Yesterday I received news a great teacher of mine had passed away. This sensei made me who I am today. Being far away from Japan in Melbourne, feelings of helplessness uselessness well up. But when thinking of what would really be the best thing I could do for sensei, making tea fun; bettering myself through chanoyu; and devoting myself to perfecting chanoyu seems the best offering. So for this morning’s practice I performed kencha (dedication tea) and served my sensei matcha from the heart. The people of Ueda Ryu are pretty passionate about tea. But even among this crowd, sensei was of the most passionate. Each day going forward, with each bowl of matcha I serve to people, may I transmit the passion for chanoyu my sensei held and taught me.
‘Ikkyo’ means ‘one parts / one leaves / one gone’ and ‘ichirai’ means ‘one comes / one arrives / one welcomed’
So as something leaves us, so to another comes along. ‘Ikkyo ichirai’ is a vague phrase, but one that’s filled with suggestive meaning, and open to many levels of interpretation.
Spring comes, spring passes.
We enter summer, then transition to autumn.
Autumn passes and then comes the winter.
All this is ‘ikkyo ichirai’.
An elderly person passes away, but a baby is born;
As the stars of the night fade, up rises the sun.
This is also ‘ikkyo ichirai’.
Ikkyo ichirai can be a very philosophical way to observing the comings and goings of the world around you. The cycles of Mother Nature, the vicissitudes of human life, the pain, sorrow, the delight, and joy all take on a more tranquil appearance when viewed through the accepting, objective lens of ‘ikkyo ichirai’.
In the first week of May 2012 my chanoyu sensei passed away, and my dear friend whom I share all my deepest thoughts had her first baby ‘Hana’ (meaning 'blossom').