Gathering Tea

by Jakushitsu

English version by Arthur Braverman
Original Language Japanese

To the branch's edge
     and the leaf's under surface
          be most attentive

Its pervasive aroma
     envelopes people far away

The realms of form and function
     can't contain it

Spring leaks profusely
     through the basket

-- from A Quiet Room: The Poetry of Zen Master Jakushitsu, Translated by Arthur Braverman

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Oh, I just like this short Zen poem, don't you?

To the branch's edge
     and the leaf's under surface
          be most attentive


When gathering tea, each leaf, each branch requires patient, focused attention. Jakushitsu suggests to us the level of attention required in spiritual practice. It is the gathering of the materials from which we brew our spiritual tea.

Its pervasive aroma
     envelopes people far away

The realms of form and function
     can't contain it


The aroma of the tea, effervescent spiritual insight, is formless, pervasive... Without having any apparent substance, it somehow manages to reach people "far away," gladdening their hearts, awakening in them the craving to taste their own tea.

Tea is the distilled awakening of the life of the leaf in springtime.

Spring leaks profusely
     through the basket



Recommended Books: Jakushitsu

A Quiet Room: The Poetry of Zen Master Jakushitsu Zen Masterclass: A Graduated Course in Zen Wisdom from Traditional Masters The Roaring Stream: A New Zen Reader





Gathering Tea