The Art of Tea Ceremony

Glenn A. Sorei Pereira is an instructor of Chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony.

A Boston resident, Pereira is classically trained in Chado—the way of tea—at the Urasenke Professional College of Chado in Kyoto, Japan. He now teaches people from all walks of life both in Boston and on the South Shore at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury. Museum guests can visit the Shofuan “Wind in the Pines” tea hut, located in a Japanese garden on the museum grounds, and watch Pereira demonstrate the ancient tradition of serving tea. The ceremony involves the preparation of powdered Japanese tea using a series of elegantly executed steps. As a missionary of Chado, Glenn continues the wishes of Sen Genshitsu XV and Sen Soshitsu XVI, Grand Tea Master, to create peacefulness through sharing a bowl of tea.

What got you interested in Japanese tea ceremony?

Originally I had basic interest in Japan. I liked Japanese art and design and Japanese films. A dear friend knew this and gave me a gift certificate for 10 tea ceremony lessons. I took the first class and everything about it made me happy—it’s ritual, history, philosophy and especially the relationship between people sharing a bowl of tea. Ten months later I found myself living in Japan and studying formally at the Urasenke Professional College of Chado.

What is the art of Chado?

Basically, it is a lesson in caring for others. During the study of tea we learn about all the arts of Japan, such as calligraphy, architecture, flower arrangement and food.

How has Chado shaped who you are and what does it mean to you?

It has instilled an awareness and appreciation for everyday life. The act of inviting someone for tea, spending time with them and not talking about anything other than what is happening at that moment can be magical. To be able to serve others without asking for anything in return and see the faces of guests who are happy and relaxed sharing a moment with me, these are the things that are important to me. After 35 years of being involved in tea I can’t imagine my life without it.

What is a typical ceremony at the Art Complex Museum like?

A typical ceremony begins at the tea house. Two walls are removed so that everyone can see the demonstration inside. There is a presentation of the ceremony and then I answer any questions the crowd has about Chado. Afterwards there is a tasting of the tea and some sweets. I will be running tea ceremony presentations in Duxbury in July and September.

Glenn Pereira holds weekly classes and performs throughout New England. To learn more about tea ceremony and upcoming classes, email: gapereira@gmail.com. For more information about the tea ceremonies held at the Art Complex Museum, visit www.artcomplex.org.

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