Chapter Number One: Seiza is Not the Only Proper Way (Part 3)

My Naive Question About Seiza

Currently, we practice the tea procedure of Sekishuu style tea in seiza the same as the other schools. Even when attending a tea meeting organized by the teachers of the area, I have never seen tea done in a position other than seiza. Since a tea procedure can take a long time, often stretching close to an hour, everyone has their feet fall asleep when practicing, so it is even trying to stand that their feet will not move. This author has experienced this himself countless times.
Since the movements the temae already has itself are good, it might be that when participating in a tea seating as a guest, it is rather difficult for the feet one seated on. Occasionally, when I have at times been present in the seat of honour, I have told “dozou ohira ni” and been advised to relax my sitting position. For men, relaxing their position to agura (cross-legged) is not difficult because they wear hakama. But women, wearing kimono, can’t easily relax thier position. Attending a chaji and kaseki meal together, it is not rare to have to sit in seiza for three hours. Because of this, an elderly person doesn’t have such a kind chat as “my feet fell asleep”, but rather the knee joint becomes impaired and people give up on practicing tea are not a few.
As I advanced in my practice, it soon occured to me that I wanted to try and read the books written by the founder. When I perused the one volumn of the “Sekishuu Sanbyaku Kajou” that I received from the oiemoto, the first naive question that rose was about the feeling that one musn’t relax one’s position even enduring any pain in the knees, since wasn’t it that seiza was not the original position for chanoyu?
Doan, who felt the correct form of tatehiza obstructed a corpulent stomache should not be done, relaxed the form and went to a more convenient version of tatehiza. After that, even if one’s feet fall asleep, even if one’s knee joints are impaired, the idea became that “it is proper etiquette to not relax from seiza”. I am afraid that I have to say that the strong feeling in the age of Rikyu and Sekishuu was different.

正坐に対する素朴な疑問

現在、石州流茶道の点前は、他の流派と同じく正座で行われている。地方の先生方の主催する茶席に入ったときにも、正座以外の姿勢で点前が行われるのを見たことはない。茶の点前は永いものになると一時間近くかかるものもあり、手習いの頃は誰もがしびれを切らすもので、立とうと思っても足が動かなくなってしまうようなことは、筆者自身何度も経験している。
点前にはそれなりの動きがあるからまだいい方で、客として茶席に参加するときの方がむしろ足はたいへんかも知れない。たまに上座に押し出されたりしたときに、「どうぞお平に」と座崩すよう勧められることもあるが、男性の場合は袴を穿いているので胡坐に崩すのは雑作ない。しかし女性はキモノなので坐を崩すことは容易にはできない。茶事、懐石の双方を合わせれば、三時間正坐りっぱなしということも珍しくないから、年配の方になると、「足がしびれる」などという生やさしい話ではなくて、後々まで膝の関節に障害が残ってしまい、稽古を断念されてしまう方も少なくない。
稽古が進み、そろそろ流祖の伝書を読んでみたいと思い立ち、お家元から一冊譲り受けて『石州三百箇条』を繙いたときに、膝の痛みに耐えてまで「坐を崩してはならない」という感覚は、本来の茶の湯の姿ではないのではないか、という素朴な疑問がまず浮かんだ。
肥満体のお腹がつっかえて正式な「立て膝」のできなかった道安は、崩した形の「立て膝」で手前を行っていたとされている。それからすると、足がしびれても、膝に障害が残ってでも、「正座を崩さないことが礼儀である」とする考えは、残念ながら利休や石州の時代とはずいぶん感覚がちがうといわなければならない。

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