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Harada Roshi

Introduction to Ikebana with Masako San

The change of positions was held recently in Sogenji and the new Jisharyos (DoYu and Toon) asked Masako San to show them the basics of flower arrangement. It is a daily job for Jisha to change the flower in the zendo´s altar.
We gathered in Tekisui-an and listened carefully to these instructions:

1. We have to choose our vase. If it is a standard long one, then we measure the height of the vase (1 open hand for example)  and the finished flower arrangement must be 2.5 units (the vase plus 1.5 hand measure in height). For the zendo´s vase 2.0 hand measure is fine.

2. A simple flower arrangement consists of three elements: The first one holds everything together, has a perfect height according to our vase size and is pointing straight to the sky. The second one is smaller and points to the side, and the third one complements the two and points closer to the earth. This arrangement follows the principle of Ten-Ji-Chi and can be visualized as a harmonious triangle. Masako San explained that Ten refers to the Sky and therefore our first element points straight up connecting with the sky energy, Jin refers to the human realm, but in Ikebana it refers to the Space where we all live thus connecting to the side energy and Chi refers to the energy of the Earth and points down or is lower in height.

3. Simple greenery and flowers are best for altar arrangements. One straight Pine branch for example, can be a perfect first element. Then we can add some small flowers and/or greenery as second and third element. She advises us to never put one flower or greenery alone, unless we find a perfect shaped and very harmonious Pine branch. She also says that if we are receiving guests for one hour we are free to use any flower we like. But if we want to have flowers for a longer time, then we should avoid using bamboo, lotus, morning glory or anything that will become sad too quickly. Regardless of the type of flower or greenery she asks us to always cut the stems in a diagonal inside a bucket of water. This will allow the stem to suck in the water immediately and last longer. Also never allow green leaves to go inside the vase, this will make it smell bad too soon.

4. She presents different methods to hold the flowers in place. First find a balance in your arrangement and then use a rubber band to tie it together. Then use stones, or a piece of bamboo or wood cut in half to hold them in place.

5. If you have a plant that has beautiful green leaves but is finished flowering, you can always cut a healthy branch, place it in the vase and replace the flower that died with a fresh one of another kind.

Thank You!!!

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