Sunday, 13 July 2008

Clay maker

A Japanese lesson on attachments

I learnt how to make tea cups and rice bowls from a humble Japanese master, Kitokuchi san.

He gave me a piece of wet clay and showed me how to press the clay with even strength and meticulous attention, of course with the help of a swirling machine.

Within 20 minutes I was amazed to see out of the formless clay I had transformed them into a shape which we proudly call a tea cup and grew attached to it happily.

To see a piece of clay a while ago and a beautiful zen cup minutes later was a mysterious transformation I have never encountered before in my life. It gave me the perspective to observe how things come and go.

Everything in our life is composed of other elements and never exists independently. The names we give them are nothing but a conceptual idea. A cup is never a cup without clay, water and heat. The same can be said to all other things in our life.

All the possessions in our life – cars, houses, furnitures, even pets and plants – are created by different causes put together. We do not own anything in this life. So there is no point of clinging to them.

Now when I hold a cup in my hand, I see more than just the cup itself. In it I see the sun, the rain, the soil and the ceramic master.

I can see the whole universe in a tiny tea cup. I can also see impermanence and attachment dwelling in the very present moment.

From nothing...

to something.


Kelly Choo said...



Vancelee Teng said...

I will. Kelly. Good luck and hope you can travel the world soon.

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