July Newsbyte

Trust all is well!

All Past Tips 
For Calendar and assistant opportunities see below .
Tip o' the Day

Who Decides?
Carl Fooks

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Apologies: there is a lot of stuff on this emails these days, but I hope you find it useful.

I wrote a Tip, The World is in a Terrible State, at the beginning of the year. It came from a sense of despair about the global situation and the necessity to accept the worst scenario. But I'm an incurable optimist and the growing Climate Rebellion has reaffirmed my sense of trust in the human race that at some point we will come to our senses. A lot depends on the degree of suffering. The greater the suffering, the greater the desire to do something about it. Things have to get much worse — and they will, it seems! The second, of course, is the timing. We may be too late, though UN scientists told us in March this year we still had 11 years. Here is someone who sees spiritual potential in the crisis.
Andrew Harvey


The Earth Protectors I met an old friend at the Cambridge day and she introduced me to The Earth Protectors. Put simply, this is a charity, started by the lawyer Polly Higgins, to bring an additional law of Ecocide to the Rome Statute that constitutes the law for the International Court. Such a law would allow such leaders of companies that damage the environment and bank CEO's that invest in such companies to be prosecuted. Here is her eloquent explanation: https://www.stopecocide.earth/videos

A Long read: The Mindfulness Conspiracy

Continuing Beautifications!
Insight Timer 'Satipanya Mahasi Devotees' group set up on the Insight Timer app by Mark Arthur

Access website https://insighttimer.com/ for relevant App Store or Google Play link. Search for 'Satipanya Mahasi Devotees' within the ‘groups’ section on the app's front page and then request an invite from us.

At present the group settings are ‘private’ and access is available only for members who have sat on a retreat at Satipanya so we will therefore message you to check your credentials before approving your request. If you have any problems with the technology etc by all means email me on markarfa@gmail.com  and I will be happy to assist. Metta Mark Arthur

Karuna Book: Every morning at puja we call the names of those who are sick or dying, or are having a hard time. 
Mudita Book: Every evening at puja we call the names of those who have something to rejoice.

Click for Bhante's Away Courses

The Calendar for 2019

Assistants Needed
See below Assistant need
As assistant  you have the opportunity to serve others. It can be a way of expressing gratitude for the gift of Dhamma.
Although the morning is mainly taken up with breakfast preparation and cooking, the rest of the day is for practice.
You can see the menus
As an assistant, we do not expect payment of the deposit or a donation because you have kindly offered your time.
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, please 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
Would you like to come and assist on a course?
Scroll down to see where we need you.
Teachers: Click on names for bio.


Vipassana as taught by the Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma
The Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma, one of the most influential vipassana insight meditation teachers of the last century, developed techniques to help us maintain moment to moment mindfulness from the instant we awake to the instant we fall asleep.
This leads not only to spiritual insights into our true, immortal nature, but also, equally important, to the purification of the heart. So that we not only become wiser but more caring, generous, joyous and compassionate.
Applying the techniques on this retreat we follow a robust schedule, but meditators can modulate their practice to fit their level of experience, even absolute beginners. The accent is on relaxation and curiosity, rather than striving and concentration. And regular teacher contact, daily Q&A and personal interviews ensures students are supported throughout.
The retreat ends with advice on how to bring the practice into ordinary daily life to enhance our relationships and give spiritual meaning to our work and everyday tasks.

Summer Mahasi Retreat
Bhante Bodhidhamma
Eleven week roll-on, roll-off Retreat.
Minimum stay eight nights.
Start dates: Saturdays:-
29 June & 13 & 27 July; 10 & 24 Aug. 07 Sept.
Finishing Sun. 15  Sept
Celebration Sat 14. 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 : May be Needed
29 June – 13 July : 
13 July – 27 July : Assistant : Iain MacLeod
27 July – 10 August : Assistant : 
Ben Preston
10 – 24 August: Assistant : 

 Ignacio Duque
24 August – 07 September: Assistant : Jim Tibby
07 September – 14 September: Assistant : Dea Paradisos

Sangha Day : Twelth Anniversary
Saturday 14 September
Please bring veggie food to share for
communal lunch at noon.
Ceremony starts 13.30
Talk: To be announced.

