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Sen No Rikyu’s – Final Tea Ceremony

It was considered an honor for those of samurai rank or higher to
be allowed to kill oneself rather than be put to the sword. To take
one’s own life was seen as far more honorable, as one could show
one’s indifference to death—one of the gauntlets thrown down by
Zen. The term harakiri (literally “abdomen cut”) was significant
because the stomach was considered the area where the soul resides,
and was therefore the center of a person’s will. Being of high rank,
Rikyu was afforded this right, and in keeping with his beliefs and
love of tea, Sen no Rikyu held a final tea ceremony for his closest
friends. Throughout the poignant ceremony his concentration and
attention to detail were exemplary. After the ceremony, once the tea
had been consumed, Rikyu gave his beloved tea utensils to his
friends, all save his own; this he crushed in his hands, saying, “No
more will this cup, tainted with the lips of misfortune, be used by
another.”

Excerpt from Wabi Sabi – The Japanese Art of Impermanence

 

“Welcome to thee,
O sword of eternity,
Through Buddha
And through Dharuma alike
Thou hast cleft thy way

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