Category Archives: 11.無我茶會Sans Self Tea Gathering (Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony-Chapter 11 Pre-event Preparation and Things that Matter to the Organizer -蔡荣章Rong-tsang Tsai

無我茶會Sans Self Tea Gathering (Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony-Chapter 11 Pre-event Preparation and Things that Matter to the Organizer -蔡荣章Rong-tsang Tsai

無我茶會Sans Self Tea Gathering (Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony-Chapter 11 Pre-event Preparation and Things that Matter to the Organizer -蔡荣章Rong-tsang Tsai

《無我茶會Sans Self Tea Gathering (Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony)180條》

蔡荣章著Author:Rong-tsang Tsai

ISBN 978-957-9690-08-9,“无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering(Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony) 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.2012.05.20修订版.-English Translator : Katherine Yip,英语翻译:叶德明.

Chapter 11 Pre-event Preparation and Things that Matter to the Organizer 蔡荣章Rong-tsang Tsai

144. The opportune time for a Sans Self Tea Gathering

  1. For Learning:  As a channel for those who want to familiarize themselves with the Way of Tea.
  2. For Personal Improvement: As an invaluable opportunity for the betterment of oneself.
  3. For Highlighting Seasonal Changes: As a reminder of the changes in nature in tune with the seasonal cycle, e.g. when maple leaves turn red, when snow falls deep in the night, when plum blossoms are in full bloom….
  4. For Celebration: As a form of celebration, be it wedding anniversary, special anniversaries, career promotion, windfall, and any other occasions that call for celebration.
  5. For Commemoration:  As an occasion dedicated to a special day; to bid farewell or to pay tribute to someone.
  6. For Promotion: As a great platform to introduce the idea of Sans Self Tea Gathering and encourage more people to join.

145. How should we name a Sans Self Tea Gathering

With the exception of Sans Self Tea Gatherings organized for the sake of practice, each gathering could be given a name for easy reference and a clear focus on the theme. It should reflect the objective – for example, ‘New Leaves of Spring” Sans Self Tea Gathering held in a budding beech-maple forest as a reminder of the arrival of spring; ‘Breaking Dawn’ Sans Self Tea Gathering for sharing the experience of a moment at daybreak; or ‘Familial Bonding’ Sans Self Tea Gathering held on Mother’s Day to reiterate the strong tie between parents and children.

146. Reconnaissance

It is important for the Organizer to carry out a field visit before or after decision is made on the venue. This will shed light on the following:

a. How many people can the place accommodate? What kind of seating plan should be adopted? How flexible it is with regard to the number of seats?

b. Contingency plan for rainy day or bad weather

c. Routes, aisles and registration counter on site

d. Position of the audio console and amplifiers and sound effect, if required

e. Arrangement for the arrival of participants and parking

f. Facilities including lavatories

g. Movement and traffic of non-participants and possible crowd interruption

h. Control of lighting for evening event

i. Location for post-event group photo session

j. What kind of ‘Post-event Activities’ can be lined up?

k. How large should the signage be? Is it necessary to prepare some directional signs for the venue?

147.  Which tasks are to be handled by specific personnel during the preparation and when the tea gathering is in progress?

The ‘Task List’ featured in the ‘Notification’ ensures that the persons involved are aware of their respective tasks and their contribution to successful event organization acknowledged. This ‘simplified’ way of announcement does away with separate notification and printing materials.

The ‘Task List’ details the tasks before and during a Sans Self Tea Gathering, and those responsible for these tasks. The list would include: The Organizer, the Convener, Venue Committee (which handles seat arrangement, seat number plates, seating plans, directional signs and audio setup, etc); General Affairs Committee (which is responsible for signing-in, time-synchronizing, drawing of lots, distributing tea cups for onlooking guests and stamping of passbook, etc); Networking Committee (which helps participants get to know each other and welcomes members of the media); Social Committee (which takes care accommodation, dining, transportation and health concerns of participants, especially overseas participants, as well as taking charge of on-site order and security); Record Committee (which is in charge of video filming, photography and recording of the Tea Gathering); Post-tea Activities Committee (which organizes post-tea activities);and Post-event Activities Committee (which is responsible for the arrangement of post-event photo session and post-event activities).

