February Newsbyte



Apologies – a little late owing to Birthday Celebration!

Dear Friends

Trust all is well!

All Past Tips


Tip by Noirin below: 

February - the month of purification.




If you missed the broadcast of my talk on my 70th birthday and wish to see it, this is the link:  What led to my becoming a Buddhist and then a monk?

I am now running the Winter Retreat. It is for people who are already established in the practice and therefore I am relieved of a lot of teaching. It’s allowing me to study a little. And because I’ve tweaked the schedule so that there is a full three hours of sitting-walking-sitting in the evening, it approximates the original schedule I worked in with my teachers in Myanmar.

The new Accommodation Block is delayed by over two months. The builder, Martin, has had difficulty with suppliers, especially the firm who is doing the steel work of the balconies and stairs. The stairs have lain on the meadow for about two weeks. It seems the owner has lost staff and is trying to recruit. Anyway let’s hope it’s all done by the end of this month. Then we have to furnish the place! But the likelihood is it will be mid-March! Little time to spare before Guus comes to run the first retreat using the Accommodation Block.

There’s actually been a lot of work done. The rooms are ready and the connecting of heat, electric and water between the two buildings has been completed. The roofing is also completed.

This is what the building looks like​:​


You can see details here, just scroll towards the end and if you click on Info, you’ll get the small notes I’ve made. Unfortunately such is the coming and going of people that I often fail to get their names.  Accommodation Block early February 2017


***Assistants: Plenty of opportunity to come and serve. It’s still a retreat for you. Up to six hours sitting practice is possible and an occasion to bring the practice into ‘ordinary daily life’ tasks. It does help if you have done a retreat in the Mahasi tradition – if only a weekend. Or any long vipassana retreat whatever the tradition.

Meditation Teacher Training: If you have a done a few courses and think you might like to run a group or would like to know how you might introduce a friend, do apply. (See below)

Meditation Room: A New Dais and pedestal in the Meditation Room


Network of Buddhist Organisations: If you have not been involved in Buddhist Action Month before, it is held during June each year and is a festival of Buddhist Social Action across many traditions. 

More details are on the NBO website: http://www.nbo.org.uk/get-involved/projects-campaigns/buddhist-action-month/what-is-buddhist-action-month/

This year the theme is "Connecting for Change". 

The Complete Calendar for 2017

Download PDF Calendar 2017


Assistants Needed

N.B. All the courses are serviced by assistants.

As an assistant, we do not expect payment of the deposit because you have kindly offered your time.

And as usual any dana by you is entirely in your gift.

However, your commitment is essential, for the course would be very difficult to run without an assistant and may indeed have to be cancelled.


If you are interested, follow this link: Course Assistant


For info. about Retreats and teachers see website www.satipanya.org.uk

See drop down menus: especially About Us, Teachings and Retreats


If you would like to come and assist on a course?

Scroll down to see where we need you.


Click on teacher names for bio.

Winter Mahasi

Bhante Bodhidhamma

Assistant :Jim Tibby, Mark Blaxland and Ulla Mergen

Eight week roll-on, roll-off Retreat.

Minimum stay eight nights.

Start dates: Saturdays:-

14 & 28 January; 11 & 25 February

Finishing Sat. 11 March

Open only to those who have at least one Mahasi Retreat

either at Satipanya or with another teacher

Alternate Sundays possible: 22 Jan.; 05 & 19 Feb.; 05 Mar.

You are encouraged to stay for more than one week.

Day Retreat

Sat. 18 March

Bhante Bodhidhamma

Local Assistant : Needed

Kick Start/Top up

Arrive 09.30. Finish 17.00

Please bring veggie food to share.


Mahasi Retreat

Sat.01 – Sat. 08 April

 Guus Went

Assistant : Needed

Sayadaw U Pandita's definition of Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the observing power of the mind, which clearly and simply experiences an object, without reacting to it.

