Today was another day on which monthly tea services are to be held at the Buddhist temple where I go to collect what I call “pieces of peace.” But as I have already completed the full set, I am quite curious as to what I will be collecting next, if anything at all.
What a difference a month makes! I woke up this morning all excited and unable to wait another minute to go out. Unfortunately, when I looked out the window, it was drizzling on and off, but that did not stop me from getting dressed in this traditional wear:
I chose it for three reasons – one, because it has cherry blossoms printed on it and matches the season well; two, because it is made of polyester and I can machine-wash it at home if it gets dirtied in the rain (unlike silk traditional wear that must be dry-cleaned by professionals and I dare not wear them in bad weather!); and three, because I had it tailor-made (and therefore, cheaper fabric is made not-so-cheep-looking) and I have little difficulty putting it on.
(Have you also noticed on the sash that there is a tea bowl together with a few branches of cherry blossom on the top right, and what appears to be sweets on the bottom left? It is customary for my people to eat and drink under cherry blossoms in bloom… a coordination full of playfulness, don’t you think?)
When I got to the tea room, I was invited in along with seven other guests, five of whom were two separate groups traveling from the same English-speaking city, fairly close to the city I used to live in in my second homeland. We got along instantly (though I strongly objected to their claim that my second homeland is practically their fifty-first state!), so it was almost natural that I became their interpreter for the occasion.
The host was charming as usual, and she was the best host the guests from abroad could have asked for – she gave additional explanations of things that people accustomed to the Way of Tea accept as normal and/or common, so they could enjoy the service from the beginning to the end at the same level of understanding as the rest of the guests (all three of us turned out to have some experience being at tea services).
At the end, when the time came for the host to hand out “pieces of peace,” the guests from abroad asked me what they should do with it. So of course, I proudly showed them, and the host, as well as the rest of the guests, what I did with mine! Here, no additional explanation were needed – they all seemed to be quite impressed, obviously not for my craftsmanship, but for my dedication in completing the full set and determination to keep it near and dear to me.
When it came time for us to part, we all thanked each other for their company, but I received an extra “thank you” from everyone for making today’s occasion a little more special. It made me very happy that a little something I did to make myself happy was able to make a few others happy to see it. We were all happy, and we knew it, so we quietly savoured it together.
Maybe when you are really happy and you know it for sure, you do not need any exaggerated actions or loud shouts to show it.
Maybe it is something that can be felt intuitively and shared infectiously.
I was so happy, it was not until I got home and took out my agenda to check my schedule for the coming week that I realized I had forgotten to receive my “piece of peace” for the day! I almost clenched my fists, stomped my feet, and shouted “ARR-GHH!!”… but I chose not to.
Maybe it is a happiness I will come to know on my next visit to the tea service, so for now, I think I will quietly savour the time in anticipation for it.
Maybe this too is a happiness in and of itself, to be able to assume that happiness awaits you… what a peaceful world I live in, and how I wish I could spread it infectiously to as many of you around the world as possible to feel intuitively!
It would make me very happy if I could know that you can sense bits of it through this post…