148. Who are the members of the Organizing Committees?

It would be ideal to have participants helping out. This way, they can move on to brew tea with the others when their tasks are completed.  However, large-scale Sans Self Tea Gatherings would require video recording crew and photographers.  It may also call for a dedicated service desk to attend to urgent matters throughout the event, or security personnel keeping order at the venue.  In these cases, it is necessary to hire professional assistance.

149. How to inform participants of the procedure of the tea gathering (preparation of the ‘Notification’)

Prior to a Sans Self Tea Gathering, each participant will receive a ’Notification’. Besides the ‘Task List’, the ’Notification’ also specifies the following: name (theme) of the tea gathering, date and time, venue, number of participants, matters pertaining to brewing  (including number of cups to be served, number of teas to be brewed and rounds of brewing), serving method (including the parties to be served, and whether onlookers are to be served), seating arrangement, post-event activities, procedure of the tea gathering and the contingency plans for rain and wet weather.

The procedure should specify both the ‘time’ and ‘procedure’, including the starting time of venue set up, participants signing-in, tea ware appreciation and networking session, brewing, post-tea activities, packing up, group photo session, post-event activities as well as the end of the post-event activities.

Inclusion of the name of companies, organizations or political parties; occasion; trade name of teas and the tea production areas in the name of Sans Self Tea Gatherings is considered inappropriate. The same goes with tea gatherings dedicated to a particular type of tea. The exception would be tea gatherings held in memory of or as a tribute to a person. This is to ensure that the tea gatherings would not be abused and turned into advertising time.

In principle, there should not be any restrictions with regard to the choice of tealeaves, unless for special reasons, such as for commemorative tea gatherings. In such cases, non-commercialized names such as ‘non-fermented teas’ or ‘post-fermented teas’ could be included in the name of the gathering.

As for ‘other agreed-upon matters’, there should not be any restrictions on the tea ware and brewing method, as well as particular style of clothing.

  Sans Self Tea Gathering: Notification                                                              No:

Name of the Tea Gathering

Date and Time


Venue                      (for rainy weather)

No. of participants

No. of types of tea

Number of cups

No. of brews for each tea

Serving method

Other agreed-upon matters

Post-tea activities

Post-event activities


Task list

Venue set-up begins

The Organizer

Participants registration and seating allocation begins

The Convener

Followed by

‘Tea ware and networking’ session begins

Venue Committee

Brewing begins

Signing-in Committee

After the last brew has been taken ’Post-tea’ activities begin

Lot Drawing Committee

Followed by

Packing up

Networking Committee

Followed by

Group photo session

Social Committee

’Post-event’ activities begin

Record Committee

’Post-event’ activities end

Post-tea Activities Committee

Post-event Activities Committee

‘Pre-event briefing and tea-brewing practice’

Date, time, venue and instructor

Person in Charge

Telephone No.


(Contact information of The Organizer)

150. How could we explain to participants the spirit and procedure of the tea gathering (Organizing the ‘Pre-event Briefing’)

Enabling participants to fully understand the spirit and procedure is a prerequisite to a successful Sans Self Tea Gathering. Information about Sans Self Tea Gathering may have been imparted during tea culture classes; however, it is absolutely necessary to host a ‘Pre-event Briefing’ for first-time participants. While the participating groups may brief their members, dedicated briefings could also be put together by the Organizer.  Such ‘Pre-event Briefings’ should be clearly stated in the ‘Notification’, along with details of the date, time, venue and instructor.

It will be best if demonstration and practice could be arranged besides verbal presentation during the Pre-event Briefing.  Tea ware could be brought along by the participants attending the training, or provided by the party responsible for the training.  However, participants must bring along their own tea ware when they attend the Sans Self Tea Gathering, after which they can use the tea ware in their daily lives.

151. How to make sure preparation is in place before the tea gathering? (The use of ‘Task Checklist’)

Prepare a checklist with details of each task for pre-event preparation to avoid  oversight.

