March Newsbyte




Dear Friends
Trust all is well!

All Past Tips

 Tip o’ the Day below

Right Speech


This is the first Winter Mahasi I have run. It was for only a few because of room availability. Next year we should be able to take more.

This winter was by and large quiet though towards this end of the build there is a lot of machine noise. The grounds have to be reshaped and ready to be tarmacked. Tarmac! Ugh! But actually for the back area around the kitchen it was the only solution for we have to make the area wheel chair accessible. In time it will be dressed with stone.

With Guus coming at the beginning of April the year of retreats really does take off. See below for times and for the opportunity to come and serve.

Outwardly the Accommodation block hasn’t changed much in appearance.

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 end of February


***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)

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

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.

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 : Mark Blaxland

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

Assistants : Dario Alvino : John MacDougall

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 : Ann Nemo

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 : Ulla Mergen
15 July – 29 July : Assistant : Jean Anderson
29 July – 12 August : Assistant : Gwen Sanderson
12 – 26 August: Assistant : Rosalie Dores
26 August – 09 September: Assistant : Grace Kelly
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 p.m. October
Carl Fooks

Assistants : Needed

See usual weekend Schedules

 Mahasi Two Week Retreat
Sat. 07 Oct.  – Sun. 22 October
Noirin Sheahan

Preference given to those who want to stay two weeks.
Assistant : Needed

The usual schedule and format – see website. 

Day Retreat
Saturday 28 October
Jenny Birkett
Assistant : Needed

 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.

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:


Right Speech

Of the three moral categories in the Eightfold Path - Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood, Right Speech is probably the hardest to keep. Mainly because we are always talking if not to others then to ourselves and the only respite is sleep!

Right Speech is expressed negatively in the Five Training Rules: Not to use wrong speech.

The wrong sort of talk we get into are lies, slander, coarse language and useless talk.

Lies we probably don’t tell any more. I mean real porkers. But what about exaggerations? And for what purpose are we exaggerating. To aggrandise ourselves, to defend ourselves, even to belittle ourselves? And similarly of the other.

Slander means telling someone about another’s faults, but it depends on the purpose. Is it to do them harm or is to warn someone? And there’s :

A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.”
William Blake

Coarse language usually comes out of lust or anger. But it can also be a bad habit. We need to ask what effect it has? Is it to be ‘one of the boys/girls’. A sort of bonding? Is that the sort of company we want to keep?

Useless speech is simply talking for talking sake. This does not include the usual social pleasantries. In the Discourses, it often describes how when someone visits the Buddha ‘some exchanged greetings with him, and when the courteous and amiable talk was finished, sat down to one side’. M60.3

We find it very difficult to be silent with another, even when we know them well. The other can feel very uncomfortable if we don’t speak. So if we feel we cannot keep silent, then at least let us guide the conversation to something mutually interesting.

The Buddha also gives us pointers to use speech skilfully. Apart from the opposite of the above, the Buddha suggests:

Spoken at the right time: often we have to choose when to say something especially if the other will find it difficult to hear.

What is said is true: we have to remember that what we say may not be heard as we intend it to be heard. We sometimes have to check with the listener. In an interview, the teacher may repeat back to the meditator what they said to be sure they have heard properly.

It is spoken gently: sometimes that might mean we have to count ten.

What is said is beneficial: that is to the benefit of the other, or to ourselves or to the other and ourselves.

It is spoken with the heart of loving-kindness.

Then, of course, there is the whole area of not speaking when we ought to. Was it because we were afraid? Confused? Or is not talking the way we express our anger, spite, sourness and so on. Or was it because we could

​not ​

be bothered.

But then again, silence can speak volumes.

Tricky stuff!

But in general, the trick to right speech is to pause before we speak; to glance inward and know our mental state. If the heart is not in a good place, then come from the seat of wisdom.

Not easy! 

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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:  info:


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