Chapter Number One: Seiza is Not the Only Proper Way (Part 2)

Tate-hiza of Teamasters

The number one hurdle when one decides to study the procedures of tea, is for everyone one’s feet falling asleep. In deciding to study traditional Japanese ettiquette, because there are many people who think, “It won’t do if I can’t endure seiza” even this modern common sense to prepare to cultivate the bodily ability to be able to do it at least temporarily is safer. However, pursuing the (course of) the history of the ettiquette of ritual tea, it appears that seiza was not always the correct basis. I hope we can have a correct appreciation of this thing.

Sekishuu-ryuu tea ceremony’s founder, a man called Katagiri Sekishuu, was once the shogun’s tea ceremony instructor. In the 5th year of Kanbun (1665), in the age of the 4th shogun, Ietsuna, one the chance of being invited as the tea ceremony instructor to the Shogun’s house, he presented an instruction book about chanoyu. Entitled “Sekishuu Sanbyaku Kajou (300 articles)”, the beginning this book in article 2 was dedicated to an item about the body’s arrangement and posture when making tea called “Mi no Kane (The Standard Position)”.

Not considering (things) from the modern common sense of tea ceremony, the proper way of sitting during chanoyu in those days was in “tate-hiza”: sitting with the the right ankle under the behind on the tatami and the left knee standing up. The tea of Sekishuu was handed down to Kuwayama Souzen from Doan, the eldest son of Sen no Rikyu, and article number three in the “Sanbyaku Kajou” has the next sentence about sitting.

(This is) is my objection about the sitting posture of Doan.

About this one article, according to Seki-shuu School Mito Karou Convention, in “The Teachings of Tanaka Sohaku, Sekishuu Sanbyaku Kajou” that was published, this summed up the explanation:

As for the posture of the temae and also the proper position, rather than doing the temae in a stiff posture that captures a (formal) form, it is better to do the temae in a posture that matches your own body, that is to say, a natural posture.

Because the person called Doan was a person attentive to nutrition, he said that (rather than?) sitting in tatehiza where the stomache presses the knee to the extent it grows fat (we should) sit in the position of tate-hiza with the right foot in tailor fashion to do the temae. Because now as in the past there are all sort of instances where people can’t cannot easily subdue to correct position, especially because (it was) in the instruction book of the shogun’s company, it won’t do if we don’t have the concern that it won’t work to make (someone do) the impossible. In there, even if (we) temporarily decide the proper way of sitting, we can easily realize the thing of being broad-minded concerning sitting in a different way.







この一条について、石州流水戸何陋会によって刊行された『田中素白師伝 石州三百箇条』には、



道安という人は栄養が行き届いた人で、「立て膝」で坐ると腹が膝につっかえてしまうくらい太っていたらしく、右足を胡坐のようにした「立て膝」の姿勢で点前をしていたという。正しい型に容易には従えない人それぞれの事情があるのは今も昔も同じことのようで、とくに将軍相手の指南書では、無理をさせてはいけない という配慮もしなければならなかったことだろう。そこには坐り方の作法を一応定めながらも、容易に応じて ちがう坐り方をも 柔軟に許容する懐の深さがあったことがわかる。