道场 Dào·Chǎng

Notes of a lifelong learner and perpetual beginner on martial arts, mindfulness, Chinese calligraphy…and many, many cups of tea.


Leave a comment

“It is about everything!”

“Preparing food is not just about yourself and others. It is about everything!”
– Shunryu Suzuki

It’s true that if I had a lot more time, or when I do have the time at all, I like to invest it in cooking a good meal to serve in my household. Yet when I ask myself why, the answer is elusive, not because I do not know the answer but because it is too difficult to get down into words. The one word I can think of is “joy,” although watching me you would see plenty of focus and no shortage of frustration here and there. Perhaps this is what any act of creation looks like as we learn that we cannot exactly control things, but we can do our best to set things up so that they will naturally happen of their own accord, out of their own nature. When we think about how interconnected everything is, we might also feel that our efforts to set things up from the outside are also futile, unless we realize that we are not working from the outside, but rather are ourselves just as connected. So in the end, we are in a very good position to set things up after all, as we set ourselves in place within ourselves and at the stove, set the prepared ingredients, and set the places for our guests doing our best to anticipate their needs (omotenashi). The result is halfway decent tuna steak with tapenade…at least that’s what it was last night. Tonight……who knows?

irori

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Kamikoto Commercial #1

I enjoy making simple sushi rolls at home, but would like to give it some more focused effort and become a true tenzo. The film Jiro Dreams of Sushi has been very inspirational to me, not just in terms of its portrayal of Jiro’s mastery of sushi preparation, but even more so for its pearls of wisdom for following the path of mastery and attainment. Along these same lines, I aspire to own a great set of Japanese knives someday. I recently came across this beautiful and inspiring infomercial from Kamikoto. There is another one I will post that is even better!


Leave a comment

Book Review: The One Taste of Truth by William Scott Wilson

To put it simply, this is an awesome book! The title The One Taste of Truth: Zen and the Art of Drinking Tea does not really describe this book adequately. This book is very much about the lessons of zen. The introduction does a good job of exploring the historical connections of tea drinking with zen in Japan, but the bulk of the book is comprised of examples of ichigyomono, short phrases from famous poems and platitudes on tearoom scrolls that are linked to the zen tradition in Japan, and many to the ch’an tradition in China. Each example is explained and usually accompanied by at least one good illustrative and entertaining story. To me, this is the kind of book that you read all year round, one chapter a day. The writing and lessons are dynamic, and each time I visit a chapter I find a little deeper meaning. The text also includes examples of the ichigyomono written in kanji (Japanese calligraphy) and also related Chinese characters and their concepts. Good information if you are interested in shodo (Japanese calligraphy) or shufa (Chinese calligraphy). Seriously, I can’t recommend getting a copy of this book highly enough.

10568888_10104861390022360_5249310788561129881_n
(my photo of the Japanese teahouse at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts)