2012春，无我茶会英译更名为「Sans Self Tea Gathering」
无我茶会于1990初创建。茶会的意义着重于对「无」的体悟。无我一词在宗教思想上广泛使用，但我们将无我解释为「懂得无的我」。无我茶会的茶会表示「聚会」的意思，没有强调它的仪式性，且把这样的茶会当作一件茶道艺术的作品。创建之初，未发现适当用语之时，暂时英译为「Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony」。
2012年春（2012.04.18），我们决定将无我茶会的名称英译定为「Sans Self Tea Gathering」。sans 一词取自于莎士比亚剧作《皆大欢喜》，原为法文，是「无」，「没有」 和「不」的意思，莎士比亚借用此词形容人生七个阶段，意境深邃；后来sans一词被广泛应用于英语著作中，成为中古英语，沿用至今。gathering正表示聚会的意思，调整了ceremony被视为是一种仪轨的表现。名称英译如此一改就更接近创建者对「无我茶会」的诠释了。
Changing of Name in English (Spring, 2012)
Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony is now ‘Sans Self Tea Gathering’
When the concept and format was established in 1990, it was temporarily called the Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony in English, given the fact that it was organized to celebrate the realization of ‘Wu’, literally ‘no’, ‘the absence of’ or ‘void’. ‘Wo’, on the other hand, is ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘self’. ‘Wu-Wo’ is thus best understood as ‘I who understand the idea of nothingness’. The term has been used ever since, before a more appropriate one comes along.
In spring, 2012, we coined the term “Sans Self Tea Gathering” which we thought is closer to the intention of the founders of this activity. Sans, an archaic French word meaning ‘without’, has been made popular by some of the greatest literary works through the ages, including William Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It”. To call it a tea gathering, instead of a tea ceremony, is to better reflect its nature. (English Translator : Katherine Yip英语翻译：叶德明)
无我茶会基本架构 Sans Self Tea Gathering: The Basic Model
ISBN978-957-9690-08-9 “无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering180,” First edition: 1999.9, Second edition: 2010.9《无我茶会180条》1999.9第一版 2010.9第二版 台北陆羽茶艺股份有限公司English Translator : Katherine Yip英语翻译：叶德明
无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering is a form of tea gathering that requires participants to bring along their own tea wares. Sitting in a circle, each participant is to brew four cups of tea, three of which will be offered to fellow tea drinkers on the right or left, saving the remaining to oneself. As such, each person will be drinking four cups of tea. After the agreed rounds of brewing, everyone will pack up – this is when the ceremony comes to an end.
Seats will be determined by random drawing upon arrival. Each participant would have known the procedure and the way the ceremony is to be conducted, having receivednotification from the organizer beforehand. There is no event director or master of ceremonies during the congregation – everything will follow the pre-agreed arrangement. Quietly, each participant brews tea; there is no restriction as to the school or regional practices imposed on the style of the equipage and brewing technique.
After the last round of tea is taken, the organizer has the option of arranging a 5-minute session of music appreciation, to let the flavor settle in, or induce reflection on the tea ceremony. Other activities can also be arranged when the tea ceremony is over.
Such is the basic model of a 无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering. Here is a summary of the above:
1 Sitting in circle, everyone brews, serves and drinks tea.
2 Seats are determined by random drawing.
3 Tea is to be served to the person sitting next to you (on the left or right, in one direction).
4 Tea wares, tea leaves and water for brewing are to be brought along by the participants.
5 Number of cups and brewing, and the way to serve tea is agreed upon beforehand; the event flow is also pre-determined.
6 No talking is allowed throughout the ceremony.
Why is无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering conducted in such an unusual way? In essence, it represents theseven principles the ceremony embraces:
A. Seats determined by random drawing – an absence of hierarchy
Before the ceremony begins, participants will have to take a seat. Each of them has to draw a number and be seated accordingly. There is no pre-determined seating; no one knows whom will they be seating next to, and serving tea to, until they are seated. There is no hierarchical differentiation and no difficulty in finding a seat – just the way we were born. Don’t you think things will be made difficult if we can choose the family to born into?
The same goes with tea gatherings for parents and their children. The nature of random drawing is as such that children may not be serving tea to their own parents, and parents may not be offering tea to their own children. This is perhaps the perfect picture of the famous saying: “Respect the elderly as you would your parents, care for the young as you would your children”.
