May 5, 2017


People dream, things come alive and sometimes books are written, sold, read and while everything should change and become something else, nothing happens except one thing: people dream, things come alive and sometimes books are written.
How could someone have the courage to write a book? To give names to things which have no name or can not have names. To form what does not know form.  To replace the reality with dreams about reality. Why? But, writing books happens. One more time I am wrong. It is reassuring.

I try to practice Chanoyu - the Japanese Tea Ceremony. This is what I do. In rest, one day, one man, who seems to know what he is talking about, tells me: "I am curious by nature and now I am curious about tea. I want to share with people what I learned about this thing called Tea". So far good. But it does not last long. "Could you help me and write about Chanoyu - the Tea Ceremony? We write a book together." I turned slowly my head towards him so I could see his eyes. My mind was void of any possible response.

Chanoyu is pure experience.
Mind, reason and aesthetic pleasure  are left behind, somewhere, to provide companionship for art connoisseurs, for artists, for craftsmen, for intellectuals, for poets, for Maecenas and Patrons of culture and social entertainment, for anyone, for Tea is for everyone. And everyone may have a say about Tea.
Chanoyu is a complete Japanese thing. Know Chanoyu and you know the soul of the Japanese.

During a visit at a museum in Vienna, I came across the following words: "Vulgarity is wanting something that you can't be or can't have. Vulgarity is born during the clash and cooperation present at the intersection of cultures. Vulgarity is when the unique becomes common, too available and is therefore a sign of abuse".
My sensei always told me "do not ask, just practice". Sweet words to replace "do not be vulgar, do not have an opinion or a want before you are ready to have an opinion". As clear and simple as that.

What happens when Chanoyu is practiced by non-Japanese?
Who knows, so many ways, so many minds.
Here in Romania, we are committed to practice with respect for the tradition as transmitted by our Oiemoto in Kyoto and with full awareness that we may in every moment lose focus and slip into the shadows of vulgarity. That should not happen!

I answered: "Yes, I am curious too. I will write this book with you". Knowing the impossible paradigm of writing a book, I want to share and I am curious to see how things have a life of their own, beyond my best possible guess or intuition. I want to talk about the impossible knowing that talking about the impossible is impossible. Things have a life of their own.

A year later, thanks to Mihai Albu, the friend and co-author of this work, the graceful support of the Meditative Arts publishing house, and the support of a group of close friends, the book Ceaiul si Ceremonia lui (The Tea and its Ceremony) is printed out.
The launching event  will take place on Monday, May 22nd at 18:00 at the RENDEZ-VOUS teahouse in Bucharest, on Edgar Quinet street, close to the University Place.
See you there!

Apr 29, 2017


TIME - although it seems that it exists only in our conscience as a useful invention, one thing is for sure: it passes very quickly in the immediate reality.

Grand Hotel Continental - Bucharest
And here we are again at the majestic Grand Hotel Continental in Bucharest, in our favourite Grigoresco room, ready for a new demonstration of Chanoyu - the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
As always, the event is organised by Calea Victoriei Foundation - an impressive, if not the most impressive culture promoting foundation one may find in Romania.

We arrive the night before and prepare the setup for the demonstration. The hotel personnel helps with grace. It is late, quite, we are exhausted but all is now in place. We are ready for tomorrow morning:

Chanoyu - the never ending question: what is it? Good luck with that! It is whatever you want it to be...... and yet! So we start with the beginning: who are we? what is it that we want? why?
The first part of the program:  LECTURE: Chanoyu as a ritual. Chanoyu as a mythological journey, a journey leaving the day to day noise and disorder to wait in silence, step through the path of purification offered by a roji garden filled with the singing of the birds, freshly splashed with water, to step inside chashitsu, to re-discover the purity, respect and harmony and find in the end the inner peace. The hand of God on your head, sipping the miracle drink you may understand the sense of Oneness. 

Before anything the formal definition of Chanoyu
Hard to take all this in a short time to a public who is open, kind, curious but of course a novice. Try to make sense out of this. But the public is also smart: they understood and stepped into the game.

The first tea demonstration - a tea gathering at 4 a.m. many many years back - on the way to the morning prayers at the temple. A monk and his son arrive to sip a cup of tea in the chill of the morning while the night fades away and the morning light sneaks into chashitsu - Mihai Nishiike had the kindness to help us here and showed to the public what concentration, respect and modesty is all about.
Usucha temae with Hisago dana
Taking sweets


The next demonstration: we are now today, 2017 and girls in beautiful kimonos serve tea during a chakai:

Making tea using ryurei chishin dana
The public observes with attention

Purifying the bowl

Offering the bowl of tea

Purifying the tea container

Everyone in the public had the chance to taste a wonderful nerikiri made for this occasion by Miyuki-Do shop and to experiment the taste of Matcha.
All concluded well. Students were happy that we had another successful presentation of the Chanoyu tradition for the Romanian public

Good work done! Congratulations!

Who am I? With all this ZEN I do not know anymore!

Kimono good for tea, Apple good for multimedia 

The team!

Mar 25, 2017

"Zen and tea are one"

At Mokushozen Temple in Bucharest we presented Chanoyu, discussing with zen priests about finished movements, pauses and distances in the in-between.
We had a wonderful time, our guests had been more than welcoming. Thank you!

The outeside world is always so different!

Jan 20, 2017

Hatsugama 2017

The first water used for the first tea of the new year is, of course, a moment of celebration in our practice.

We've had the pleasure to have Gabriel sensei as teishu this year, and more over, a whole practice of this kind of chaji to learn. The result was 2 Chaji in one weekend of seminar. We are more than grateful.  

The first, and the proper Hatsugama was held during midday, while the second one late in the evening. The light in Chashitsu always bring so much for the atmosphere!