This morning I did a sloppy job at transferring new matcha tea from its original container onto a tea caddy using a sift that was wider than the opening of the caddy (sifting matcha is important to avoid powdery lumps and obtain a smoother drink).
The unintended effect of my actions resulted in a strand of tea powder accumulating around the cylindrical tea caddy which, once removed, left a green circle resembling an ensō, the celebrated circular form in Zen Buddhism, on the indigo cloth of the table runner.
In Zen and Japanese calligraphy, drawing ensō circles on paper using a continuous brushstroke is often used as a part of a meditative practice to reflect the current state of one’s mind. An open or closed circle might represent different states of nothingness or completeness, imperfection or perfection, which reminds me of the key passage of the Heart Sutra that says (translation by Alex Kerr):
The material world does not differ from emptiness.
Emptiness does not differ from the material world.
The material world is itself emptiness.
Emptiness is itself the material world.
Sensation, Thought, Action and Consciousness
Are all just like this.
And there I was, performing a mundane action before preparing a bowl of matcha when I got transported into a brief moment of calm and reflection before the busyness of the day began.