Guus Went (Netherlands, 1952) started practicing Dhamma in 1980 (Mahasi tradition). The immediate effect on his life was immense, seeing fundamental changes in his relationship to study, work, family and friends.
From 1990 to 1994 he lived as a monk in the then flourishing Buddhayana Centre (Ven. Dhammawiranatha) in his home country, and as a staff member until the centre’s closure in 2001.
Societal life afterwards, however, didn’t prove to be too satisfactory to him.
In 2007, he discovered on the internet the newly founded Satipanya Buddhist Retreat. He practised under the guidance of Bhante Bodhidhamma during a three months winter retreat and some smaller ones. Bhante referred him to the German monk, U Vivekananda (Panditarama Lumbini).
In 2009 Guus started to work as a Mindfulness Trainer (Jon Kabat-Zinn style). Since 2011 he started conducting Five Day retreats as a follow up for the 8-weeks Mindfulness trainings for those who wanted to go deeper into the Dhamma.
The past two winters he has spent at the Forest Monastery of Sayadaw U Pandita in Myanmar on 60 day retreats. He means to continue doing so every winter.
The Five Hindrances (I)
The Five Hindrances (II)
Carl has been practising Buddhism in the Mahayana and Theravada traditions for 27 years. He was first introduced to Buddhism in 1989 by a close friend who guided him through a programme of koan study from the Rinzai school of Zen. He has now settled on the Mahasi system of vipassana as his primary practice after meeting Bhante Bodhidhamma at Gaia House in 2010.
Carl started teacher training with Bhante Bodhidhamma in 2011. Since then, he has been leading a weekly sitting group at his work, occasionally helps out at Jamyang in London, and does the odd dhamma talk at a fellow Satipanya regular's sitting group in North London. He also assists Bhante at Gaia House each May and leads a couple of retreats at Satipanya later in the year.
A software engineer by trade, Carl, 45, has been helping Satipanya with their website and Newsbyte, recently leading the move to use MailChimp for the Newsbyte, and otherwise provides general technical consultancy to Satipanya.
He has been studying for a Master's degree in Buddhist Studies at the University of South Wales since 2014 and is currently working on his dissertation. He is continuing teacher training with Bhante Bodhidhamma.
Jenny Birkett has been practising meditation primarily in the Theravaden tradition for over 25 years. She first started attending weekly meditation classes at the age of 16, in the Triratna tradition. This prompted a life long interest and passion in Buddhism.
Jenny's interest in Buddhism, motivated her to take Buddhist modules as part of her Philosophy and Religious Studies degree. While at university, Jenny became increasingly interested in meditating more intensively and in particular, attending a silent Vipassana retreat.
In 1999, after finishing her studies and while travelling in Asia, Jenny came across Ajahn Buddhadasa's monastery, Suan Mokkh in Southern Thailand. It was there that Jenny sat her first vipassana retreat. Although conditions were harsh, the retreat made a deep and lasting impression on Jenny and she sat her next course a few months later in a Goenka Vipassana centre in Australia.
Jenny spent 10 years in this tradition, sitting and serving many intensive courses. After a long period of self enquiry, Jenny became disenchanted with the Goenka meditation technique and began to look further afield.
On the recommendation of a friend, she went to Bhante Bodhidhammas's retreat centre in 2008 and never looked back. Jenny found the Mahasi method suited her perfectly, as did the peace, quiet and intimacy of Satipanya.
Jenny conducts a weekly sitting group and has been trained in how to teach MBSR. She is particularly interested in introducing the Mahasi technique in schools and is currently working in a school in Kingsbury where she fascilitates teaching the Mahasi method to younger learners. She is also currently being trained as a mindfullness teacher by Bhante Bodhidhamma.