There are two well-known lists by Rikyū with which every beginner Unfortunately, in the modern world, many teachers (and even Iemoto) appear never to have heard of these teachings.should be familiar the Rikyū Shichi ka Jō [利休七箇條]¹, or Seven Lines of Rikyū, and Rikyū Sanjū-go (ka) Jō Ken-ki [利休三十五(箇)條嫌忌]², or Rikyū’s 35 Lines of Disagreeable Things. I posted these lists several months ago, but there is no harm in repeating them here.
¹This short text is also known by the alternate name of Rikyū Shichi Soku [利休七則], or Seven Rules of Rikyū. The Rikyū Daijiten [利休大事典] uses this name, while Suzuki Kei-ichi uses the name given above in his Sen no Rikyū Zen-shu [千利休全集]; the text translated below is taken from the Sen no Rikyū Zen-shu. (Suzuki states that he inspected an original Rikyū manuscript of this document, hence his text is definitive.)
²This document is sometimes referred to as the Rikyū Sanjū-go ka Jō Ken-ki no Yushi [利休居士三十五ヶ條の嫌忌の諭示]. Yushi [諭示] means an official suggestion or recommendation, or instructions to a subordinate (i.e., to someone lower in rank or standing than the author of the document). The version translated below is that given in the Rikyū Daijiten [利休大事典] (variant texts are known, but the differences are primarily orthographic in nature: the text of only one line — Line #20 — can be found to differ greatly between the different versions of this document).
In fact, the list contains 36 points, two of which are therefore somewhat illogically combined into one (in the version given below, the line containing two points is #7: 人事いう下げ巾着, which means discussing personal affairs [人事いう], and wearing a drawstring-purse dangling from ones obi [下げ巾着]; elsewhere, two other lines are combined into one, always in order to give a total of 35 lines).
[Two contemporaneous sketches of chabana created by Rikyū, representative of arrangements in his style: above, a hanging arrangement of yabu-tsubaki (藪椿), a red-flowered wild camellia, in an ichi-jū-giri; below, kōbone (河骨), the yellow-flowered spadderdock, which should always be placed on the floor of the toko;]
II. Rikyū Shichi ka Jō [利休七箇條]: the Seven Lines of Rikyū.
(1) Concerning the flowers, they should be like natural flowers [花は野の花のやうに].
According to Nishibori Ichizō [西堀一三, 1903~1970], this line refers primarily to the orientation of the flowers in the tokonoma — that is to say, flowers that we see in nature at or above eye level should be arranged in a kake-hanaire [掛花入] suspended on the back wall (or on the bokuseki-mado) of the toko, while those that occur naturally below eye level should be arranged in an oki-hanaire [置花入] placed on an usuita on the floor of the toko¹. (Naturally, as Oribe pointed out, ground-dwelling plants can be found growing on the sides of embankments, and as we walk on higher ground trees can be seen blooming below us at a lower altitude, so we should not simplify things by saying that tree-flowers should be hung and herbaceous flowers should be arranged on the floor of the toko; but we must never make the mistake of arranging any flower in a situation in which it can not be encountered in nature, such as hanging a pond-dwelling flower like the bright yellow kōbone [河骨], or spadderdock, in which Rikyū took so much delight, on the wall or in the window.)
(2) With respect to the charcoal, so that it boils and maintains the kama (to the end of the gathering) [炭は湯の沸くやうに].
As stated in the Hundred Poems states, an arrangement of charcoal that heats the kama efficiently and keeps it boiling to the end of the service of tea is what is meant by the idea of sumi for the tearoom. This, and nothing more.
(3) In summer, coolness [夏は涼しく].
This does not mean splashing water all over the place, dumping a tray of ice-cubes in the tsukubai, or using crystal vessels as the mizusashi and chawan to suggest ice, or any of the other rather childish tricks that people have come up with in recent years.
It does mean doing things like soaking the sudare in water so that the air blowing through them is cooled, growing well-watered morning-glory vines on cords suspended from the eves on the sunny side of the compound, refraining from putting the fire into the furo² until after the guests enter, and doing whatever else the host can think of to keep the guests from noticing the heat. The best way to really understand this line is to study the old kaiki and see what the masters did to effect a feeling of coolness even during the hottest time of th eyear.
(4) It should be warm in winter [冬を暖かに].
During the season of the ro, the fire should be laid at dawn, and during the sho-za the windows should be closed with paper covers to keep the lingering heat in the room until the kama returns to a boil again. Then, during the nakadachi, the covers over the shitaji-mado should be removed so that the room will not overheat³.