We start actively to develop this power with the body as primary object. That makes it possible not to get fully entangled in the hindrances and to come to know something about them. Sitting meditation, walking meditation and daily activities are fully equal in importance. Gradually we come to know other objects of meditation, both internally and externally.

Practical thing: It is useful to take a small notebook and a pen, to make notes of observations after a session or during the day. This will be helpful to make the interview sessions useful and relaxed. 



Easter Mahasi Retreat


Sat. 15 – Sun. 30 April

Noirin Sheahan

Assistant : Needed

The usual schedule and format – see website.

Preference given to those who want to stay two weeks.

Vipassana means “Seeing clearly”. When we see the world as it really is, we will be free from the distress that comes from identifying with a limited view of who and what we are.

During the retreat, we relax from all our usual busyness to give our full attention to present experience.  We learn to see the world more clearly, and to disentangle the knots of confusion that bind us to emotional turmoil.  At precious moments, the heart opens and we may sense what it means to be free.


Buddha Day

Saturday  29 April

Bhante Bodhidhamma

 Celebrating the Life of the Buddha

Bhante Bodhidhamma

 Taking Refuges and Precepts Ceremony

Please bring veggie food to join us for communal lunch at noon.

Ceremony starts 13.30


Mahasi Weeklong Retreat

Sat. 20 – Sun. 28 May

Noirin Sheahan

Assistant : Grace Kelly

The usual schedule and format – see website.

See above for Noirin’s description.


Meditation Teacher Training

Sat. 3 June – Sun. 11 June 

Bhante Bodhidhamma

Assistant : Needed

Please contact Bhante direct if you wish to join this course. 

It is for those who have a regular daily Mahasi practice 

and who wish to start a group or be able to teach individuals 

 or have some vague desire that they might like to do so. 


Mahasi Weeklong Retreat

Sat 17th – Sun 25th June

Carl Fooks

Assistant : Needed

The usual schedule and format – see website.



Summer Mahasi Retreat

Bhante Bodhidhamma

Assistant : Needed

Eleven week roll-on, roll-off Retreat.

Minimum stay eight nights.

Start dates: Saturdays:-

01 & 15 & 29 July; 12 & 26 Aug. 09 Sept.

Finishing Sun. 17  Sept

Celebration Sat 16. See below

N.B. Start restricted to listed Saturdays.

Alternate Sun. possible for Mahasi devotees.

A challenging Retreat easily modified for beginners.

See Beginner’s Testimonials on website.

You are encouraged to stay for more than one week.

Assistants : Needed

Starting and ending on following Saturday.

01 – 15 July : Needed

15 July – 29 July : Assistant : Needed

29 July – 12 August : Assistant : Needed

12 – 26 August: Assistant : Needed

26 August – 09 September: Assistant : Needed

09 – 17 (Sunday) September: Assistant : Needed


Sangha Day : Ninth Anniversary

Saturday 16 September

Please bring veggie food to join us for communal lunch at noon.

Ceremony starts 13.30

Talk: To be announced.


Weekend Retreat 

Fri. 29 Sept. – Sun. 01 October

Carl Fooks

Assistants : Needed

See usual weekend Schedules


Mahasi Two Week Retreat

Noirin Sheahan

Preference given to those who want to stay two weeks.

Assistant : Needed

Sat. 07 Oct.  – Sun. 22 October

The usual schedule and format – see website.


Day Retreat

Saturday 28 October

Local Assistant : Needed

Jenny Birkett

 Kick Start/Top

Arrive 09.30. Finish 17.00

Please bring veggie food to share.


Autumn Mahasi Retreat

04 Nov. – 26 Nov.

Noirin Sheahan

Assistant(s) : Needed

Preference is given to those who wish to stay for the full three weeks.

The usual schedule and format – see website.


Day Retreat

Kick Start/Top up

Saturday 16 December

Bhante Bodhidhamma

Local Assistant : Needed

Arrive 09.30. Finish 17.00

Please bring veggie food to share.


