Being Like a Rock in a Tea Garden Featured

Published in TJ Expert  

A Japanese feudal lord in Edo period, also known as a master of the tea ceremony, Sakon Kuwayama had an interesting side story.

One day, Kuwayama obtained a beautiful garden rock. He placed the rock at the entrance of the garden right in front of the tea house. A guest who noticed it said, “The rock at the entrance is truly impressive.” It was a great compliment.

But Kuwayama was not happy about it at all. As soon as the guest left, he moved the rock away to another place.

He was asked the reason why and replied,

“A rock in the garden path should never be outstanding, but should, as the guests pass through, be calming and purifying their minds.”

This story is, about the tea ceremony spirit, describing how the garden rocks should be placed, but also it seems to describe how we should be.

Never being outstanding,

but only because of their presence, our minds will be calm and purified.

That kind of person exists around us.

However, if our spirit has no silence,

we never notice that person who is like the garden rock.


江戸時代の大名であり、茶の名人であった 桑山左近に、興味深い逸話があります。

あるとき、桑山左近が 見事な庭石を手に入れました。 そこで、その石を 茶室の庭の入口に置いたところ、 ある来客が、 「あの露地の入口の石はまことに立派である」と その石を褒めたそうです。

しかし、その褒め言葉を聞いた桑山左近は、 少しも喜ばず、 その来客が帰るなり、 その石を他の場所へ移してしまいました。

その理由を問われた桑山左近は、 次のように答えたと伝えられています。

露地庭の石というものは、 決して目立つことなく、 しかし、そこをすっと通って来る間に 気持ちが静まり、 浄められるものでなければならない。

この逸話は、 茶の精神における 庭石のあり方について述べたものですが、 人間のあり方について述べたもののようにも 思えます。

決して目立つことなく、 しかし、側にいるだけで、 気持ちが静まり、浄められる。

そうした人物が、 我々の周りにも、います。


その露地庭の石に、 決して気がつかないのです。

The complete article can be found in Issue #280 of the Tokyo Journal.

Written By:

Hiroshi Tasaka

Tokyo Journal columnist Hiroshi Tasaka is President of Think Tank SophiaBank, Former Special Advisor to Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan, World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council Member and Tama University Professor. He graduated from the University of Tokyo with a Ph. D. in Nuclear Engineering in 1981. From 1987, he worked at the Battelle Memorial Institute and also at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in the USA. In 1990, he participated in founding the Japan Research Institute. In 2000, he became a Professor at Tama University in Tokyo and founded Think Tank SophiaBank. Dr. Tasaka is a philosopher who has put forward a wide range of ideas, theories and philosophies. He is the author of more than 60 books.


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