Also the chawan should be deep so the tea will not cool, and the host should not open the mizusashi (to cool the kama) until after koicha has been served. These things not only keep the room warm, but make the guests feel warm just by noticing them.
(5) Arrive earlier than the appointed time [刻限は早めに].
It is better for the guests to arrive early and then take a short walk around the neighborhood if the gate is not yet open to receive them, rather than come late and possibly ruin the host’s plans. As Rikyū said, a masterful host is one who carries things through to the end without wasting charcoal, so that the boiling of the kama begins to decline (but not fail) as the guests are leaving the room at the end of the go-za. If they are late, they may throw off the timing of even the most experienced host.
On the other hand, if the guests arrive before the host is ready to receive them, they should not impose on him, make demands even for accommodation, or do anything that will distract him from his preparations. This is as important as arriving early (and the guests must constantly bear in mind that they are early, and so not expect that the host will move things up to suit them just because they have arrived before the announced time). They should wait patiently and serenely, and respond to the host’s invitation to enter the room as if they had just that moment coincidentally walked in off of the street, without having waited at all. This is the deep meaning of this admonition, because it is this attitude that will help to insure the success of the gathering.
(6) Even when it is not falling, one should think about what to do if it rains [降らずとも雨の用意].
Preparing to receive ones guests should be done fully, without stinting or cutting corners. As Rikyū said time and time again, it is never wrong to be careful. Preparing for rain when it shows no sign of raining is what is meant by being careful.
(7) Be considerate to ones fellow guests [相客に心をつけよ].
Even though the gathering is planned for and around the shōkyaku, even though he is effectively the guest of honor (and the other guests are there just to keep him from becoming lonely, and assist him if need be) neither he, nor anyone else, should ever forget that they are all guests equally. At a gathering there is the host and there is the guest; at a gathering there is neither host nor guest: the pine-covered mountain does as host, the bright moon comes as guest — because this is the result of karma, there is no thought of holding fast or letting go, of attraction or rejection⁴….
¹What it does not say (again, according to Nishibori Sensei — who was the great scholar of the co-evolution of chabana and ikebana, as well as on the student-teacher relationship between the first Ike-no-bō Sōkō and Sen no Rikyū) is that only wild flowers — meaning flowers collected in the wilds (as opposed to even the same species that has been cultivated in the garden) — may be used in the chaseki. In the days of Jōō and Rikyū most (if not all) of the flowers used in the tearoom were in fact grown in the chajin's garden (or the garden of a friend), even if they were technically wild flowers (both Sakai and Hakata were walled city-states during this period, with no wild-lands incorporated into the very limited space available for residences inside, and often only limited access to the land outside the walls: transporting flowers from outside the walls would have been difficult, and likely result in a handful of wilting or dead weeds — and, according to the Hundred Poems, the practice of transporting flowers some distance from the mountains was actually discouraged by Jōō and Rikyū).
Wild camellias, in particular, come in red (the single-flowering yabu-tsubaki [藪椿]). White, and the even more highly-prized usu-iro [薄色], or pale pink, cultivars, were found only in gardens (new varieties often arising from hybridization occurring between the plants grown in shrubberies along the paths that lead up to the temples, from seeds that fell between the plants and germinated in situ:*).
*When Sōtan records that he received a camellia from one of the monks at the Daitoku-ji, what he is saying is that the monk sent him a cutting of the plant — with the flower attached to show what it was — with the intent that Sōtan plant it in his garden and cultivate the flowers himself. That Sōtan displayed the flower first in his tokonoma was to do honor to the monk and the beauty of the flower before subsequently putting it out in his garden. Sōtan’s garden, even in the days before he rose to prominence, was much more extensive than just the path that lead from the street to to the tearoom.
²In summer, Rikyū liked to receive the guests in a room in which the full set of washed charcoal was already arranged in the furo, with the hibashi resting on the shiki-ita, but without any fire. After the exchange of greetings, he brought out a haiki of shimeshi-bai in which the glowing shita-bi was arranged, and put this into the furo. Taking the haiki back to the katte, he returned with the dripping-wet small unryū-gama, that he placed on top of the now kindling fire….