Weekend Mahasi Retreat 
Carl Fooks
Fri 20.  – Sun. 22 September
Alison Weeks
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.
The usual schedule and format – see website.


Day Retreat
Jenny Birkett
Saturday 26 October
Local Assistant 
 Kick Start/Top
Arrive 09.30. Finish 17.00
Please bring veggie food to share.

Mahasi Monthlong Retreat
Noirin Sheahan
Start dates Sat 2, Sun 10, Sat 16 Nov.
Sun 24th possible for Mahasi devotees
Ends Sat am 30 Nov.
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.
Assistant Nov.Sat.02 - Sat. 16 : 
Assistant Nov.Sat.16 - Sat. 30 : Robert Narayan Taylor
The usual schedule and format, easily modified for beginners. 

Day Retreat
Saturday 04 Jan 2020
Bhante Bodhidhamma 
Local Assistant Needed
 Kick Start/Top
Arrive 09.30. Finish 17.00
Please bring veggie food to share.


Who Decides?
Carl Fooks

“The essence of ultimate decision remains impenetrable to the observer – often, indeed, to the decider himself.”—John F. Kennedy.

At the end of a retreat, in my “Practise in Daily Life” talk, I give a long list of examples of things we can investigate in daily life. One of these is to investigate the process of decision making; to see if we can see what happens, and who decides.

With most of the other examples I usually see slowly nodding heads or smiles of recognition and acknowledgement as I suggest something people are already familiar with. But, when it comes to the challenge “who decides?”, invariably the response is a blank stare. I haven’t asked anyone about this, but I get the feeling that people are thinking “Did he really just say ‘who decides?’ … doesn’t he know?” But, if you’ve ever been present for a “decision”, you’ll know that this is a good challenge!

One of the key premises of the Buddha’s teachings is that we are deluded, believing that we are, or have, a permanent, essential Self. We feel that we are the agents of our lives, that we are free to act, and that such actions are by choice - that we can choose. So, an essential aspect of our Self view is that we choose. We cling to this. Powerfully. Our identity is deeply attached to our ability to choose and has been since we were children. Teenagers rebel against their parent’s authority, fighting for their right to decide for themselves. Coming of age is essentially a matter of gaining the right to decide for ourselves.

Given all of this, seeing how the process of choosing unfolds can be quite a surprise and because of what we see, can be quite insightful. That’s why I recommend it as a practise in daily life.

So, what can we do to watch how decisions are made? Obviously, the first thing we need is mindfulness. We have to be present for our minds. So, next time you’re meditating, when the bell goes, just ask yourself “do I want to get up now?”, and watch carefully for the “answer”. Indeed, you don’t even have to wait, you can do it now. Ask yourself a similar question and look for the decision. What happens?

If you look closely, you’ll see that before you’ve even finished asking yourself the question, the mind has presented the answer. You already know what you want! Okay, ask yourself the opposite question, the one you know you don’t want. See that feeling? That feeling of “don’t want!” Quite emphatic, isn’t it. So where was the “agency” in that? Try it again. Keep trying. Every time you’ll find that the answer, the “choice”, is already made. The mind has already “decided”, and “you” are being told. We see that “choosing” is happening, but that we are not the chooser.

However, none of this should be seen as a denial of our personal responsibility. The Buddha was quite clear that this wasn’t the case. We are responsible for our actions, including our decisions. He saw that the will (cetanā) was conditioned, but that it was also conditioned by concomitant mental factors, thus things in the mind at the time of a willed action, like the preferences of a choice, influence the action. That is, we can, and do, choose!

So, this suggestion to watch “who decides?” is actually an exercise in working with not-Self (anattā). Just as we see through meditation that thoughts think themselves, that itches just itch, that sights are simply seen, we also see that, ultimately, decisions are decided with no input from our Self.

In my favourite sutta, the Bāhiya Sutta, the Buddha tells Bāhiya to train himself so that “In reference to the seen, there will only be the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized.” And then, “When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of [suffering].”

In choosing, there is only the choosing.

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Directors - Jim Tibby    Richard Benjamin   Maureen Tibby   Mike Regan
Limited Company Number 05924965 Registered Charity Number 1116668
Satipanya, White Grit, Minsterley, Shropshire  SY5 0JN
T: 0044 (0)1588 650752  


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