|Hounsai SEN Genshitsu (SEN Soshitsu XV) made a visit to the central European country of Austria from June 18-25, 2003. The invitation for him to visit resulted from the fact that the Japanese garden at the Schlos Schonbrunn - the famous summer palace of the historical House of Hapsburg - was rebuilt four years ago, providing the capital, Vienna, with a place that lends itself to the Japanese cultural realm of chado.|
On June 20, Dr. Sen hosted a tea gathering in the Turnsaal der Kaiserin room inside the palace, for forty invited guests. They included government officials and members of the foreign diplomatic corps. Among them was Ambassador HASHIMOTO Hiroshi and his wife, of the Japanese Embassy in Vienna. Later that day, the Urasenke representatives stationed in Europe, who came to assist with the events, presented a nodate-style outdoor tea demonstration for the general public at the Japanese garden.
On June 23, Dr. Sen presented a lecture at the East Asian Research Center at the University of Vienna. More than four hundred students and others attended. Having had the chance to come in touch with the deep cultural history of Vienna during his few days there, Dr. Sen said in his lecture that he felt it was vital for people to have such experiences with each other's cultural history in order for them to understand each other. He then explained about the chado ideals of Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility, and that chado teaches people to be modest and gracious. Chado is open to all people, and is a realm in which all spiritual philosophies can find expression, he said. Following the lecture, a chanoyu demonstration was presented by the chanoyu experts from Urasenke headquarters who were with Dr. Sen on this visit. In the lobby, others of his entourage served sweets and tea to those who attended the program.