On one occasion just after the end of the rainy season when it was simply too hot to sit indoors, Rikyū hosted a gathering in a boat beached on the bank of a fast-flowing mountain river. After the guests took their seats, Rikyū “loaded the hull” by adding the fire to the pre-arranged charcoal and then “lifted the anchor” to begin the voyage that was this gathering — the “anchor” was his small unryū-gama (with the lid sealed on with a paper tape dipped in rice paste so the kama would not overfill with water — that had been submerged in the stream with kan and tsuru all attached to the chain. Putting the kama on a ro-like sunken hearth in the middle of the boat, Rikyū made tea using the stream itself as both mizusashi and koboshi…. Ultimately, the best way to learn what this line means is by studying Rikyū’s kaiki, the records of gatherings that he hosted in the hot days that follow the rainy season.
³This is a side of the matter that is often overlooked by many modern people (since they are not familiar with the use of charcoal for heat). The room should be comfortable, but not overly hot — so that the host and guests begin to perspire, and the guests begin to feel lethargic or sleepy.
⁴青山作主明月來客 愚縁即應了無疎親. See the post entitled The Dew on the Chabana.
[The single character myō [妙], “wonderous,” written by Sen no Rikyū.]
III. Rikyū Sanjū-go Jō Ken-ki [利休三十五條嫌忌]: Rikyū’s Thirty-five Lines of Disagreeable Things
A. Carrying objects¹
(1) The sumitori and the mizusashi: carrying them as if they were boxes [炭斗水指両箱持]
Holding these things with the fingers spread and/or close to the body (as if carrying a heavy box).
(2) The chaire and the chawan: carrying them as if they were balanced on a scale [茶入茶碗天秤持].
That is, the two are carried side by side as if resting on a tray. Rather, one should be a little higher, and one a little lower.
B. Personal deportment in the tearoom
(3) While sitting, appearing to be floating on your buttocks [坐するに浮き尻].
Rocking from side to side (when your legs hurt) like a boat floating at anchor and swaying with the swell.
(4) Sniffling [鼻啜り].
If you need to blow your nose, use your kaishi (which was also called hana-gami [鼻紙], nose-paper, in the days of Jōō and Rikyū); don’t sit and sniffle.
(5) Wearing a self-conceited expression [われこそ顔].
Ware-koso [我こそ] means thinking only about oneself, hence wearing an expression of self-satisfaction or conceit.
(6) Speaking about (ones own) great achievements [功名話].
Telling about ones fame and achievements, especially when contrasting yourself with the host or others present at the gathering.
(7) Discussing personal affairs, and having a drawstring-purse dangling from ones obi [人事いう下げ巾着].
“Personal affairs” generally means financial matters; wearing a coin-purse dangling from ones belt smacks of affluence.
(8) Acting lethargic, or seeming to be sleepy [寢むら].
Particularly when nothing exciting is going on (such as when the host or one of the guests is telling a story), everyone should be attentive and never let their attention lapse (or, worse yet, yawn).
C. Matters connected with the hishaku
(9) Empty (hi)shaku [から杓]
Kara [空] means empty. Holding and moving the hishaku with the mouth of the cup inverted.
(10) Dead (hi)shaku [死杓].
Holding the hishaku so that the cup dangles downward, like a wilting flower.
(11) Oil (hi)shaku [油杓].
Raising and lowering the hishaku above the mouth of the kama (usually to make a drop of water fall off), like an oil-seller demonstrating the purity of his oil.
(12) Striking with the (hi)shaku [打杓].
Deliberately (or accidentally) hitting the futaoki or the mouth of the kama with the hishaku so that a click is heard.
Rikyū held that the weakest part of the hishaku is the place where the handle is inserted into the cup, and the host should take every care to prevent its being damaged (since it may then leak), and striking it hard against something is the easiest way to damage the join. (Dropping the handle onto the mat so that it bounces up and down several times is equally dangerous, and Rikyū said that this also should never be done.)
D. Matters connected with ones temae
(13) Spreading out the hand (so that it resembles a) ginger-root [生姜手].
The root of a ginger is a large rhizome with buds branching off on the sides. Here the reference is to holding the fingers out and spread apart. The fingers should always be kept together unless the action one is performing requires otherwise.
(14) Scratching the (bottom of the) chawan (with the tip of the chashaku or the chasen) [かき茶碗].
When the host spreads the tea out across the bottom of the chawan he should do it gently, not as if writing on the bottom of the bowl or scratching an itch with an audible sound.
Likewise, when making tea, whereas it is necessary for the chasen to touch the bottom (or a lump of matcha may remain in the middle of the cha-damari), as in the case of the chashaku it should make contact gently, and always inaudibly. The host should not seem to be scouring the bottom of the bowl with the tines of the chasen.
(15) Rubbing the foot of the chawan (against the tatami) [足すり茶碗].
