Transcending with Tea Open Access
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The art of tea or "teaism" is grounded in recognizing the polarity between the spiritual and material worlds with the goal of finding harmony and pause. The exploration of the metaphysical realities and principles of Japanese tea rituals can also be found in creating sacred space within the mundane to achieve harmony amidst the dissonance of the secular world. Creating a campus inter-faith center will both provide a place for students to embrace their spirituality or religion as well as facilitate understanding between religions in a world today in which it is necessary. A tea room based on the Japanese principles of the tea ceremony will provide a common ground where those with differing beliefs come together to take part in a ritual that promotes spirituality and moral values shared by many religions.Exploring Japanese tea history and the ritual will lay the groundwork for establishing a modern tea house based on those principles. Religious pluralism and what spaces religions currently use and their rituals will help to establish the programming for the interfaith center. Rituals are important aspects of both religions and the tea ceremony and are part of both the sacred and secular realm, public and private (or individual or group). Introspection and reflection through meditation and prayer are central to the design of the space in both areas of the tea room, such as the outer and inner waiting areas, as well as in the spaces dedicated to spirituality and religion for both individual and group worship. The juxtaposition and boundary between secular and sacred space will be explored. Nature, which is meditated upon in Japanese tea rituals and is also important to many religions, is also an important theme.The method of research includes historical writings on tea rituals and theoretical essays on philosophy of tea and religious influences. Studying sacred spaces such as synagogues, churches, mosques and temples and how people use those spaces will give insight into how users interact within those spaces. Case studies of both a multifaith center, interfaith chapel and modern tea house will all provide programmatic and design precedence for the final design.