The Sencha Service has been the core of arts and crafts in Japan. It has become the standard for human behavior there.

The spiritual foundation of the Sencha Service is Zen which teaches that concentration of mind is more important than anything else, and that direct communication with the inner nature of things is the way to arrive at the Truth.

The Tea Service in modern Japan is now considered a secular and social pastime, but the strong Zen influence is still evident.

The service is very much concerned with rules and formalities. In this modern era of conveniences where mechanization relieves man from labor, this fuss of making a cup of Tea may seem quite unnecessary. It can be said that the whole process of making Tea is composed of gestures that follow a stylized pattern. The seemingly complicated manipulation of the various utensils, and the formalities of Tea Service are the outcome of the inner feeling of reverence and preciousness toward the "Beautiful". It is a ritual, an expression of man's consciousness of the "Sublime".

Another element of these gestures, is to bring one's mental state into a "higher order". By calming the mind, gestures bring awareness of our inner self. Objectively, they are the set manners and ethics prescribed for the attainment of "beauty".

Shudo Ogasawara
5th Generation Head Tea master of the Ogasawara Sencha Service School.