|Zen Tea Master Kaji Aso, holding a bowl of tea.|
It has been noted that in ancient Japan there occurred a splendid fusion of Zen's spirit with art & everyday life; Zen infused activities such as the tea ceremony, flower arrangement, swordsmanship, calligraphy and playing the bamboo flute, as well as going into the creation of moss, stone and dry gravel gardens and architectural space.
Thus Zen and artistic experience, as well as some of the training in martial arts, really became one.
Obviously, this led away from the "book Zen" of the Chinese Song era literati and the "koan" Zen of professional monks.
Harmony between human beings is attained only through a spontaneous sympathetic understanding, not by way of rules and laws, though these may be established later and prove useful.
This harmony is achieved to the finest and subtlest degree in the tea house during the tea ceremony because it is the spirit of the host and guests revealing itself sympathetically as luminous presentness in the sharing of enjoyment of a sip of tea. As Master Kaji Aso decribed it, "One Meeting, Full of Friendship."
The Buddha is your living awareness. The tea ceremony heightens every aspect of awareness within a relaxed mood and an atmosphere of refined simplicity.
Western philosophy began with the question, What is the primary, or original thing?
In Zen the primary or original thing is the spirit, mood or experienced quality of a given situation, as creatively grasped and communicated through the interaction between the hearts of living beings.
This is why the simple and exquisite experience of the tea ceremony can be a manifestation of Bodhi.