In the tradition of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, an azumaya is a waiting room or arbor, where a person may quietly contemplate and enjoy a view of the surrounding garden before entering the ceremony. Traditionally, an azumaya is an open affair, no walls, in order to let in the light and breezes and surrounding energy.
When I think of waiting I am always reminded of something the Buddha reportedly said: “Waiting is the hardest thing.”
Well, it certainly is for me. I have trouble standing in lines, in stores, at airports, let alone waiting for enlightenment. I become agitated when clients forget to process an invoice and I have to call or write to remind them. I have trouble waiting for my automated options or being placed on hold, on the phone and in life. Not much patience, I’m afraid. It takes me some time to relax, calm down, take a moment to view the garden that surrounds me.
Which, I suppose, is exactly the point of any azumaya, a beautiful place to sit and notice the shades of nature. Just yesterday, my busy schedule was interrupted by a tree releasing its dessicated red and yellow leaves to the warmth of autumn. I stood still while the leaves tumbled softly around me and like stars blew away down the street. Their sweet, dry smell triggered memories of childhood. An azumaya, in this way I suppose, may not only be a place, but also be a few private moments before entering the next main event, whatever that may be.
The genius of this place, these moments, is the opening they give for light, for the breeze, for the energy I might otherwise hardly notice. They remind me of the background, and for an instant or two, as that background comes forward, thought stops in favor of the nameless. And then I am ready to go on.