December Newsbyte

December NEWSBYTE
Trust all is well!

Seasonal Greetings
Peace and Goodwill to All Beings!

All Past Tips 
For Calendar and assistant opportunities see below .

Tip o' the Day   
It's that time of year ...

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Diary: Noirin here as Bhante is on retreat in Meta-Vihara (Bavaria, Germany) since late October. All well here in the meantime, with the November retreat just past it's half-way mark at time of writing. Gilbert Altrichter, who has been the resident contemplative here since early this year, has been a great support  especially in Bhante's absence. He leaves for home, Vienna, at the end of the month, taking with him our gratitude for all the many ways he helped retreats run smoothly. Anicca ...

Announcements:   

Day retreat Saturday 4th Jan, Kick start / Top up. 9.30 - 5pm, bring vegie food to share.

Course Assistant needed for Winter Mahasi, 07 - 21 March.
(no need for deposit, your assistance is your donation, plenty of time to join the course)

Encouragements towards Awakening Many of you will have a hard copy of this book. Unfortunately, ever since Wisdom Books closed down, I have been unable to distribute the hard copies. Wisdom Books were very generous, charging only the postage.
It occurred to me that the book lent itself to being an ebook so one could hyperlink to a tip and have it there on one's phone, tablet and so on. Since I have seen other Buddhist monks publish books on Amazon, I have followed their path. A little difficult for me, since it was mainly Amazon's control of the book market that caused Wisdom Books to close. Whatever kamma ...
So if you want an ecopy, you can download the Kindle version. Just type my name, Bodhidhamma, into the search bar. There is a £2 on top of Amazon's charge partly to cover costs of this publication and help with others. (A hard copy will available in time, but as you will see it is quite costly.)

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.comand 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 2020

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, unborn-undying essence, 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.

Assistants Needed

N.B. All the courses are serviced by assistants.
See website for up-to-date Assistant need: 
http://www.satipanya.org.uk/calendar/

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 day is for practice. You can see the menus here.
As an assistant, we do not expect payment of the deposit or make 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, 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.
(See website calendar for updates)

Day Retreat
Kick Start/Top up
Saturday 04 January

Bhante Bodhidhamma
Local Assistants: Trevor Flaxman and Mary Ryan
Arrive 09.30. Finish 17.00
Please bring veggie food to share.

Three Month Winter Mahasi
APPLICATIONS OPEN NOW
Bhante Bodhidhamma
Eleven week roll-on, roll-off Retreat.
11 January - 28 March
Finishing Sat 28 March am
Open only to those who have at least one Mahasi Retreat 
either at Satipanya or with another teacher
You are encouraged to stay for more than one week.
Start dates restricted to these Saturdays:  11,25 Jan, 8,22 Feb, 7,21 March
11 Jan - 25 Jan Assistant  Jim Tibby

25 Jan   -    08 Feb   Assistant Iain McLeod
08 Feb  -    22 Feb    Assistant Iain McLeod
22 Feb  -    07 Mar    Assistant Patricia Smyth
07 Mar -    21 Mar    Assistant
Needed
21 Mar -    28 Mar  Assistant Gaia Zocchi

 
APPLICATIONS START JANUARY 07
 

Easter Mahasi Retreat
Noirin Sheahan
Sat 11 April Sat. 25 April a.m.
(Possible start Sunday 19 April for Mahasi devotees)
Assistant : Needed
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.
The usual schedule and format – see website - easily modified for beginners.

 

Buddha Day
Honouring Our Teacher  and Exemplar
Taking Refuges and Precepts Ceremony 
On Saturday 02 May : Start 10.30 
Morning Meditation at 11.00
Please bring veggie finger communal lunch at noon
Ceremony starts 13.30
Afternoon Talk : Taking Refuges and Precepts : Procession
Tea and Biscuits 16.00

Vipassana : Metta : Bodycare 
Bhante Bodhidhamma
with Bryan Lester, Reiki Master
Assistant:
 Needed
Sat 02 – Weds 06 May 
Come Friday evening
if you want to join in Buddha Day Celebration

Mahasi Day Retreat
Jenny Birkett
Sat. 16 May
Assistant : Needed

The usual schedule and format – see website.
Especially for beginners.

Weeklong Mahasi Retreat
 Guus Went
Sat 23 May – Sun. 31 May.
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.
The usual schedule and format – see website.

Mahasi Weeklong Retreat
Carl Fooks
Sat 06 – Sun 14 June
Assistant : Needed

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.

Summer Mahasi Retreat
Twelve week roll-on, roll-off Retreat.
Minimum stay eight nights.
Assistants : Needed (see below)
The usual schedule – see website - easily modified for beginners.

