Dec 21, 2019

December 14 -15/2019: Trãind în ZEN - ceai, arta si simplitatea vietii monastice

O intalnire cu maestrii Templului Ryoko-in din Kyoto

Day One: At His Excellency the Japanese Ambassador, Mr Noda, the Zen Monk Gempo Kobori, Tea Teacher Gabriel Caciula, MNAR Director Liviu Constantinescu and ELI Scientific Director Kazuo Tanaka in Romania, everybody spoke about the conferences and workshops of this weekend. Let us enjoy it!

May 1, 2019

OHANAMI - be it sun or rain, it is the thing of the day and people come by thousands to quickly understand Japan

Yes, the title is true. O-hanami is by all means a wonderful moment to reconnect with the Nature coming back to life, to breath the wind of a new life, to observe the delicate existence of beauty right in front of your nose, in short, to re-establish a fundamental contact between Man and Nature.

People are people. The intention is noble. But they may skip the heavy fundamentals and simply enjoy being together, sipping  a cup of tea, listening to Taiko drummers, trying to dress in a Yukata, having a sake and taking photos, lots of photos, amidst the un-touchable ephemeral beauty of the cherry blossoms.

This year, we finally got the UMBRELLA of all umbrellas. In fact, the classic Japanese parasol, a faithful partner of any outdoor tea ceremony.

Please, enjoy the moment together with us. It was three weeks ago (((((:, but it took long to get hold of the photos

The Queen of the event - the red bamboo sun umbrella - everything else happens under its pleasant filtered light

Early in the morning, ready to start organizing things
A visitor from abroad with years of tea practice has the pleasure to offer a cup of fresh green tea to the Japanese Ambassador and his wife joined by the American Ambassador. Hanto, the helping person - Cristina sensei. All surrounded by visitors seeing this for the first time
Offering okashi

Offering tea to a group of international scientists using a chabako procedure

Explaining the way to drink matcha to an expert in Turkish tea. The art of communication at work.

Happy to be of service Sir! - even if I have to serve matcha in plastic cups. Please excuse me, I have to rush, the line is long and people lose their patience.

Mission Impossible accomplished!
Sincere thanks to all who helped!

Apr 30, 2019

What happens at a Chaji?

As outside the cherry flowers are ready to display their exploding unique beauty, Tankokai Luminis introduces the audience to the secrets of a Chaji - the mysterious tea gathering.

The location - of course the National Museum of Art and there hidden away from the passing world, our chashitsu, Reikōan - the 'glowing mountain peak abode'.

As always, the one and only Calea Victoriei Foundation was our partner for the introduction of the peaceful harmony and tranquility of a tea gathering. Many thanks to everyone from Calea Victoriei for making this event possible.
We presented the arrival of the guests, the greetings, the reverence paid to the tokonoma, hana and dogu, the serving of sweets and the offering of koicha - an act of sharing.

This time not too much talk. Just photos.
With thanks to all the students who participated and made this demonstration possible. It was an open gate through which the sincere curiosity of the public poured in.

First Part - Introduction to some steps in a Chaji

Tsukubai - waiting for the guests
Paying respect to the Jiku in Tokonoma.  Calligraphy: 'One step at a time"
Aisatsu - the initial salutations

Tea preparation 1

Tea preparation 3

Tea preparation 2
It seems like a string puppet theatre no?
The audience seems to enjoy

Second Part - Practicing koicha tsuki kagetsu no shiki

One hour for a delightful sandwich and a glass of water, a deep breath, the water boiling again, we are ready to practice koicha tsuki kagetsu no shiki. It sounds easy, it is easy, yet hard to get it turn into a natural breathing.

Picking fuda to determine the roles

Preparing koicha for all and joining the group to drink together

And now, the rounds of usucha, tsuki drinks, hana prepares the next tea

The second group who watched patiently is now on the stage. Koicha again!

And the rounds of usucha, tsuki drinks, hana prepares the next tea

The whole team - observing, comparing, learning, asking questions
All possible thanks to the kindness of the National Museum of Art of Romania

Feb 28, 2019

Practicing, what else! This time with Japanese friends

By the end of February, when young wild flowers manage to escape the frozen embrace of the still sleeping earth and dare showing their delicate and frail buds through the icy surface of the remains of snow patches, along old wooden fences, Tankokai Romania Luminis had the honour and pleasure  of hosting a simple tea offering at the Reikōan (summit, radiant, hermitage) - the tea room (chashitsū) recently built at the National Museum of Art of Romania.

