Tea and Zen Have One Taste - Practice

Text and Images from Slide

The meal offered to the guests during the first part of a formal tea gathering is based on temple fare.

A monk with a straw rain hat stands on the street in Kyoto. One hand is raised in a gesture of prayer while the other holds his begging bowl. He wears a black kimono and with yellow robe over his shoulder. He stands on the street in white tabi socks.

A black lacquer tray holding the first course of a tea ceremony meal. At the right front of the tray, there is a black lacquer bowl of white miso soup with some vegetables in the center. A cylindrical form of white rice in another black lacquer bowl is to the left of the soup. At the rear of the tray is a maple leaf shaped dish. It has a design of leavesin green, rust, and yellow. There is a pile of raw fish and some garnishes in the middle of the dish.

Japanese character for stone

Japanese character for breast


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Lecture Notes

The dishes on which the meal is served recall the monk's begging bowl. The cuisine is called kaiseki. These characters mean "breast stones" indicating the meal is like the hot stones monks placed in their kimono to stave off hunger during meditation. Originally, only one soup and three side dishes were served. Today, the meal is more elaborate.