Adamu Shachū's inaugural Australian Tea Retreat was conducted from the 17th to 21st October, 2018, on the country of the Cadigal people of the Eora nation.
Our practice of silence and attention honours the Aboriginal people of the land, who for millennia have cared for country and sustained a ceremonial practice that enacts the interdependence of all beings, past, present and future.
'Engage in movement that springs from, and evokes, the mystery.'
The theme of the retreat was 'chaji'. The retreat was conducted within the format of a Zen 'sesshin' (intensive period of meditation and samu practice).
'Create something transcendent so that you can merge with it here on Earth.'
Following the theme, we conducted a chaji every day. Pete woke us every morning at 6am, with the sound of the bell cutting through the fog, resounding through the gully and bouncing around the surrounding cliffs. We gathered in the dojo, practicing Tibetan yoga and techniques to integrate the body, breath, dōgu and 'ki' of our surrounds in the temae posture. We sat for 30 minutes of zazen and then cleaned the dojo and our living quarters - chanoyu starts with the cleaning cloth. After cleaning, the two hosts (working in pairs) commenced their chaji preparation with Adam. The others collected and arranged flowers before preparing to be guests for the morning chaji.
We chaji-ed it up in the house as the bush came alive.
'Leave space for your guests to breathe and intuit meaning.'
After lunch consisting of kaiseki leftovers, we enjoyed wood-fired showers and some integration time in deep Nature.
When we returned to the dojo, Adam gave a 'charma talk' (named after the 'dharma talk' usually given at sesshin). The topics were 'Mitate', 'Pre-Rikyu Chanoyu' and 'Yūgen'. The afternoon continued with group keiko.
We built a campfire in the evening, baked damper, had a drink or two and enjoyed conversation. There was time after dinner for more keiko with Adam for those who were up for it, otherwise free time to write those diaries and listen to some choons.
'The look of the other is the birth of the temae.'
'The form points to depths as profound as the other is capable of seeing.'
I feel like we discovered a new reverence in our practice. We created some real magic that will nourish our hearts both in and out of the tea room.
I look forward to next year's retreat with great joy and enthusiasm.
A special word of thanks to Pete for putting in extra hard yards behind the scenes to make the retreat a success.
"I feel I must have lay down some spiders silk in Gorrick's Run when I jumped back though the time and space, and this thread is running back from my tailbone, to the misty mountain and from there, beyond into an infinite place. I can feel the pulse of the deep silence and the nature moving along it. I hope it stays. Thank you for accepting me in your shachū, Thank you for evoking Yūgen. Thank you for the collective power and strength. Thanks for all the beautiful food, tea, laughs and love."
"I felt fresh and light and very present after the retreat. It was truly a strengthening and grounding retreat. I think I can still feel my own bit of spider silk floating along behind me too (what a gorgeous analogy, Becky). I very much hope we can do that again." - Steph
"On how a host should move, a wonderful restauranteur once told me 'the perfect maître d' should be like a swan - to the guests she glides effortlessly through the calm water of the lake, unbeknown to them that underneath the surface, her legs are working at great pace to propel her where she needs to go.'" - Hannah