Tea Diaries

Are you more than skin-deep?

Look beyond skin-deep

One morning in Tea Ceremony class, I found myself sitting in the main tea room with another student. I perked up my ears as I sensed something was going on back in the kitchenette area where we prepare the utensils, sweets, etc.

Soon enough, a middle-aged man looking a bit disheveled makes his way into the tea room, bows and says hello to our teacher.

He’s an honest-looking fellow who talks a tad too loud, and had hair sticking up like how little boys wake up for school forgetting to pat down their hair. But, he’s a middle-aged man.

This fellow came to pay our teacher a visit. It has been a while since he had seen her. He used to practice Tea ceremony as well. He brought a box of sweets with him and was polite.

While he and our teacher were conversing, because of the funny way he talked, I and the other student couldn’t help but giggle to ourselves. He didn’t seem to notice.

When the man left, our teacher remarked, not to us directly, but looking afar,

“He is very pure.”

Immediately, we wiped our faces clean of any remnant of a smirk or a giggle.

We got a slap on our hands without an actual slap. I realise that we judged the man from how he looked, not how he was as a person. And obviously judging people period was not the Way of tea, or the Way of Life for that matter. It’s become a great reminder for me to always look beyond skin-deep.

I’ve shared this story with the next generation – a young boy, a son of my friend’s. After telling him the story, I asked him what he thought. He said it sounded like one of those ‘God stories’ – which I think he meant it sounded like one of those stories with a moral he hears at church. (^v^)

Do you remind yourself to see what’s beneath the surface, or just the surface?