Noirin Sheahan
Start dates: Saturdays:-
20 June & 4 July
Finishing Sat 18 July
Alternate Sun. possible for Mahasi devotees: 05 & 19 July

Bhante Bodhidhamma
Start dates: Saturdays:-
18 July, 1, 15,  & 29 Aug.
Finishing Sun. 13 Sept
N.B. Start restricted to listed Saturdays.
Alternate Sun. possible for Mahasi devotees: 02 & 16 & 30 Aug,
You are encouraged to stay for more than one week.
Assistants : Needed
Starting and ending on following Saturday.
20 June – 04 July : Assistant Needed
04 July – 18 July : Assistant : Needed
18 July – 01 August : Assistant : Needed
01 – 15 August: Assistant : Needed
15 August – 29 August: Assistant : Needed
29 August – 06 September: Assistant : Needed
06 September Finishing Day

Sangha Day : Thirteenth Anniversary
Saturday 05 September
Assistant : Needed

Please bring veggie food to join us for communal lunch at noon.
Ceremony starts 13.30
Talk: To be announced.

Weekend Retreat 
Carl Fooks
Fri. 18 – Sun. 20 September
Assistant : Needed

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.
See usual weekend schedule.

Insight Dialogue
Anne Michel
 Sat.17 – Sat. 24 a.m. October
Assistant : Needed
Insight Dialogue – created by Gregory Kramer 
http://www.metta.org – brings the mindfulness and tranquility of traditional silent meditation practice into our interaction with others.
Depending on conditions inside us and around us, our perceptions of others and ourselves, we can open the heart with wisdom or create and sustain habitual patterns of stress and reactivity.
Insight Dialogue Practice allows us to face the complexity of our relationships with mindfulness.
Such experience softens our fears of relationship and diminishes our struggle to be seen or to escape the moment of contact.
Trust and calm can settle in us, anchored in wisdom and compassion.
It is a very good complement to the Vipassana practice, allowing both concentration and relationship habits to deepen.
The retreat is open to both beginners and long-term practitioners

Mahasi Monthlong Retreat
Noirin Sheahan
Start dates Sat 31 Oct. and 14 Nov.
Mahasi devotees can join on Sundays 08 or 22 Nov
Ends Sat am 28 Nov.
Assistant Sat 31 Oct.  - Sat. 14 Nov. : Needed
Assistant Sat.14 Nov. - Sat. 28 Nov.: Needed
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.
The usual schedule and format – see website - easily modified for beginners.

Bhante's Away Calendar

It's that time of year ...
Noirin Sheahan

No snowflakes falling at Satipanya yet but they don't seem far off in these days when darkness comes early, stays late (by comparison to our 3.30am rise!) We pull on woolly hats, draw the curtains. The year is drawing to its close. 

We tend to ignore endings. Most of us are probably thinking more of Christmas and New Year than of 2019 drawing to a close, and with it this time the decade. But we’re ignoring a hidden treasure. All the effort we had to make during the year – getting through work deadlines, projects, smoothing out relationship troubles, working through the budget – all these are drawing to a close. Shouldn’t we take a moment to savour that? If we make an effort to let 2019 go, then we’ll be much more conscious of what to take up again in 2020.  

The Buddha asks us to be conscious of endings. In formal practice we endeavour to track the breath to its end, to that moment when the movement vanishes into stillness. At the most obvious level, there’s nothing to this. It’s just that a movement has stopped. It doesn’t signify anything. But when we follow the breath closely, detect each sensation, notice them getting fainter and fainter till they disappear, it can be a different matter. That ‘gone-ness’ can appear highly significant, mysterious. We were looking at sensations, now what are we looking at?

It’s the same as looking back over the year, the decade, and thinking “Where did it all go?” 

Nature abhors a vacuum and our tendency is to fill that mysterious emptiness with thoughts, distractions, musings. But if we can still the mind around the end of the breath, we find that part of us wants to rest, to explore whatever remains where thoughts and sensations stopped. 

The trouble is that we can’t name it. Even the word ‘absence’ misses the mark. The name attempts to capture its essence, make it known. But in the process, destroys it. The name injects sensations, feelings, thoughts where there were none. 

Frustrating!  The mind wants to know what it’s dealing with, give it a name. But with practice we notice something within us settling, accepting non-ownership. We learn to allow experience vanish without casting our mental net of thoughts and words and ideas around that vanishing. The last line from the Vipassana verses starts to make sense: “Truly all conditioned things are transient … once arisen they disappear; their cessation is happiness.” 

We can discover peace in endings at other levels in life. Like now, December, the ending of the year. Instead of filling all spare moments with Christmas plans, thinking about the New Year, looking forward to spring, we can pause for a moment before drawing the curtains, look out into the dusk, take a breath to mark another day coming to a close. Out walking amidst bare trees, hard ground, we can notice the silence, see nature at rest. Could we take a leaf from her book, rest for a moment, our work for 2019 done?  

 

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Many thanks.

Finally, please forward this email if you know someone who may be interested. Thanks.

Metta
Onward
Bodhidhamma

 


SATIPANYA  BUDDHIST TRUST
www.satipanya.org.uk
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
info: info@satipanya.org.uk

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