Not being comfortable

Tea practice, a Zen art, has always been a challenge. From the first time I learned how to fold a silk square of fabric into an elegant wiping cloth there has always been something new to wake me up – challenge me in unexpected ways.

The art of the gathering is the appreciation and deep respect for the objects whether they be new or old or ancient or with provenance.

My new tea bowl by Kouichi Osada

Today was a first for me. I was totally unsettled by a guest who is a ‘professional’ potter. With my new precious tea bowl in her hands she put the first and second digits of her fingers into a slingshot and slung her nail hard into the side of the bowl. WHACK.

“Oh, don’t do that!” I said. What was she thinking? Was she testing the validity of the glaze or the way in which it was fired? I don’t know. The bowl could have been shattered.

I’m trusting that my tea bowl will be ok.

But imagine if the bowl had survived hundreds of years and you had the honor to hold it in your hands marveling at the beauty of it and the many generations that had taken care of this fragile pottery and then someone comes along and WHACKS it. Just so they could.

I still can’t get over this. Maybe in time…