Shoan and the Garden Path

Tags koan
Target Audience Not you.

Rikiu was watching his son Shoan as he swept and watered the garden path. “Not clean enough,” said Rikiu, when Shoan had fin­ished his task and bade him try again. After a weary hour the son turned to Rikiu: “Father, there is nothing more to be done. The steps have been washed for the third time, the stone lan­terns and the trees are well sprinkled with wa­ter, moss and lichens are shining with a fresh ver­dure; not a twig, not a leaf have I left on the ground.” “Young fool,” chided the tea-­mas­ter, “that is not the way a garden path should be swept.” Saying this, Rikiu stepped into the garden, shook a tree and scattered over the garden gold and crimson leaves, scraps of the bro­cade of au­tumn!

The Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura