Special Tea Offering Ceremony at Tokyo National Museum
by Urasenke Iemoto SEN Soshitsu XVI

Iemoto SEN Soshitsu XVI, Zabosai, was at the Tokyo National Museum on March 8, 2005, to conduct a tea offering ceremony (kencha-shiki) to the National Treasure sacred image of Miroku Bosatsu that is the main icon of Chuguji convent-temple, Nara. The image was at the museum for a special public exhibition that was to begin that day and continue until April 17. The beautiful figure, created in the 7th c. by order of Prince Shotoku (574-622), is seated in the half-lotus meditation position, with right index finger placed on cheek in a pose of deep contemplation, and gentle archaic smile. As the imperial abbotess and nuns of Chuguji chanted sutras, Zabosai prepared one bowl each of thick tea (koicha) and thin tea (usucha), and placed them on the offering table before the image. Everyone present then placed their palms together in prayer.
      In conjunction with this event, the Urasenke Tankokai Kanto District I chapter welcomed Iemoto Zabosai, the abbotess and nuns, and others who had participated in the tea offering ceremony for tea in the Okyokan, an elegant 18th c. shoin-style structure once situated at the Shinagawa estate of the Meiji-era tea aesthete MASUDA Don'o, and now located in the Japanese garden at the museum.