The guests: His Excellency, the Ambassador of Japan in Romania, Mr. Hitoshi Noda together with his wife, Mrs. Noda and a group from the embassy staff.

We offered okashi and a cup of tea, which we hope was enjoyed by our guests.
After this our guests and our students participated together in a pleasant and provoking exercise: Kazucha no Shiki.
Developing attention and concentration, this exercise also created a pleasant atmosphere of shared learning and laughing (when learning was not so easy) as a united community of tea people.
Later on, we moved to our headquarters and decided to practice Mukogiri usucha and koicha. We do not have the correct setup of our RO but, improvisation is the mother of invention!

Here are some photos from the sessions. A very useful and pleasant time spent together.
We thank our guests and students and hope to see them together practicing. Practicing, what else!

Offering a cup of tea to Mrs. Noda and the embassy staff.

Kazucha no shiki

Kazucha no shiki

A smile to balance focusing and a bit of exhaustion

And back to work

The game comes to its end.

Mukogiri - students find it not 'that difficult'. This is what practice does!

Nov 28, 2018

Book launching completed! It spins now among other quiet satellites changing our way of being

Mission accomplished!
Not easy to manage such an event I can tell you! Ownership - a feature which became a line and a rule of thumb in the doctrine for clever management in most of the western world, has subtle deformations when it comes to the streets of the Paris of the East.

But in the end there was an overfilled room, a charming public, freshly fed with bits and nibs of super salty Korean junk passing for Japanese junk, wine provided by the friendly staff of Carturesti Verona and of course fresh high quality matcha and sweets provided by another friendly staff - the young and timid ladies from Urasenke Tankokai Romania - Luminis, dressed in beautiful kimonos and trying to act as hostesses accommodating the public which now was trying to find a comfortable position on the crammed chairs and pillows, readying themselves to grasp the meaning of Chanoyū - something which I knew it won't come easy to them.

The Partitas of Bach quietly playing in the background, accompanied by the dream like murmuring of Glenn Gould, dimmed lights, incense burning - all was set for the book launching to begin. And it did!

I asked the panel and the moderator before hand: "please, this is about tea, the book tries to be a humble servant of this magic ritual the meaning of which we try to dream about this evening! please focus on this!"
But from the goodness of their heart, things turned out a bit differently. The cult of personality seems a better entry door to the soul of the audience. And here I was, the "hero" of the evening, trying to change seats and refocus everyone on the real hero:  Chanoyū  - the ritual of preparing and serving tea to your fellow man.
During the long nights of December, snowflakes left outside in the cold of the night, reading the book on a comfortable sofa late after work, sipping perhaps a porto, maybe in a train going nowhere, maybe alone in a mall waiting for the others to finish the shopping, the reader will discover  the meaning of some of the ideas which during the discussions about the book came across quite different from the day to day way of perceiving things and of perceiving ourselves.

Meeting Chanoyū is a challenge. I could see this clearly in the curious eyes of the warm people in the audience.
A brief demonstration of what a chakai is all about and here we were - introducing the book to the audience. Quickly the ice melted, people got involved and daring. Nothing could have been better than that.
The books left me and went away with their new owners. With some of them they will become friends. I do hope so.  Thanks to the publishing house Paideia and to the event hosts - Carturesti - Verona, we made another small step in bringing awareness to a powerful culture about another powerful culture. I hope the reader will discover how many incredible things are common to both.

The Book 

The Venue - Carturesti Bookshop

Friend and Personality Andrei Oisteanu talks about the fortunate ones

Matei Georgescu and here Camelia Botezatu - director of the Paideia Publishing House kindly introduce the book to the public

Here left alone to handle the rest

Which we did - helped by my colleagues we offer a cup of tea

And now it is up to the public and myself to travel together on the Way of Tea

And it takes convincing

And more convincing

And the connection is made - the bridge connects now the two worlds

And all ends well when it ends well - Book signing

Oct 27, 2018

Ceremonia japoneză a ceaiului într-o adevarată colibă a ceaiului la Muzeul National de Artă al Romaniei

Demonstrații de ceremonia ceaiului într-o adevarată colibă de ceai la 

MNAR, Muzeul Național de Artă a României

În cadrul lunii noiembrie, luna culturii japoneze, asociația Urasenke Tankokai Romania - Luminiș în colaborare cu Muzeul Național de Artă și Ambasada Japoniei în Romania,  va oferi două demonstrații publicului curios să observe și să înțeleagă această tradiție unică.

