What to do with the kensui water?
The tea ceremony is comprised so that there is no waste: no wasted movement, no wasted words, and certainly no wasted tea. But what to do with the kensui water? (‘Kensui’ = bowl for waste water created from purifying the tea bowl during the ceremony.)
Once a wise man was taking a bath, but it was too hot, so he asked for some cold water. A young man fetched a bucket of cold water to cool the bath. After adding some water, he threw the rest away. Upon this the wise man said: “Why are you so wasteful? Everything in the world has its place and its value. Things just end up in the wrong place and in situations where their value is not understood. Even a drop of water has its place and great value. Imagine if you’d just given that water to the flowers, trees, vegetable garden, or even returned it to the sea? Not only nature, but every drop of water would be happy, resting in its place, and still with all its value. A single drop of water is very valuable. You should not waste it.”
One of the principles of permaculture is ‘no such thing as waste, only things in the wrong place’. At the end of every tea gathering we are faced with the dilemma: ‘what to do with the kensui water?’
Perhaps the tea gathering truly finishes when the kensui water finds a new home.