Omotesenke Hands


Does Omotesenke hold there hands left over right or right over left? I am guessing it is the opposite of Urasenke’s right over left, like in walking, but I wanted to confirm.

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I have checked with a Omotesenke teacher that I know, and she said:

Omotesenke have left hand over right hand. Both feets turned flatt ideally with left over right, but it was not strict if right over left foot is more comfortable. They stand up with both feet aligned.

The reason she gave was that left was considered the shin side. And also mentioned that this is the reason that the oldest koma tearooms all were gyakugatte compared to todays thinking of gyaku vs hongatte.

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I would love to hear the answer myself, while knowing that it would not make much of a difference. As opposed to Urasenke, which seems to be implied as a RIGHT over LEFT as a given rule, is a bit misleading.

All in all, this is a strange question in my view, as it implies that different schools have well defined rules based on well defined reasoning regarding whether the right or the left hand sit on top of the other, and that implies in the seiza position.

In my exposure to the matter (I was taught to keep the LEFT over the RIGHT and I immediately had the same question – why? / stupid of me), I run into a number of arguments, which, in the end, point to the irrelevancy of the question.

The subject goes back to Buddhism. It starts there of course. Buddha, in numerous sculptures (but not in all) it is shown with the hands (palms up) and RIGHT hand resting on the palm of the LEFT hand. If this was by accident or it was his actual position based on a volitive act with a clear background – a sense of metaphysics, symbolism, etc., remains forever a matter of interpretation. Guess what happens if we take this position and rotate it 180 grade to arrive at the hands position in seiza (LEFT over RIGHT)

The question that arises and splits the position of Zen sects is whether we, not yet Buddhas (having or being its nature) have the right to adopt the position of the Buddha, while not there yet. Soto and Rizai sects say NO. When Soto and Rizai monks sit in meditation they have LEFT over RIGHT. And Soto and Rizai influenced the Senke schools.

There is the interesting factor of pragmatism to be considered. When in seiza, the tow of the right foot is over the tow of the left foot. The practical reason of this, is that it is much easier to immediately stand up in need. Try and you will agree. As a matter of balance then, the LEFT hand is over the RIGHT hand. This again points to the LEFT over RIGHT solution.

Today it is clear that Urasenke has RIGHT over LEFT. Years back, I learned the other way around. Today I do as required by the school today. In the end, in my view it is an irrelevant matter – too much focus on this detracts from the real direction.

I do not know which way Omotesenke has it. Anyway would be fine to me. I wait for the truth coming from someone with a clear understanding of the matter. Buddha maybe?


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