Today, I’d like to talk more about what he was particular about in pursuing the beauty of SADŌ.
That strong preferences he had sometimes make people wonder why so much?
Now, let’s see some anecdotes which depict it well.
First, it was a story when RIKYŪ was invited to a morning tea ceremony.
Due to a strong wind earlier in that day, fallen leaves lay thick in an alley on the premises of a host of today’s ceremony.
The scenery itself was tasteful looked like a mid-forest, the host, however, swept up all the leaves before the gathering, then RIKYŪ said :
“For morning guests, sweeping up an allay by the evening in the day before, for daytime guests, by the morning, and for the guest after that, no need to sweep it up, which is what an expert should do.”
This will be interpreted that if the ceremony is scheduled in the morning, it is the best to clean it up by the evening before, so it is not good to sweep the allay several times before the guests come as it could give an impression of restless mind of host to the guests.
Likewise, when RIKYŪ himself held a tea ceremony, he is said to have ordered his man who had perfectly swept up an allay before receiving the guests to put some leaves on stepping-stones placed in the garden.
RIKYŪ asked his disciple to dare to give a minor flaw to his place which had been irreproachably clean, what was his primary purpose here?
His ultimate idea to entertain guests was “not to make the guests feel unease”.
Needless to say, everything from the ceremony room to the foods, should be prepared with a great care to receive guests, however, if the guests felt stiff as soon as they step into the premise, his mission to make the guests relaxed and enjoying the ceremony would end in failure from the beginning.
Another preference of RIKYŪ is clearly illustrated in the second story, which is the “aesthetics of cutting out the fluff”
One day, a morning tea ceremony was held by RIKYŪ during the season of “ASAGAO” (morning glories) fully bloomed in his garden.
While this gathering was called as “Tea Ceremony of ASAGAO”, RIKYŪ cut out all those flowers and decollated only a single ASAGAO flower in a vase placed in the tea room.
His men all became upset and wondered why he ruined the chance for the guests to be able to admire such beautifully blossomed hundreds of ASAGAO flowers which were adding gorgeous color to the garden.
However, soon after the disciples understood that RIKYŪ’s idea for the ultimate beauty to be found only in “the concentration”.
In the aesthetic sense of RIKYŪ, only by cutting out all those unnecessary things, the authentic beauty of the flower can appear.
As you can see from these two anecdotes, what RIKYŪ was particular about in SASŌ was to offer the best hospitality and entertainment in his particular manner – sometimes considered to be stubborn or too extreme, keeping what is known as the “neutral posture“.