabitsu gyuo, I served Roo tea; Chabitsu shi, Roo served two bowls of tea; and Chabako kakoi datte shi, I served two bowls of tea. If I am counting ceremonies, and I am, these are numbers 44-47 of this year.

With the barn closed up, we felt protected from the violent winds and heavy rain, but the 35 degree temperature we could not keep out. We practiced tea for several hours in our coats, hats, and many layers of leggings and socks.

The scroll was a gift to Roo from the temple of her tea teacher, Yamada Sensei. Roo translates here:

:壺中日月長, or “ko-chuu-jitsu-getsu-naga (shi).

The literal meaning is, “Inside a jar, time grows long.”

This saying is from a Chinese folk tale about (if understand correctly) a guy who somehow went into an old medicine-seller’s medicine jar (called a “tsubo” in Japanese–the shape is like the oblong thick-tea container used in tea ceremony). Inside the jar he found an enchanted world, and he was warmly welcomed by those who lived there. He thought he spent 10 days, but in fact when he emerged some 10 years had passed.

The Zen interpretation of this tale that is embedded in the saying on the scroll is that even when your circumstances are very narrow and restricted, if you have a correct attitude in your heart, you can be very comfortable and enjoy the passing of time.

Apropos of 2020.

With gratitude,