It has been more than a week since we had an intensive workshop here in Portland with Machida Gyotei sensei and we are grateful to Urasenke and Oiemoto for sending him to Portland. I don’t remember the last time we had a Gyotei sensei in Portland, but I have studied with them while I was in Kyoto, Japan and Seattle.
It always takes me awhile to process what was presented because it is like drinking from a firehose, there is so much information presented in such a short time.
As always we start the seminar with warigeiko, back to basics of folding the fukusa. Though each time we do it, I learn something new. Machida Gyotei sensei teaches in a little different manner than others I have studied with. He asks questions designed to make you think deeply about what you are doing. For example, he asked us the first day, “Why to you fold the fukusa in this manner to purify utensils? Did you know that the fukusa is not exactly square? Why to you think that is?
We studied from the very basic usucha procedures to the most advanced daisu procedures in the course of three very full days. On the third day in the afternoon, we practiced kagetsu, including two that I have not done before ko-tsuki kagetsu, and yojohan kagetsu (kagetsu in the four and a half mat room).
Machida Gyotei-sensei offered practical advice in his lecture, Movement within the tea room, and got into some very philosophical aspects of Buddhist and Chinese daisu procedures, how to handle precious utensils and things to think about for later. All with a charming and funny demeanor.
It was overwhelming and inspirational at at the same time. And yes, I really needed that hot tub after sitting on my knees for three days.