I got a little carried away with Oribe's 100 Lines this month. I had to cross-reference with the Kōshōji Temple and the Kurita-shi manuscripts for a couple of the lines to see if I could get hints of their meaning. This made me want to get onto these documents real fast. I intend to bore through the rest of the Tokyo National Museum manuscript (the current translation) so the comparative studies can begin.
The overwhelming message of this instalment of teachings is that the placement of utensils used to be a lot freer than it is in contemporary tea practice. For example in line 15:
The placement of the thin board (usu-ita) differs slightly according to the flower vase (hana-ire), and since there are many variations in vases, the possibilities for placing the thin board in the alcove are as numerous as there are grains of sand on a beach.
The discernment and judgement of the practitioner is emphasised in these lines. Guidelines are there, but there need be a healthy dose of practical wisdom to bring them to life.
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- Adam Wojciński, Paris
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