Randy Channell Soei
In this episode of Ikigai Podcast, I speak with Candian Tea Master, Randy Channell Soei. Soei Sensei, a long-term resident of Kyoto, is one of only a handful of foreigners licensed to teach all aspects of “The Way of Tea”.
We talk about “The Way of Tea” and Japanese philosophical ideas related to Tea Ceremony including Wakei-Sejyaku, Bunburyodo, Zanshin and Mushin.
Soei Sensi originally came to Japan to study martial arts, but within 6 months of starting his training, he wanted to balance his martial arts training with something cultural. This began his journey of Bunburyoudo.
Soei Sensei describes Bunburyoudo as the pursuit of the martial arts and cultural ways practiced together in unison
The first kanji 文, bun represents letter or writing relating to cultural studies. The second kanji 武, bu means military and is the bu found in budo, 武道, martial arts. The third kanji 両, ryo means both or together. And the final kanji, 道 do that means road or path.
All four kanji characters combined together to mean the ability to excel in both cultural ways and martial arts. This is something Soei Sensei strived for and achieved through many years of practice and dedication.
Zanshin – 残心
Roughly translated, zanshin in the context of combat means situational awareness. It is often described as a related state of heightened awareness.
In the context of The Way of Tea, it would translate to “lingering heart” or “remaining mind”, where the host aims to generate a seamless flow of one movement into the next while preparing a bowl of matcha.
In short, Zanshin is the practice of paying great attention to detail through the awareness of breathing, movement and body posture, and in combat; the observation of your opponent.
Mushin – 無心
Soei Sensi describes Mushin as “being in the groove” – doing something that you have trained yourself to do without conscious thought.
Mushin could be described as reaching a state of flow in what one dedicates himself or herself to. It is something one should try to strive for in what he or she does regardless of whether it’s the practice of a martial art or in the participation of a tea ceremony experience.
Wakei-SeiJyaku – 和敬静寂
Wa-kei-sei-jyaku is four kanji compound word that brings together harmony, respect, purity and tranquility, a zen concept strongly related to the spirit of Chado – The Way of Tea.
Wa – Harmony
Kei – Respect
Sei – Purity
Jyaku – Tranquility
Tranquility ( Jyaku) can only be experienced when one is in harmony with their surroundings, respects those they are in connection with, and is pure in thought and intention. Jyaku is not a state to achieve, but a moment to briefly experience. The Way of Tea gives both the host and guest the opportunity to experience a moment of Jyaku, tranquility.