Tools of the Way

Tools of the Way

There is a term that I love that is used in chado (the way of tea) as well as many other classical Japanese practices, crafts, and arts: dogu. Dogu translates to “tools of the way” or “tools of the trade.” 

In the practice of tea, there seems to be endless dogu, from chawan (tea bowls) to mizusashi (water container) to kama (cast iron kettles). It can be a costly passion, but surrounding yourself and others with beautiful tea accessories does something for the soul. It takes us out of the mundane and into a world of beauty. It is a chance to step away from the day to day. To quote Dave Lowry, “Dogu in Japan as well have long been considered capable of elevating the spirit of their users….Dogu provided the vehicle (they still do) to travel a philosophical, potentially transformational path. To recognize this aspect of the Japanese dogu is to understand their essence.”

Lately, I have been thinking about the parallels between tea dogu and bath products and accessories. I think the title of Mark Edward Harris’s stunning photography book, The Way of the Japanese Bath, captures this perfectly.

Just as with tea dogu, bath dogu are tools to help us along a spiritual path. Amayori’s products and the accessories that are imported from Japan are not just items. These are special and are something deep and meaningful. They are a way to elevate your soul and create sacred space at home based on Japan’s time-honored traditions.

One of the things taught in tea practice is to treat dogu with respect. There are very particular ways that tea dogu is stored, handled, and cleaned. What if we approached our bath dogu with the same level of reverence? Imagine how much more we would get out of our bathing experiences.

Next time you bathe, take it to the next level and approach the experience as sacred and transformative. Realize that the salts or oils you pour into the hot water, the hinoki mat you step on when exiting the bath, the linen towel that cocoons you, and the mist sprayed on your skin are all pieces of a transcendent, soul-elevating ritual.

Ready to relax? Here is my favorite place to start.

Warmest wishes,
Françoise
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