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Kencha-shiki (Ritual Tea Offering) at Bodh Gaya on 15 Feb. 2006

NEW DELHI: 14 February 2006

The sixteenth-generation grand master of the Urasenke chado tradition, Soshitsu Sen XVI, will conduct a ritual tea offering in Bodh Gaya on the 15th of February, 2006. The Urasenke delegation is now visiting India 12-17 February and this is the first visit of Soshitsu-sen XVI to India.

Chado, the Japanese “Way of Tea,” is one of Japan’s most representative traditional forms of culture. It is an extremely highly developed and comprehensive creative activity that includes artistic, religious, philosophical, social, and cultural aspects, and which effectively leads to the cultivation of one’s character, mind, and spirit.

The succeeding generations of grand masters ever since the founder of the chado tradition, Sen Rikyu (1522–91), have given concrete form to its spiritual aspect by presenting ritual tea offerings, referred to as kencha-shiki, at important shrines and temples. These rituals in themselves are non-sectarian, but honor the holy spirit enshrined at that sacred site.

In that chado virtually came into being owing to its deep connections with Zen Buddhism, however, and the ideas inherent in chado and Zen share the same sensibility, the conducting of a kencha-shiki at Bodh Gaya, the holy place where Buddha attained enlightenment, holds very special significance for chado.

From the Embassy of Japan, Mr.Hajime Matsumura, Director for Japan Cultural and Information Center will attend the tea offering.


Date and time:
15th of February, 2006 (Wednesday), 9:00 A.M. (tentatively)
Mahabodhi Temple
Approximately 200 (approx. 150 of them from Japan)

Profile of Soshitsu Sen XVI, Grand Master, Urasenke Chado Tradition

Soshitsu Sen XVI was born in 1956. He is the grand master of the Urasenke Chado Tradition. He underwent Zen training under the guidance of Chief Abbot of the temple Daitokuji, Nakamura Sojun. He was ordained in a tokudo shiki, "ceremony of taking Buddhist vows," and received the name Buddhist name, Zabosai. Later, he trained under Morinaga Soko at the temple Myoshinji. Presently he is the resident abbot of the Rinzai Myoshinji sect temple Kyoshin'an. He succeeded to the position of sixteenth grand master in December, 2002.

Among his many positions, Soshitsu Sen serves as President of the Kyoto Art Center and professor in the department of Historical Heritage at Kyoto University of Art and Design. He is a certified clinical psychologist and a member of the Japan Writers' Association.

His books, The Hexagonal Room a Moment of Distress (Kadokawa Shoten) and Tasty Lines (Koike Shoten) have been designated Recommended Books by the Japanese Library Association. He has also written Sitting with Chin Propped in Palms (Kyoto Shimbunsha), and Places My Mother Inhabited (Chuo Koron Shinsha).

His hobbies include landscape photography, cycling, reading, and music.