B. Tea offered in one direction – no action of reciprocity is expected
Picture below: Tea offered in one direction – no action of reciprocity is expected(2007无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering in Korea)
When the tea is brewed, it is offered to the next person(s) in the same direction. If the number of cups agreed for the day is four, and three of them will be offered to fellow tea drinkers on the left and the last one for oneself, it will be done exactly that way.
Tea is offered in cups during the first round; whereas, tea brewed during the second round will be poured into tea pitcher , which will then be poured into the cups you have offered. This means that person(s) being offered will be able to enjoy several rounds of your brew.
Alternative arrangements can be made. For example, one may be serving tea to the second, fourth and sixth fellow tea drinkers on the right, or the fifth, tenth and fifteenth fellow tea drinkers on the left, as long as the arrangement is made known before the ceremony begins. In sizable tea gatherings, the reach of tea serving can be extended.
A uni-directional flow of tea serving realizes the spirit of “expecting no reciprocity” – to put it simply, it is the appreciation of “doing something for nothing”, when a person doesn’t expect to be offered tea in return when he offers his. “Serving tea” is a laudable act in the Way of Tea. The experience is made even purer if we don’t have to worry about reciprocating.
For the sight-challenged, a person may serve tea to a fellow drinker on each side, while reserving one himself – this will save them the inconvenience of moving around to offer tea. In this circumstance, the spirit of mutual-help takes the place of reciprocity.
C. Accepting and appreciating tea of all kinds – setting aside personal preferences
Each attendant of the 无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering will have to bring along their own tea. As highlighted in the notification, any type of tea is welcome. This way, a participant may get to sample a different tea in each cup offered. As advocated by the Way of Tea, a person is to accept and appreciate tea without letting personal preferences get in the way. As it goes, preference rules out things you don’t like, which could be something intrinsically wonderful. By rejecting, we could be depriving ourselves of the blessings in life. What 无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering reminds us is exactly this – we have to set aside personal likes and dislikes in order to develop amicable relationships and cultivate goodwill, wherever we go.
From green tea, oolong tea to black tea, each has its unique color, aroma and taste. As tea drinkers, it is important for us to brew, present and enjoy each accordingly.
D. Making an effort to brew well – it is about getting better each time
There is no guarantee that each cup is masterfully brewed – chances are that a person will be served tea that is downright bitter and astringent, or bland and tasteless. When this is the case, there could be two types of emotional response: “Who made this? It is awful.” Or “I’ve messed up. Got to be careful.” As far as the Way of Tea goes, the latter attitude is encouraged, for the simple fact that “brewing a good pot”is basic. What is there to be explored if we can’t even brew our tea well? This is not unlike the study of music and art. It is pointless to talk about a certain realm induced by music when a person can’t even play the piano well; likewise, a person can’t possibly be elaborating on the use of lines and colours in bringing out a certain artistic mood if he hasn’t mastered the use of brushes. This is why no one is allowed to talk once the 无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gatheringbegins; there is only one mission – to brew a good pot.
When serving tea at the 无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering, we always reserve one for ourselves. This will enable us to assess the brewing, and make quick adjustment to improve during the next round. A bad brew is a disgrace to ourselves, disservice to the others, and yes, to the tea brewed. Just as our seniors keep reminding us, doing one’s task well is the single most important element in a person’s self-cultivation.
E. There is no event director or master of ceremonies – everything goes as agreed
The 无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering goes by pre-determined schedule and pre-agreed arrangement; there is no event director at the venue. If according to the schedule, venue set-up begins at 8.30, participants responsible for placing the seat number tag would be there on the dot. Participants responsible for drawing would have prepared the lots for fellow drinkers who begin arriving at 9, as scheduled. Seats will be taken according to the drawn lots. Participants will then lay out their tea wares, and socialize with fellow tea drinkers and admire others’ equipage. Brewing begins at 9.30, and that’s when everyone goes back to their seats, including those who were busy with drawing for seats a while ago. Tea will be served according to the agreed way after the first round of brewing. When a person has been offered the agreed number of cups, he may begin drinking. Tea from the second brewing will be served with a tea pitcher, followed by drinking, and so on. When the agreed rounds of serving and drinking have been made, participants may stay in their original places to enjoy music (if it has been arranged), while relishing the unique tea experience. At the end of the music session, participants will wipe clean the tea cups they have used with tea towel or paper towel, and bring along a tea tray to collect their own cups. Participants are not expected to dispose of tea residue. The Tea Ceremony is over when all tea wares have been packed. There is nobody directing or conducting the event flow – nevertheless, it goes like clockwork.