When moving the chawan (or anything else that is moved around during the temae, like the koboshi or the sumi-tori) from place to place the host should pick it up and then put it down, not slide it along the surface of the mat with a scratching sound.
Even more frequently than is the case with the chawan, many are guilty of this fault when moving the koboshi backward at the end of the temae. Sometimes it can be heard, but even if not, it is still wrong to do.
(16) (Holding) the chawan (unsupported) on the palm of the hand [手かい茶碗].
When resting on the palm of the hand, the chawan should always be supported by the other hand.
(17) (Holding the) chawan (as if it is) wearing a cap [帽子着茶碗].
This means picking up the chawan from above. Especially when it has a narrow mouth (like the tsutsu-chawan frequently used in the coldest season of the year), the temptation is great to carry it this way. It is, however, wrong. The chawan should always be held from the side.
(18) (Placing) the chakin (on the) tsumami [つまみ茶巾].
In Rikyū’s temae, if the kama was boiling strongly (and so the lid would be very hot), the lid was sometimes removed by holding the tsumami [摘み], the knob or handle, with the chakin, and some people just removed their hand and left the chakin draped over the tsumami until it was time to close the lid of the kama again. However, this is wrong. It should be picked up and rested on the side of the tsumami toward the host (i.e., so the chakin is between the tsumami and the host’s body). When it is time to close the lid, the chakin is placed once again over the tsumami and so the lid is picked up.
Also, even if the chakin was not used when opening the lid, in the case of an especially small lid, the chakin should still be placed on the side of the tsumami toward the host, and not placed on top of the tsumami itself.
(19) Holding (things) like a crab [蟹挟み].
This means pinching something (such as the lid of the kama) between the thumb and the other four fingers (acting as a single unit), the way a crab holds something between its pincers. Rather, only as many fingers as necessary (two or three) should be involved, with the rest relaxed.
E. Handling of the utensils
(20) A dangling hanaire [追掛け花入]²
This means that the kake-hanaire dangles from the hook without touching the wall or pillar (usually the hook is placed so that the bottom of the hanaire touches the wall; if it fails to touch, the vase will be unstable and may spill when the flowers are inserted).
(21) A “weathered-wood” chasen [摺古木茶筅].
Suri-furuki [摺古木] means an old piece of waste wood that has been weathered by the elements. Rikyū uses this elaborate expression to mean a chasen that has seen better days. When serving tea to ones guests, if at all possible the chasen should always be brand-new; but at least it should be clean (if it is otherwise undamaged the tines may be made fresh-looking by standing the stained end in a bleach solution for a couple of minutes — but be careful not to get the black threads wet with the solution or they may bleach as well) and in good repair. A stained chasen with some of the tines broken off (suggesting that others are ready to break off when the tea is being made and lie in wait to choke the guests) should not be used.
(22) Dropping (the chasen) [さがり引].
Dropping it with an audible clack against the rim of the chawan (the way some schools, following the practices of Sōtan and the machi-shū, actually teach the student to do deliberately even today). Whenever it is put into the chawan, and particularly during the chasen-tōshi the chasen should be rested gently against the rim and the act should never be audible.
As Rikyū said, again and again, being careful is never wrong, because if you get in the habit of handling insignificant utensils with care and conscientiousness, then you need have no fear when called upon to serve tea with treasured antiques. It is the people who handle their practice utensils roughly (“because they are easy to replace” or who say that handling them this way is “appropriate”) who are the ones in danger of inflicting damage on precious pieces through habitual negligence.
(23) Lifting the chasen out while still kneading (the tea) [練り抜き茶筅].
Another machi-shū practice that Rikyū disliked, but which subsequently entered the mainstream through Sōtan. This refers to lifting the chasen out of the koicha mid-way through the kneading process (to check the consistency and texture of the tea). Most schools try to hide this fact by also teaching the student to add more hot water to the bowl at this time, but the reason is still there.
In fact, Rikyū said that, koicha or usucha, the host should add hot water to the bowl only once. If he knows how to make good koicha, this will suffice; and if he is so inexperienced that he needs to check…then he should not presume to be serving koicha to guests in the first place.
Only people who love chanoyu and enjoy drinking koicha can make good koicha straight away and without fussing. In Japan, these increasingly rare people are called “amateurs.” The “professionals” do chanoyu not because they love it, but as their family business (or for some other reason, such as to appear well-bred, or as a vehicle for showing off their expensive tea utensils). This frame of mind that holds love of the thing to be amateurish is what brought chanoyu to the sad state it has attained over the course of the Edo period and beyond. And likely will continue unless a great change occurs — all but impossible, given the Iemoto system..
