The Japanese tea ceremony, also called the Way of Tea, is a Japanese cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha , powdered green tea. In Japanese, it is called chanoyu or sado, chado . The manner in which it is performed, or the art of its performance, is called temae . Zen Buddhism was a primary influence in the development of the Japanese tea ceremony. Much less commonly, Japanese tea ceremony uses leaf tea, primarily sencha, in which case it is known in Japanese as senchado , the way of sencha) as opposed to chanoyu or chado.
The elaborate and refined Japanese tea ceremony is meant to demonstrate respect through grace and good etiquette.The powdered green tea was first used in religious rituals in Buddhist monasteries. By the 13th century, when the Kamakura Shogunate ruled the nation and tea and the luxuries associated with it became a kind of status symbol among the warrior class.
The Japanese tea ceremony developed as a “transformative practice”, and began to evolve its own aesthetic, in particular that of “sabi” and “wabi” principles. “Wabi” represents the inner, or spiritual, experiences of human lives. Its original meaning indicated quiet or sober refinement, or subdued taste “characterized by humility, restraint, simplicity, naturalism, profundity, imperfection, and asymmetry” and “emphasizes simple, unadorned objects and architectural space, and celebrates the mellow beauty that time and care impart to materials. “Sabi,” on the other hand, represents the outer, or material side of life. Originally, it meant “worn,” “weathered,” or “decayed.” Particularly among the nobility, understanding emptiness was considered the most effective means to spiritual awakening, while embracing imperfection was honoured as a healthy reminder to cherish our unpolished selves, here and now, just as we are – the first step to “satori” or enlightenment.