New Year Retreat

Fri. 29 December to Tues. 02 January

Bhante Bodhidhamma

Assistant : Needed

 N.B. This retreat is reserved for those who have completed a Retreat as Satipanya.

The first day will be a normal retreat schedule though we shall rise at 5.30.

An opportunity to make it a day of fasting

in solidarity with the one in nine people undernourished and starving.

On the second day, the Eve, we will see in the New Year.

During a group event, you will be asked to tell us about an event which has had a effect upon you - international, national or local or personal.

We hope to have a bonfire.

A day to reflect on the past year, plenty of time to oneself.

Retreatants will be asked to say a little about an virtuous event chosen by them.

The third day, New Years Day, is communal with a walk – weather permitting.




For Bhante’s courses away from Satipanya:




February  - the month of purification.


When the Romans added February to their calendar, they decreed it as a time of purification (februum in Latin).  Cold weather purifies the earth, and it’s often tempting to think that enduring cold or hunger will purify us too. The Buddha tried this but, after years of hardship, admitted to himself that it didn’t work. He then went on to discover a more nuanced way – a Middle Way between pleasure and pain.

Think of the traditional ways we purified water by channelling it through a filtration system. The force of gravity pulls it down through layers of stones then pebbles then sand forcing the fluid through ever smaller channels, filtering the waste into finer and finer constituents until microorganisms in the soil convert what was pollution to a rich nutrient that can fertilise our fields.


Just as the water running from our tap is pure, we start out with good intentions. But gradually we get stressed by life’s many upsets. Just as water gets dirty as it washes the dishes, our pure intentions are undermined by each bout of irritation, each flight of fancy with its hangover of disappointment. There are days when we’re ready to snap at whoever crosses our path.


Like waste water, we purify ourselves by channelling our energies so that they can settle. This is what happens when we take a break from busyness in meditation, settling ourselves by attending to the breath. If we then add the wide-open attention of vipassana, impurities start to filter out.


Suppose we find ourselves in a tizzy of rage because a friend has let us down, losing the spare set of keys we asked them to hold. Wisely (no matter how reluctantly!) we decide to take time out to meditate rather than risk a nasty row.  Emotions can’t fester while we’re feeling the breath ebb and flow. The physical sensations keep breaking into the thoughts. The solid lump of anger gets filtered into its constituent parts – one thought followed by another. As the thoughts in turn break into less coherent snippets, our attention gets drawn to the emotional energy driving these – the turmoil boiling in our chest, clenching our jaws. Just as waste water gets drawn through finer channels, our attention also gets finer, breaking anger into ever smaller pieces - a bewildering vortex of emotion and thought all interspersed with bitter sensations and twitches of tension, while neutral sensations of breathing butt in now and again, suggesting we could take it easy. What a confusing mixture we find, once we peep inside our purification tank!

Waste water cannot resist the gravitational pull through the purification system, and delusions like “You’re a careless idiot, I wish I’d never met you!” cannot resist the pull towards wisdom that accompanies vipassana. Soil microorganisms digest the harmful elements of waste water and transform them to nutrients. As we experience thoughts & emotions breaking up and reforming we’re digesting the truths of impermanence & insubstantiality.  We see our self-righteous anger is doing no good – only causing us pain. Not worth clinging to. Delusion is transformed to wisdom. Our bout of rage transforms to a wry smile at our foolish waste of energy as we remember all the keys we have lost ourselves. With that our underlying good-nature shows up to let us forgive our friend. Water is running clean in our taps again – ready for another February day.


Let’s use this last month of winter well. As the cold weather purifies the soil, let’s join in the seasonal effort, purifying the world of whatever seeds of suffering spring up within ourselves.


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Away Calendar





Directors - Rob Poleykett, Richard Benjamin, Dea Paradisos, Jim Tibby

Limited Company Number 05924965 Registered Charity Number 1116668

Satipanya, White Grit, Minsterley, Shropshire  SY5 0JN
0044 (0)1588 650752  email: bodhidhamma@satipanya.org.uk  info: info@satipanya.org.uk


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