Tea served with heart

Once Rikyu took two disciples to have tea with an old man, quite poor, who made exquisite iron tea kettles.

The man’s hut was shabby, his utensils inferior and mismatched, his tea not of the best quality. His hands shook as he performed the ceremony, and at one point he even dropped the tea scoop.

Walking home with Rikyu, the two disciples couldn’t help but draw attention to all the man’s short comings as a host.

Rikyu upbraided them, saying, “His tea was superb. He used his best utensils, gave us his best tea, and served us with all the sincerity of his heart. He is your master.”

Many though there be
Who with words or even hands
Know the Way of Tea
Few there are or not at all
Who can serve it from the heart

Though you wipe your hands
And brush off the dust and dirt
From the tea vessels
What’s the use of all thus fuss
If the heart is still impure?


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