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Wu Wo • Without Self Tea Ceremony

Wu Wo Tea Ceremony • Blue Lantern TeaThe Wu Wo Tea Ceremony originates from Taiwan (sometimes still referred to in Tea circles by its colonial name, Formosa). Wu Wo literally means ‘without self.’ The Ceremony is based on the same Buddhist concepts and principles as Chinese Gung Fu Cha. And though there are many Buddhist concepts and principles that influence Gung Fu Cha, one in particular needs noted here—Wu Wo. In Gung Fu and similar Ceremonies (such as Wu Wo Tea Ceremony) the idea of ‘without self,’ in its simplest terms, means there is no distinction between social rank, gender, wealth, knowledge, ethnicity, cultural background, et cetera, et cetera. Everyone is equal and the same. In Cha No Yu, the Japanese Tea Ceremony (also based on Buddhist Principles) everyone, including Emperors crawl through a small door to enter the Tea Room.  This is to physically demonstrate that everyone is on the same level. The deeper understanding of ‘without self’ is where one reaches Nirvana and no longer exists in the physical realm.

The Wu Wo Way

In traditional Gung Fu Cha, the host prepares and serves tea, whereas in Wu Wo, everyone prepares and serves tea. The host’s role is simply to organize the Ceremony and guide the guests to a harmonious and unique tea experience.

There are seven principles that govern the Wu Wo Tea Ceremony:

  1. Everyone sits in a circle and seating is chosen either randomly or by a random drawing. There is no priority seating.
  2. Everyone will prepare four cups of tea. When everyone is done, each participant will keep one cup and pass the other three to their left while receiving three cups from their right (each cup received will be from a different participant from the right). Everyone will have four different cups of tea. Since there is no priority seating and anyone can/could be sitting to the right serving you tea there can be no reward expected.
  3. Since there are many different teas, compounded by different individual styles of brewing, this is an opportunity to accept, experience and appreciate different teas. There is no bias.
  4. Gung Fu (Wu Wo being a style of Gung Fu Cha) means ‘skill developed through hard work and effort over time.’ ‘Hard work and effort!’ Even, and especially when you are demonstrating and preparing tea for others you should be putting forth hard work and effort. Brew the best you can. Gung Fu Cha is about improving and developing one’s self.
  5. Although there is a host, this person is not there to order participants around, make executive decisions like seating, instruct participants on how to brew tea, criticize anyone’s tea, et cetera, et cetera. The host is merely the organizer and is available to help participants new to Gung Fu Cha and the Wu Wo Tea Ceremony. There are no directors, leaders or any other supervision that would
  6. All schools of tea, style of brewing, region of brewing style, et cetera, et cetera are accepted. Although, Gung Fu method is the traditional method used, one could brew tea in a larger pot using general brewing methods and still be participate in Wu Wo Tea Ceremony.

For a further understanding of Gung Fu Cha please visit The Gung Fu Way | A Tea Ceremony page. We also offer Tea Ceremony Services. Contact Us for more information.