When everything is pre-arranged and pre-agreed, what’s the point of having someone there directing? For regular participants of the 无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering, following agreed rules is like second nature.
F. Observing silence during the Ceremony – appreciating mutual-understanding and the beauty of collective rhythm
When the “Tea ware appreciation and Socialization” time is up, everyone will stop talking and concentrate on brewing. In the course of brewing, participants will calm down, feel their own existence in this space, and appreciate their oneness with the world around. When tea is served, it is done in peace and silence. As participants offer tea to each other, they seem to have been strung by an invisible silk ribbon that moves rhythmically along with the gentle act of tea serving. In moments like these, words would be superfluous. There is no need for verbal expressions like “thank you” and “have some tea, please” – a slight bow, and a smile, will suffice.
The ideas of “silence” and “mutual-understanding” described here, as well as “the absence of directing” elaborated in the previous section, are pivotal to the success of a 无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering– only by keeping intervention to the minimum will it happen in as natural a way as the system of the universe, and the cycle of seasons.
G. To each his own – there is no restriction as to the school or regional practice in brewing
At a 无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering, the method of brewing is subject to no restriction, and this applies to differences in tea ware and tea leaves preferred by tea drinkers as influenced by certain schools, styles or regional background. The choice between teapots and lidded cups , preference with tea leaves or powdered tea , and that of the method and style of brewing are not matters of concern.
Regardless of such differences as in equipage, tea leaves, attire, language and places of origin, the Tea Ceremony calls for an effort in brewing a good pot and sharing it with fellow drinkers, be they new or old acquaintances, as determined by random drawing.
You may wonder, if there is no restriction whatsoever as to the tea ware and brewing method, and participants are required to accept and appreciate teas that come their way, does it mean that brewing will become a matter of chance? Make no mistake; 无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gatheringdoes observe the principle of “Making an effort to brew well”. Once you have decided on the tea presentation setting and brewing method, you will have to come up with the best possible setting and brew at the time of the congregation.
Meanwhile, it is true that there is no special requirement as to the attire and protocol; and yet, with the same principle of “getting better each time”, they should be appropriate for the occasion.
无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering International Chronicle as below:
1991.10.17-2nd. Wuyi Mountain
1992.11.09-3rd. Kyoto, Japan
1993.10.13-4th. Seoul and Iksan, Korea
1995.10.27-5th. Wuyi Mountain
2001.10.07-8th. Shizuoka, Japan
无我茶会基本架构 无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering: The Basic Model
ISBN978-957-9690-08-9 “无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering 180,” First edition: 1999.9, Second edition: 2010.9《无我茶会180条》1999.9第一版 2010.9第二版 台北陆羽茶艺股份有限公司English Translator : Katherine Yip英语翻译：叶德明
无我茶会是依事先排定的程序与约定的做法进行，会场上不再有人指挥。例如排定八点半布置会场，负责排放座位号码牌的茶友就要开始到场工作，九点报到，负责抽签的茶友就要将号码签准备好让与会的茶友抽签。抽完签的人依号码就坐，将茶具摆放出来，然后起身与其他茶友联谊，并参观别人带来的茶具。九点半开始泡茶，大家自动回到自己座位，负责报到抽签等工作的茶友这时也归队。泡完第一道茶，起来依约定的奉茶方式奉茶，自己被奉的数杯茶到齐之后开始喝茶。看大家大致喝完了第一道茶，开始冲泡第二道，泡妥第二道茶，持茶盅出去奉第二道茶，接着喝第二道茶……，喝完最后一道茶，若排定有品茗后音乐欣赏，则静坐原地，聆听音乐，回味回味刚才的情境。音乐结束后，将自己用过的杯子用茶巾 或纸巾擦拭一下，持奉茶盘 出去收回自己的杯子。不用清理茶渣，将自己的茶具收拾妥当，结束茶会。这期间没有人指挥，大家一个程序一个程序地依计划进行。
无我茶会的泡茶方式是不受限制的，这包括因流派、地域而造成茶具、茶叶的差异，如茶具可以是壶，可以是盖碗 ，茶叶可以是叶形茶 ，可以是粉末茶 ，以及泡茶方法、风格等都不受任何限制。