the basin. The host then carefully purifies him/herself with the water, returns the bucket to the preparation room and walks toward the middle gate. The host opens the gate, walks through, and all the guests rise and there is a silent bow. The host returns the the teahouse and the guests prepare to move on to the tsukubai. The first guest says, "Osaki ni", or "please excuse me for going before you", and will turn the mat over so it rests on the back wall, then each guest will follow. The last guest will return the mats to the starting position and place the tobacco tray on top and follow the guests through the chumon to the tsukubai area. There are some pictures of the tsukubai area in the photo gallery.
Each of the guests, starting with the first, go to the tsukubai to purify themselves, similar to the purifying basins at temples throughout Japan. The guest first takes out a handkerchief to wipe their hands after using the basin, then crouches in front of the basin with the handkerchief on the knee. The guest takes the ladle and a scoop of water and pours some on his left hand, switches to his left and pours water on his right hand. Next, with the ladle in his/her right hand, takes another scoop and pours some on his/her left palm and uses it to rise out the mouth, then spits it out. The guest then picks up the ladle and allows the remaining water to run down the ladle to purify the object for the next guest. The guest then returns the handkerchief to his/her kimono. One by one, each guest repeats the purification.
The tsukubai つくばい is a "place" rather than just a water basin. The basin is generally called a chozubachi 手水鉢 in tea gardens, and the hole is usually circular and it is always placed low so that one must crouch in order to use it. I think it is Arthur Lindsay Sadler's book, that attributed the following quote to Rikyu; “It is necessary for all, even the greatest of men to stoop low on the ground, for it is by humility that the true Sage is known”. The tsukubai area is usually 5 to 15 steps from the tearoom and when you approach there are a number of stones in front of the basin. Urasenke has a a stone to the left that is shorter than the right stone used to hold a bucket of hot water in the winter called a youku-ishi 湯桶石, and a slightly taller stone to the right for a lantern during the evening tea called a teshoku-ishi手燭石 and a flat stone directing in front of the basin called a mae ishi 前石. More detail on the design and construction of tsukubai can be found in Tsukubai - Design & Construction.
With first guest leading, all guests will follow the path to the tearoom. As there are sometimes different paths, i.e. the path that the host might take to the mizuya 水屋, or preparation room, and on that path is there will be a small stone with black hemp rope tied around it is used to tell the guests to stop. This stone is called sekimori ishi関守石. You can see one in the photo gallery. When the guests arrive at the tearoom they might see an interesting feature of the roji, the chiriana 塵穴, or dust hole (pictured in part 1). This is a mortared or cement hole placed in area in full view of guests and near the nijiriguchi 躙口, the crawl in entrance way. Most of the time it is just there as a decoration, but if we look further at its Buddhist symbolism, the unwanted dust of the world can be left there when we enter the tearoom. This small hole becomes an important symbol as we enter the tea room. The size and shape depend on the size of the tearoom, and those with interest, feel free to ask. There is also a photo in the gallery area of the chiriana and of the nijiriguchi. In the photo of the nijiriguchi you can see a hanging broom called a warabiboki, a broom of fern fronds (now used for decoration, but in the past was used for the cleaning the roji).
Now with the first guest leading, the guests open the sliding door and enter the tearoom or chashitsu 茶室. End of Part 2.
Elliot Mitchnick holds the tea license rank of Junkyoju. His tea name (chamei) is Soei.
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