March 24, 2024 Annual Rikyuki Memorial

Annual Rikyuki Memorial
March 24, 2024
Nichiren Shu Beikoku Betsuin

On a clear spring day, March 24th, the Urasenke Tankokai Los Angeles Association (UTLAA) held Rikyuki at Nichiren Shu Beikoku Betsuin in Los Angeles. Rikyuki is the annual memorial tea ceremony to commemorate the life of Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591), the founder of the Japanese way of tea. 74 people participated in the ceremony to pay respect for the great tea master.

The event started with Hanayose, the flower tribute to Rikyu. Beautiful seasonal flowers were arranged in a variety of flower containers by managers. After that, Kucha, the tea offering to Rikyu was made by Mme. Sochi Ohshima as teishu and Mme. Sokei Kung as hanto. A bowl of tea was offered to the alcove in memory of Rikyu and all the guests bowed in his honor.

After Kucha, tea and sweets called Hanaikada “Flower Rafts”, handmade by members of association, were served to all the guests. The word Hanaikada represents the atmosphere of late spring with scattered cherry blossom petals floating on the surface of the water. It was said that an urn tied by a cord on the raft, untied and the urn was found floating in the river meaning it would go straight to paradise. Hanaikada is usually served by Urasenke on the anniversary of Rikyu’s death.

After Rikyuki, Reverend Shumyo Kojima, head priest of the Zenshuji Temple, gave a lecture on Zen-go and the relationship to our practice of tea. He explained that Zen-go is usually used on a scroll in a tea gathering. He wrote the words in beautiful calligraphy and explained the stories behind many famous sayings and gave examples such as Kissako, “Just have some tea” or Nichi nichi kore kojitsu, “Every day is a good day”.

Chief of Administration of UTLAA, Ann Soshin Abe concluded by thanking everyone for coming.