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The Elements of the Tea Ceremony

With Misha Merrill

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A student once asked Tea Master Rikyu about the nature of tea ceremony.  He replied that it was just a matter of pouring water and whisking tea.  The student scoffed and said that anyone could do that, to which Rikyu immediately replied, “Show me the person who can just pour water and I will be that person’s student.”

    Using this story as the foundation, this two hour workshop will follow have two threads: the mindfulness practice inherent in the Zen arts (tea ceremony, in this case) and the experiential practice of actually learning to ‘pour water and whisk tea.’  After teaching both Zen meditation and tea ceremony for 20 years, Misha feels passionately about bridging the gap between sitting meditation and daily activity; the mindfulness practice that takes place during tea is the mid-point, being both meditative and active at the same time.

       Please join us in this ‘hands on’ workshop in which all the participants will learn the rudiments of making and serving tea using ‘tray service’ (tea implements on a tray with a teapot of hot water rather than using a brazier) and ‘picnic service’ (an informal tea ceremony used for moon-viewing, picnics, etc.).  It is Misha’s intention would be that by the time you return home, you can enjoy the mindfulness practice of making tea for without needing to know all the minute details of a complete tea ceremony.

       Children eight and older are enthusiastically encouraged to attend as practicing tea with Misha can be a magical childhood experience,  This is one family activity that can be learned at Jikoji and practiced at home.


About Misha

Misha Merrill graduated from college in 1976 with a degree in painting (watercolor/collages) and continued to show her work in small galleries for many years while earning a living as a graphic designer.

After ordaining as a Zen priest in 1988 with her teacher, Les Kaye Roshi, Misha spent a practice period at Tassajara Monastery. Upon her return, she searched for a community setting like the one she'd experienced in the monastery; quite by chance she ended up at Peninsula School in Menlo Park where she became the librarian, a position she has now held for 27 years.

At the same time, Misha continued her committed Zen practice with her teacher at Kannon Do Zen Center in Mountain View, California, finally receiving Dharma Transmission from him in 1998. In 1993, she became the primary teacher for Zen Heart Sangha in Menlo Park/ Woodside, a group that has been meeting continuously since that time.

In addition to her formal Zen practice, Misha began studying cha-no-yu (tea ceremony) in the Musha-no-koji-senke school in 1984 with Peg Anderson, Sensei. When this teacher died in 2000, she began studying with Richard Mellott, Sensei, and continues to do so to this day. She has also been teaching tea to others (including children) for over 15 years. ,

Art, gardening, teaching, tea, and her husband and animals are the crucial pieces of her 'pie'--meditation is her 'pie plate'!

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Earlier Event: November 23
Discussion: Art and Aesthetics
Later Event: December 28
Discussion Group: Science & Buddhism