Chado, the way of tea, is uniquely Japanese as it incorporates all of that country's cultural elements - flower arrangement, calligraphy, pottery and ceramics - into one art form. The practice was first developed in the 16th century by Sen Rikyuu, a Zen Buddhist priest.
The four principles of tea are wa, kei, sei jyaku or peace, respect, tranquility and respect. Much like Zen, it is a form of meditation which emphasizes living and enjoying the moment. For example, the Samurai or Warrior Class utilized it to focus and steady ones' self before battle.
Chado has been used by religions such as Zen Buddhism but is not a religious practice. When Christianity was outlawed in Japan, Christian practitioners used Tea Ceremony as a means of disguising communion. Even now, Japanese Tea Ceremony Gardens can be seen designed in the shape of the cross.
Today, Chado has found a very important place in modern American life. It emphasizes simplicity and calmness rather than our busy multitasking schedules. It teaches us the joy of sharing one moment of peace with others through a bowl of tea. If you chose to share this path with us, you will begin a journey of tranquility and will not only experience the various elements of the Japanese culture but learn some of the language and history as well.
Please share with us peace through tea.