Demonstrațiile vor avea loc în noul Chashitsu (coliba de lut și paie în care se oficiază ritualul împărtășirii unui bol de ceai), construit de curând în cadrul muzeului de către specialiștii japonezi.

Demonstrațiile vor avea loc duminică, 18 noiembrie, la orele 11:30 și 14:30. Numărul maxim de persoane pentru fiecare demonstrație este de 14 persoane.

Intrarea este gratis. Persoanele care doresc să și deguste un bol de ceai verde pudră (matcha) împreună cu o prăjitură (okashi), o vor putea face contra cost.

Rezervarea de locuri se poate efectua la:
telefonul: 0734 681 675

Publicul vizitator este rugat să fie prezent la muzeu cu 30 de minute înaintea începerii demonstrațiilor, respectiv la orele 11:00 și 14:00.
Pentru motive de securitate, publicul va fi însoțit pînă la sala demonstrației de către personalul de securitate al muzeului.

Sperăm să fie un moment interesant și instructiv pentru dumneavoastră.

The Way of Tea

Oct 26, 2018

Chanoyū la Cărturești - Verona! Lansare de carte!

I needed two helping hands to be able to bring to the Romanian public a book which is different from the rest (just like all the books!) They were generously offered by PAIDEIA publishing house and Cărturești Verona bookstore. 
Thanks to them,

Wednesday, November 14th at 18:30
at Cărturești Verona, Strada Pictor Arthur Verona 13-15, București, 
the book "Chanoyū - the Japanese Tea Ceremony" will be presented to the public.

You are welcome to join the author and friends in a book launching event!!!!!

Chanoyū - ceremonia japoneză a ceaiului (o călătorie în lumea imposibilului) is a book which saw the print only when I awakened to the fact that the deep secret behind this tradition remains forever a secret for the non-practitioner and that it cannot be revealed to the public by just sprinkling words on a piece of paper.

I wanted to go with the readers into a journey through various doors pretending themselves to open to the Way of Tea and see why this is so. Why beauty and pleasure and craft and skill do not add to much without a serious spiritual readiness. To see why the Secret will remain a Secret for most of us.

The Book
Vor vorbi:
MIO SEKIYA, atașat cultural al ambasadei Japoniei 
CAMELIA BOTEZATU – director editura Paideia 
MATEI GEORGESCU – professor universitar, universitatea Spiru Haret 
ANDREI OIȘTEANU – institutul de istorie a religiilor 

Discuțiile vor fi precedate de o demonstrație de Chanoyū -->
Cartea va fi disponibilă în librăriile Cărturești și online pe site-urile și
începând cu data de 14.11.2018

Oct 15, 2018

Musée Guimet - Paris, a message of Peace to commemorate 100 years from WWI

The colloquium “Zen and the Arts – Practique, Tea, Painting and Poetry” was part of the Museum’s decision to celebrate with a hymn to Peace, the passing of one hundred years from a terrible mistake of the mankind – the First World War (1918).

The museum invited several important personalities to speak about their life and work in the realm of “Zen and the Arts” as a way to Peace.

Urasenke Tankokai Romania-Luminiș Association was fortunate to be allowed to participate and be of some help. We are grateful to the organisers for this opportunity.

The speakers focused indeed on the amazing and many times surprising association of these categories "Practique, Tea, Painting and Poetry", which intertwine to create a world apart a world governed by the human spirit and the principles of Zen.

At the end of the colloquium tea was served to the audience in the spectacular simplicity, minimalism and quietness of the Museum's chashitsu.

The speakers talked about so many subjects, all related to Zen. But in the end, they talked about the same thing: about their life, about the values of life, the importance of cultivating aesthetic values, the importance of respect, of compassion, of paying attention to every little detail, of doing everything with love. This is the way of Zen. And this is a way through which Peace can be manifested.

If this is true, if Zen is indeed a way to Peace, then the museum had a divine inspiration organising this colloquium. A cup of Tea is indeed a cup for Peace.

Group photo in front of the Musee Guimet Chashitsu

Kobori Geppo Osho - signing into the book of honoured visitors

Team building