July Newsbyte


Trust all is well!

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 Tip o’ the Day below



I have continued my 70th year celebration by visiting Como for a couple days before leading a retreat at Pain dei Ciliegi. I was accompanied by my regular walking companion, Giandomenico and greeted by Elsa who lead us on a delightful forest walk.

The delight of our hike was somewhat punctured  when I tripped and careered forward. A staunch tree and forest saving me a downward roll into the lake. Bruised and scarred I continued, of course, undaunted. Now when I told this to someone, they said "Mmmm lack of awareness there!" But I have a lazy leg and drop foot, I explained. I could see a wry smile appearing. But accidents happen I insisted. Honestly!

The next day we climbed an interminable number of steps up to a Cross that looks down across the town and lake. Set up for the visit of the late Pope John Paul II. It was there I remember he had written a book on religions in which he reaffirmed that old bias that Buddhism was life negating, but Catholicism was life affirming. He got a lot of flak for that. Even so I managed to send him some good will.

I am thankful to Donal at Sunyata Meditation Centre in Clare County, for without his advice I would never have got up to that cross nor enjoyed the magnificent view. Getting old means you lose strength and it hits at the knees. On his advice I began going from squat to standing – grasping hold of a table. I began with five before the knees started to quiver. But within days I was up to 25! Such was my elation I had thoughts of weight lifting at the next Olympics.

Winter Mahasi :  Sat. 13 January – Sun. 11 March :  I started a new long session of retreats last year and now mean to continue it indefinitely. It is an eight weeks long and runs along the same lines as the Summer Mahasi,  except – only those can apply who have done at least one full week retreat here with any of the teachers or a week with a recognised Mahasi teacher.   Applications are open at the end of August.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
***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.


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.


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 : Needed

26 August – 09 September: Assistant : Jim Tibby

09 – 17 (Sunday) September: Assistant : Dea Paradisos


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 :Wendy Harvey

See usual weekend Schedules
The Mahasi system can feel challenging, and its emphasis on moment-to-moment mindfulness can prove to feel particularly difficult.
Carl teaches a gentle approach to the practice encouraging a skilful and effective orientation that helps practitioners to commit themselves fully to the practice and the schedule, and thereby get the most out of the course.

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 : Anne Ashton

 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:




Like shame, the Buddha calls guilt a guardian of society.

That guilty feeling means we know we are at fault. We know we have done some harm. This leads to the fear of consequences.

This is not the same as existential guilt which someone may suffer from if they are brought up in one the Abrahamic religions. For we are told we carry the sin of Adam. From an early age, we may have been told that we were essentially sinful.

This is not the fundamental reason for our transgressions. The Buddha said wrong doing is secondary. The prior reason is non-culpable ignorance that causes us to fall into a delusion. We are essentially ignorant of the ‘way things really are’.

Because of this we commit errors based on acquisitiveness, aversion and fear. But paradoxically it is all done to make ‘me’ happy.

Even so this leads us into actions of thought, speech and deeds that harm us and harms others. And that is when we feel guilty.

If we did not feel guilty; if we did not perceive that we were a cause of another’s suffering and of our own (how easy it is to blame our unhappiness on others!); if we are not worried about the consequences, what then would stop us doing harm?

Guilt like all our unwholesome states must be faced. In our meditation we open up to its tremors. The fear of being caught. The dread of consequence.

Now it may be that the guilt we feel is inappropriate. To be unable to sleep because you purposely took a pen from the office, criticised your boss to someone whom you suspect might tell them or swatted a fly out of irritation may point to a guilt ridden conscience. A conscience full of scruples and qualms (the bug bear of the monastic life with all its 227 rules!) is a sign of imbalance. It is often relieving to talk to a friend whose judgement you trust to give you a wiser perspective.

On the other hand when we feel no or little guilt after committing what society and ordinary people would consider wrong tells us we need to contemplate the consequences of what we have done. I knew someone who stole from a small book shop on the grounds of Marxist critique of a capitalist society, regardless of the effect on the struggling owner.

However, when guilt is justifiable, we do need to turn into the feeling of guilt to really see how painful it is. Really opening up to the misery of that mental state is a departure for reflection. ‘I would not be suffering this tormented heart, if I had not behaved unskillfully’.

If we can put right what we did wrong, all well and good. Sometimes a simple apology. A gift. But if an occasion for reconciliation does not arise, then it may be possible to do something by way of reparation.

Here is a rather extreme example. When a Hindu confessed to Ghandi he had murdered a Muslim child, Gandhi told him to find a Muslim orphan and bring him up as a Muslim.

But if even that is not possible, then we have no option but to sit with the guilt and express our remorse and sorrow within ourselves. And, of course, a fierce determination not to behave in a similar manner again.

When we experience within ourselves the suffering of guilt, realise it is the product of deluded unwholesome action, then we are more able to forgive others who do harm, for they will also suffer the same.

Guilt, then, is also a first step towards compassion.

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Directors - Rob Poleykett Richard Benjamin Maureen Tibby Jim Tibby Mike Regan

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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