(24) Polishing the chashaku [みがき茶杓].
This refers to people who pinch the chashaku hard and rub it again and again with the fukusa — as if polishing it. Nevertheless, this does not mean that we should do as some Japanese teachers say and only pretend to be wiping it (because it is of course already clean). Katachi-dake [形だけ] chanoyu, that only imitates the form (without any substance) is as wrong as doing things with an excess of zeal. As the Buddha himself said, the middle course is always best.
(25) Scraping the chashaku [すり茶杓].
This point is usually taken to refer to scratching the chashaku against the bottom of the chawan (and so is analogous with point #14), and this is correct, so far as it goes. However, it also means not to scrape the chashaku against the inside of the chaire.
In pre-modern times, chaire were usually not glazed on the inside (and the unglazed clay surface is not smooth), so rubbing the chashaku against the inside of the chaire will make a loud scraping sound. And while a chaire that has been fully glazed inside — or a lacquered container — will not make this sound, the host should be careful not to fall into this habit in any case. Rikyū wants us to focus on being careful, not just be wary of getting caught out in our carelessness. This is his point.
F. Ones posture when seated
(26) Sitting with an unstable posture [居合腰].
Leaning backward so that our lower back rests against the wall, or leaning forward so that our shoulders are above or knees or even further forward, are the postures in question. We should always sit so that our center of balance is located in our abdomen, below our navel. This is the correct way to sit.
(27) Sitting with your buttocks toward (the host, or one of the other guests) [尻向き].
If someone is seated behind you, it is best to sit on a diagonal, so that your buttocks are not pointed at him.
G. When walking
(28) (Walking as if you are) kicking sand [砂蹴り].
A shuffling gate, as if kicking ones way through sand.
(29) (Walking) as if you are a flying crow [烏飛び].
Swinging the arms when walking, like a crow flying.
Keep the arms still, and either pressed lightly against the lap or the thighs when you are not carrying anything. (Both Rikyū and Oribe held that the fingers in either case should be curled, so that the inner surface of the fingers and palm will not come into contact with the clothing or anything else that may soil them).
(30) (Walking as if you had) stepped on grains of rice [米踐み].
Picking up the feet, as if one accidentally stepped on a sharp stone that should not have been there — or fears that one will be there. In the tearoom the feat should be kept near to the mat, advancing forward just above its surface, neither rubbing the mat, nor stepping along.
H. When laying the charcoal
(31) Scratching the bottom ash [底かき灰].
This means that neither the charcoal, nor the hibashi, should disturb the bottom of the hai-gata. The charcoal should be lowered into place and not moved around afterward (where it will leave marks on the ash like footprints in the snow). After one is done, the charcoal should appear to be floating gently on top of the ash.
(32) (A piece of charcoal) placed like the train (of a robe) [引すり挟み].
This refers to a piece of charcoal that sticks outward from the bulk of the set, like the long train that was worn on top of a court robe, which trails behind the person when he or she walks.
Another way to say this is, as in the Hundred Poems, that the charcoal should not project beyond the ring formed by the legs of the gotoku.
(33) Pinching the gotoku [五徳挟み].
The case where two pieces of charcoal “scissor” one of the legs of the gotoku — usually the kuda-zumi or eda-zumi, the longer pieces, but a careless host can make any of the pieces guilty.
(34) (Charcoal placed to form) a “T” [丁字].
As in the Hundred Poems, this refers to two pieces that form a “T” by resting the end of one piece on top of the middle of the other. Generally pieces of charcoal should touch only at the edge, rather than resting fully on top of another piece.
(35) (Pieces of charcoal placed so that they form) a “十” [十文字].
A more exaggerated form of the previous case. As above, pieces should generally not lie on top of other pieces.
¹I have added these subtitles (marked “A” to “H”) grouping the Lines into categories. It seems that the subtitles help to make the lines easier to understand. Remember, this is a list composed entirely of things that Rikyū disliked.
²One version of the Rikyū Sanjū-go Jō Ken-ki available on-line (the same list has been quoted by the authors of two different blogs, though without any sort of appended comments) has this point refer to a different object: 追掛け茶入. In this case it would seem to mean not carrying the chaire on the palm of one hand without supporting it from the side with the other. Oi-kake [追掛け], which literally means “to chase” something, refers to the supporting hand that “follows” the object supported on the other hand closely.
In the version given in point #20 oi-kake means something like repel — that is, hang away from the wall like a rock-climber repelling away from a cliff-face (though perhaps a tad less actively).