We gather in the Zen garden at Dartington for the tea ceremony, about forty of us, in the hot, bright mid-June sun. The early birds have already taken the shadiest seats inside the open-sided dark wooden hut overlooking the garden. We are in a classic Zen garden, far from Japan, here in England.

Bamboo flute music, ethereal, rolls in from the laurel hedge at the right-hand edge of the garden. As soon as I hear it, a stillness… A dramatic change of mood, from one of idle curiosity about another culture’s customs, from an expectation of a light cultural entertainment, to the palpable appearance ...


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