2. The Yin and Yang of a Chakai

Rikyu said that in a sukiya tea room, the concept behind the first and second seating is that the first half is yin and the second half is yang, and that is an important rule. During the first seating, a scroll is in the alcove, the strength of the kettle’s fire is weak, blinds are in the window. Various things give the seating the feeling of yin. Both the host and guests, have that heart. During the second seating, flowers are arranged, the kettle is boiling, the blinds are removed, and everything has the feeling of yang. Although this is an important rule, this can be altered at the tea master’s discretion, depending on clear or cloudy weather, the temperature and humidity. For example, when the weather is gloomy, one can remove the blinds, open the skylight, or have flowers arranged, even during the first seating. However, we must not think in the least that it is now yang. Since of most importance is the condition of the fire, it is from that we should say yin or yang. And in such times, the second seating is never considered yin. We should base it upon the aforementioned condition of the fire.

There are two elements (ie. yin and yang) between Heaven and Earth. During the hot Spring and Summer seasons, there are rather cold days, and during the cold Autumn and Winter seasons, there are warm days. Nevertheless, we do not say Autumn is Spring, nor do we say Winter is Summer, despite the variations within one season. So Rikyu said. Dairin and Shourei were at that seating and hear him say it too. Indeed, they admired him, saying he possessed a state of intuitive enlightenment and his tea was of great wisdom.