Murata Shuko, who is known as the father of chanoyu, practiced Zen under the Zen master Ikkyu Sojun and received a Zen calligraphic work by Engo from him. Takeno Joo, known as the restorer of chanoyu, received the words 'chazen ichimi' (tea and Zen are one) from Dairin Soto. As the great Sen no Rikyu realized while practicing Zen under Shorei Sokin (1505-83) and being initiated into its depths, the development of chanoyu had a profound connection with Buddhism, especially Zen.
Chanoyu's ideal way of life is one that is separated from the common world, like a religious training in Buddhism. Also, practice is not something that is memorized as knowledge, but something that is understood through the body, and closely resembles the zazen of Zen practice in which training is deepened through seated meditation. In chanoyu this Zen spirit is expressed in the Zen calligraphic work (bokuseki) by a Zen priest which is hung in the tokonoma (alcove). The great majority of these Zen priests are from the Rinzai sect of Daitoku-ji temple, and chanoyu has formed a deep connection with Daitoku-ji. Also, in Sakai, celebrated Zen priests came to reside at Nanshu-ji temple, a temple of the Daitoku-ji school of Zen, and had a deep association with tea practitioners in the early period of chanoyu. As part of this connection with Daitoku-ji, the three Sen families were also able to use the cemetary at Daitoku-ji's Juko-in.
Chanoyu is associated not only with the Zen sect, but with various other sects as well. In the early Edo period Nichiren sect followers such as Honami Koetsu (1558-1637) were also active tea practitioners. Also tea devotees who belonged to the Jodo sect and Shinshu sect appeared one after another. Chanoyu had connections not only to these religions but also to a wider range of folk beliefs.