June 19, 2024 KODO WORKSHOP

June 19, 2024
Nichiren Shu Beikoku Betsuin

Reverend Shinetsu Fukushima from Chokoji Zen Temple in Saitama Prefecture conducted a Kodo (Way of Incense) workshop for members of the Urasenke Tankokai Los Angeles Association.    The 2 hour session was held in the chashitsu of Nichiren Shu Beikoku Betsuin.  Eight members were in attendance.  Fukushima sensei conducted the workshop last year which was well received.  Four new participants attended with 4 who attended last year.

Reverend Fukushima briefly discussed the history and how it played a role during the Heian period and was mentioned in the Tale of Genji and continued through the samurai period. 

Poetry is associated with kodo and Fukushima san shared a poem by a Japanese American:

かの日々に移り来し人たがやしし大和と呼ぶ里 アマンドの花“

“In days gone by, those who came before, cultivated home called Yamato, almond blossoms”

Fukushima sensei explained the meaning as, “I wonder if the Japanese Americans who immigrated in the 19th century compared almond flowers to cherry blossoms, looking back to their homeland.”

Fukushima sensei practices “Jikishin-ryu”, which focuses on procedures like the tea ceremony, derived from Shino ryu which was favored by Samurai rather than nobles. Participants were introduced to 2 types of “kyara” and a “manaka” fragrance.  Part of the ceremony involved a guessing game of matching the scent with different kinds of incense.  We were asked to not only smell the fragrance but also to listen so that the reading of the poetry was part of the experience.  It was a great learning opportunity for those in attendance.