Yoshizen's Blog

Being Natural or Be Artful Perfection — Which is Zen ?

Mug cup-A09A1703

—— Left Mug is the one I’m using now.  Right is the one I brought from Japan 33 years ago

and served me till 1992 and since it got hole on the bottom, it became a pen stand  🙂

Once, my tea drinking was a kind of Art = as I’ve been drinking 1.5 ~ 2 liters

(3 ~ 4 pints) of tea everyday, to make it, was not just a daily routine, it was

a refined flow of the action.

To begin with, the way to put a water into a kettle ~ ~ ~ to pour the tea into a cup then

drop one or two slices of the lemon etc etc.

As all the actions has been repeated everyday (I don’t know how many thousands times

I did ) naturally each action has been rationalized to the most efficient smooth manner.

So that, once a person who observed this process summed up, “It’s formalized to the

almost tea ceremony like process isn’t it”. Of cause, it was not intended to be a ceremony

but just doing it in quickest and smoothest way. As it is always the same action, it has

no dither or need any thinking, let alone any emotion.

May be this is the way what Master Dogen (道元 / Founder of the Soto-Zen)

has taught = to become perfect to be “who I am and what I’m doing”.

(= Nobody else.  Nothing else = this is what Mindfulness meant !)


Sound so far so good isn’t it ?   But wait a moment —– ?

To be “WHO I am” = the very one who has been born under own Karma, hence grown-up

according to the occurrences given next by next.

The result is the only one, “me” = To be my own is nothing but to be Natural

(but not necessary perfect), still, “to be perfect” mean the person has to be

refined to be pure = eliminate all the imperfection and the foreign substance

(imported idea or pretense).

This is quite an artful existence isn’t it ? ? ?


Making and drinking my tea, I’ve refined its process to the art level though, one-day in

the last Summer, I couldn’t bother to make a tea as I was too thirsty, instead

I just filled my cup with a tap-water and a slice of lemon. ————

Since then, I stop to make a tea but just drink a tap-water. (I don’t buy any bottled drink).

—- Am I lost an art and the mindfulness, while becoming lazy ?

OR, was that an Enlightenment ? —– Good, good question 🙂

To drink a water instead of tea —– It is obvious, which is simpler and natural.


Tea-making started in the Rinzai Zen temple as Master Yousai (栄西) brought it from China.

Hence, Tea-making is a part of Zen teachings. In comparison, Soto Zen tend to remain much

humble and simple. ( = So that, I’m a simple poor man 😀 )

Therefore, isn’t it to drink water instead of Tea, is more Soto Zen ?

Not lazy isn’t it ?


My answer is = I don’t care. As long as something to sip in the cup, it’s enough.

(with its consequence to drink 2 litres of water and going to a toilet every 2 hours =

flushing out any toxins in the body = no need to have doctor or any medicine

—– it may be true :-))

As I don’t need to bother buying tea any more, this is even more peaceful Life and the Mind.

(and cost less 😀 ) —– After all, I don’t think I was born for tea making.

This is my Zen as I’m nobody else of simple yoshizen 😀


In fact, here lies very interesting question.

The ideal early Buddhists were the one who forsaken all the ordinary life to

pursuit Enlightenment, namely Bhikku and Arakhan though, the Buddhism

took the direction to more inclusive Mahayana = while living in the ordinary

life, still maintaining the Mind-set to be a Buddhist = more Natural life style.

My position is, the matter is not a superficial life style but the Mind-set since

the  Mind-set such as Mushin, Ichijo, Mindfulness , Selflessness are naturally

in our subconsciousness, in other words Natural Life-style is not a hindrance

to achieve its refinement, ultimately to reach Enlightenment.

(By the way, me doing something utterly useless, is for fun = Do something on

the hand and creating something new with good laugh is better than just

being passive, such as watching TV or Inter-netting.  😀 )



8 Responses

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  1. drawandshoot said, on January 24, 2013 at 20:25

    Yoshizen, you have a way of making me smile and think deeply at the same time. : )
    Love this post.
    And I also love tea, I don’t think I could give it up!

    • yoshizen said, on January 24, 2013 at 21:11

      Thank you Karen. I’m really glad to hear this from you.
      In fact, I’m not fanatic nor preaching it to others, far from it
      I still enjoy a cup of tea at somebody else’s place 🙂 🙂

  2. elenacaravela said, on January 24, 2013 at 20:58

    I’m with Karen Yoshi!

  3. bentehaarstad said, on January 24, 2013 at 21:33

    Nice to meet your tea mugs, Yoshizen, the old and the new. I like tea too, in the morning,(british style), but I expected you to be a master in tea. Zen tea.

    • yoshizen said, on January 24, 2013 at 22:44

      One of the regular visitor of the mountain shelter where I was a voluntary keeper, the person was
      in fact quite high lank Tea master. When we were invited her place, naturally we were offered
      real ceremonial tea —– it was good though, when I try to make it, I realized it would takes many
      years practice even just make fine bubble while mixing it 🙂
      So, I wouldn’t pretend to know about tea making well, still I got more than 10 different tea —- one
      from Russia and rather expensive Chinese tea etc. (Some Japanese green tea has to be consumed
      within a year though, Chinese Oolong tea can be kept even ten years or longer)

  4. Lemony (Gr)Egghead said, on January 28, 2013 at 15:26

    Oooh, I sensed this was where you were headed! Yoshi-water! Not tea! I do understand your point, indeed!

    I make tea many times per day (a variety of Chinese green teas, in particular), and I enjoy it so much! I would not like to do without it! But I guess I could, if this were Lemony-zen. 🙂 But it’s not! 😀

    I love the photograph of your cups.

    • yoshizen said, on January 28, 2013 at 16:16

      If the tea is there (such as in my friend’s place) I have no restriction to drink it 😀
      Or, I wouldn’t insist to have a tap-water in a Coffee house with my friend 😀

      The photo of Cups is neither natural as I intentionally put there for photo or
      artful —– obviously, it’s not artful at all 😀

      The key is Don’t bother too much = relax 🙂 = same as, “If anybody eager to
      reach Enlightenment, never achieve” —–> Free yourself.

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