Harmony and Hygiene: An Environment for ImprovementCulture
The phrase 和敬清寂 (wakei seijaku) lines up characters for “harmony,” “respect,” “cleanliness,” and “tranquility.” It expresses the essential nature of the tea ceremony. Participants seek to bring their spirits into harmony while showing mutual respect. By maintaining cleanliness and tranquility both mentally and in the tea room itself, they can attain a state of clarity.
The expression is of long standing in the tea ceremony and is also used in Zen with a meaning applying to the wider world. Mutual respect is needed for people with differing views to live in harmony and only arises from a pure and calm state of mind.
The first kanji 和 also appears in 和え物 (aemono), a type of cooked salad, such as spinach dressed with sesame paste, typical in Buddhist cuisine. Here, the distinct flavors of ingredients combine harmoniously into a new taste. Similarly, in human society consideration for individuality creates social accord.
Because of its apparent simplicity, wakei seijaku may be taken lightly. Yet, in our world of fierce competition, it is a phrase to remember.
Cast of Characters
Noriko, a junior high school student
Her senpai, an older student
The End(Originally published in Japanese on October 3, 2017. Manga by Mokutan Angelo.)