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I've found this sentence in one of my history books and i can't really make heads or tails of it....what does it mean at all?

利休は、茶道の精神は、簡素な中に深く豊かなものをみつけ、それをもっとも美しいと感じると考え、その精神を和敬静寂という葉で表した

what does Rikyu really think? and the それを what does it refer to? and what does 美しいと感じる mean?

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In your sentence, are you sure that 和敬静寂 is correct? The common term referring to the spirit of the tea ceremony is 和敬清寂. –  Dono Jun 7 '12 at 21:48
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I think that the sentence contains a few other errors other than the one Dono pointed out. Please check it with the original sentence in the book. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 8 '12 at 0:58
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@TsuyoshiIto I agree, the sentence seems to be missing some things. –  dainichi Jun 8 '12 at 3:45
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In future, can you try providing a more unique question title? They can't all be as interesting as Blue blistering barnacles, what is Captain Haddock saying?, but something slightly more unique than "A tough translation" would be good. –  Andrew Grimm Jun 8 '12 at 13:12
    
Searching the first part of the sentence on the web, I found this page which seems to quote the same sentence (from a newer revision of the source?): 利休は、茶道の精神は、簡素な中に深く豊かなものをみつけ、それを最も美しいと感じる心であると考え、その精神を和敬静寂という言葉であらわした。 (Unfortunately the kanji of 和敬静寂 is still incorrect there. Not sure if this error existed in the source or was caused by the person who typed it on the bulletin board.) –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 17 '12 at 21:15
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1 Answer

I would break up the sentence in this way:

利休は、[[茶道の精神は、[簡素な中に深く豊かなものをみつけ、それをもっとも美しいと感じる]]と考え]、[その精神を和敬静寂という葉で表した]

Rikyū thought that the spirit of tea ceremony is to find something deeply rich within something simple and feel that this is the most beautiful. He expressed this spirit with the expression wa-kei-sei-jaku.

The それを refers to [深く豊かなもの], i.e. the deeply rich thing (that was found within something simple, and thought to be the most beautiful).

美しいと感じる means pretty much what it says: to feel that something is beautiful.

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茶道の精神は…感じる is wrong, but this is because the sentence in the question contains errors. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 8 '12 at 13:10
    
Dainichi, thanks a lot. It's been very useful. I checked the book again and the whole sentence as I wrote it it's correct, it might be a printing error presumably. –  Ross Jun 12 '12 at 16:08
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