         Sans Self Tea Gathering: Task Checklist

NO.          Description           Remarks  Checked


Venue Planning


Notification (including details of each task)


Pre-event Briefing


Audio Equipment


Signage (name of the tea gathering, directional signs, etc)


Number of Participants and Seat Control (projection of absentees)


Seating and Serving non-brewing participants


Seat Number Plates


Venue Boundary Markers


Seating Plan


Book at the Registration Counter


Paper Strips for seat numbers and signing


Time Synchronizing Tools


Identification Tags


Venue Coordination


Guest Reception and Social Networking


Post-tea Activities


Post-event Activities


Post-event Venue Clear-up


Announcement and Briefing at the Group Photo Session


Contingency Measures for rainy weather


Cup Position Indication Plan for a commemorative Sans Self Tea Gathering


Cups for the Onlookers


Distribution of Promotional Leaflets


Coordination with the Presenter


Keeping Order at the Venue









152. Record of the Tea Gathering

Compile a record of the Sans Self Tea Gathering for each ‘Organizer’. Each record should include basic information about the tea gathering, registry, key photos or video recording.

Revise, amend and make addition to the original ‘Notification’ to come up with the basic information about the tea gathering.  Affix the signed strips of paper in a book according to the order of the numbers to produce a registry.

153. How to control the number of participants

The Organizer should have kept a detail record of each participant’s name, organization and contact telephone number, regardless of the fact the person registers on his own, or as part of a group. A rough estimate on the number of participants does not suffice. Furthermore, information of participants will have to be verified one by one when the date of the tea gathering draws near. Identification tags, if used, can be issued to the individuals once the personal information is confirmed to alleviate the workload at the registration counter on the day of the tea gathering.

If participants have to pay to attend the tea gathering, try to collect the fees prior to the tea gathering when they sign up, and issue identification tags accordingly when payment is made. The Organizer must think of a way to make it convenient for participants to make payment beforehand; payment on the spot is not only likely to cause delay but also makes it hard for the Organizer to control the number of participants.

154. How much time should be allocated to each step of the procedure?

Time allocated for signing in depends on the number of participants and tasks involved. A large gathering would require more time (in this case, the Organizer may consider setting up a few lot drawing stations). A paid event with an extensive task list and accommodates on-the-spot registration (whereby participants did not sign up before the day) will naturally call for longer time; all the more if cups for onlookers are to be distributed to the participants when they sign in. As such, time allocated for signing-in needs to be adjusted accordingly. Nevertheless, try to finish it within half an hour even if it is a tea gathering with a thousand participants – otherwise, the entire tea gathering may seem to drag on too long.

For the duration for the ‘Tea ware Appreciation and Networking’ session, the Organizer may want to consider the number of participants and if they know each other well.  If the group is small, and degree of familiarity high, it does not require a long time – 20 minutes or less for not more than 50 people is about right. If participants are not familiar with each other, and come from different countries or regions, the duration may be extended to 30 minutes. However, if there are hundreds of participants from overseas, it is not practical to calculate the allocated time on this basis as appreciating tea ware alone may take up a lot of time. Try to limit the duration to 50 minutes to avoid having the tea gathering last for too long.  For a tea gathering with 20 to 30 friends who get together often, a 10-minute session is good enough; ‘sitting quietly’ for a few minutes could be an alternative.

For a tea gathering serving three rounds of tea, 20 minutes would be enough for brewing and serving. This could be extended to 30 minutes if the gathering serves four rounds of tea, two each to onlooking guests and fellow participants.  The environment rather than the ‘number of people’ is a major factor in this case.  For example, it will require a longer duration if the tea gathering takes place at a scenic spot with more space in between seats; by the same token, the duration could be shortened if the tea gathering is held indoors in a small, enclosed venue.

Five minutes could be the norm for the duration of ‘Post-tea activities’ regardless of the number of participants – a duration any longer than this may undermine the impact of the ‘beauty of the void’ after tea is served and taken.

For a tea gathering with no more than 50 participants, allocate five minutes for packing up. Make it ten minutes if there are more than a hundred participants.

All in all, a Sans Self Tea Gathering should be over in an hour regardless of the number of participants. We do not encourage one that drags on – for an exceptionally large-scale event, it should not exceed two hours.

155. How to identify participants of a Sans Self Tea Gathering?

Identification is not a cause for concern among a small group of friends meeting up for a Sans Self Tea Gathering.  However, it becomes a reason to worry if the tea gathering is meant for a large crowd, or participants unfamiliar with each other. Use identification tags which have the added benefits of breaking the ice among strangers.