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.




I say this again, the depth of chanoyu is in soan style. The formal shoin and daisu style tea is a worldly style with strictly arranged manners. Although the small thatched room and the feel of the garden path try to be based in orthodox kane, in the end, they are different from the kane. They forget the techinique and return to the wordly style with a tasteless spirituality. Speaking of this, those chajin who are in thier prime of life or with much free time do not know things they should know, especially spiriturality. As for not being scrupulous about the treatment of utensils, that should be considered inappropriate. In reality, techinique and principle are not seperate things. If you practice the principles truly, then you will be practicing the heart. If you practice the heart truly, then you will be practicing the technique. Even though the technique might be done well, if the heart is yet lacking, then the technique will also be lacking in refinement. Even though the heart might be accomplished, if the technique is lacking, then the heart is not yet fully refined. This is a level that Buddhism can deeply understand as well, it is said.

カヘスゞゝ茶ノ湯ノ深味ハ草菴ニアリ、真ノ書院台子ハ各式法儀ノ厳重ヲトゝノヘ、世間法ナリ、草ノ小座敷、露地ノ一風ハ、本式ノカネヲモトゝスルトイヘドモ、終ニカネヲハナレ、ワザヲ忘レ、心味ノ無味ニ帰スル出世間法ナリ、カクイヘバトテ、壮年又ハイトマアル茶人、心味ダテヲシテ、知ルベキコトヲ知ズ、取アツカイフツゝカニテハ 不相応ノコトナルベシ、実ハ事ト理ト別々ニアラズ、事熟スレバ心熟シ、心熟スレバワザ熟ス、ワザハ能スレドモ心イマダ至ラズト云ハ、ワザモイマタ妙処ニ至ラザレユヘ也、

However, how one learns should differ according to the person. There were ancients who mastered writing exquisite informal characters, semiformal characters, and kana characters. They were so skilled in writin exquisite informal, semiformal, and kana characters, that they could, although untrained, discern the true nature of the charaters. Their inner meaning is the same, no matter what point one started learning: starting with the formal characters, the informal characters, the semiformal characters, or starting from the kana. Where one enters from should follow the disposition of the person. Thus, the elderly and the secular should most certainly only begin learning from the formal. After he has finished tempering his mastery of the art of the shoin daisu, then he should begin to intently study Soan style tea. The meaning of soan style tea cannot be attained in one lifetime.Those who teach should well consider this. Just as the saints pray for all people, respond to the large or small workings (of a person’s heart) and suddenly, gently there will be a beckoning path. Rather than trying to understand the handling of all the various utensils and so on, it is a mistake to fuss over these things.

Even merely a host, merely a guest on the soan path can learn all the important principles from start to end. With utensils too, he can decide on one or two, collecting those appropiate for his own possession after discussing it with his teacher. Those elderly or secular can remember how to place utensils, align the kane, and handle utensils entirely. On top of this, if you deeply comprehend the true heart (of tea), your studies will advance and soon it will be Tea. This should be different from how one studies the shoin style.


For example, if one is versed in writing formal characters, however freely one might mangle them when writing semi-formally or informally, their true nature is not changed. But if one has only learned the informal kana, the strokes are written differently, and places where the character’s true nature is lost are many. First and formost, the ability to write characters formally should be tempered.


This is a bit from the Sumibiki (Crossed-out) chapter of the Nampouroku (The Southern Record) on my favourite subject: kanewari!^_^

1. What are kanewari?
From the Shoin-style daisu to Soan-style tea, the number of kanewari has already been decided. Since nobody knows how it was decided which ruler to originally rely upon, it is quite a bother.
There is an approximate measure based on the order of heaven and earth. Adding doyo to the four seasons makes five. Adding the center to the four directions makes five. The day is divided into five from the hour of the dragon to the hour of the monkey. The night is divided into five hours. Yin and yang are each explained by five elements. A person, too, is divided into five body parts. Thus we have a ruler for establishing five kane from things such as these. There is no difference between large and small kane. There are five yang kane. Yang is what expresses the shape (katachi). The space between these five kane are six yin kane. Formally, we use the five yang kane. We don’t usually use the six kane. In Soan-style chanoyu, there are circumstances under which the yin and yang are used together, which is said to be based upon the formal daisu and formal shoin-style tea. This is based on the circumstances under which both yin and yang are used together with the shoin-style daisu. If one doesn’t understand what circumstances, mistakes will occur without a doubt. If one investigates the foundations of kane intimatly, one can use them freely however one likes, it is said.