June Newsbyte

June NEWSBYTE 2020

Let's hope these strange times are coming to an end! 

Trust all is well!

All Past Tips

For calendar and assistant opportunities, see below.

Tip o' the Day

Balancing our Lay and Spiritual Lives

Carl Fooks
See Below

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Every evening during lockdown from 20.00 to 21.30 — Short talk, meditation and developing compassion, joy and metta.

This Newsbyte contains a lot! The usual plus:

Evening Lockdown YouTube Session above continue!
NB June 05 Full Moon Evening Celebration with Italian Sangha
Online Meditation Hall on Zoom continued

Summer Mahasi: First month with Noirin Sheahan online (see below)

We hope to offer residential courses from Saturday 18 July.
June : Friday 05 : Full Moon Celebration  with Italian Sangha
Joining the Sangha of Pain Dei Ciliege   Zoom
Zoom entrance 15 minute time slot: UK 19.50-20.05  :  EU 20.50-21.05
Meeting ID: 830-5337-7084    Meeting Password 689352 

Talk on the Path : Taking the Refuges and Precepts : Sitting
Finishing Contemplations - Compassion, Joy and Metta

Finishing UK 21.30 : EU 22.30

Time passes and six week lockdown looks like it might be slowly coming to an end. How lucky to have such good weather. Other parts of Europe are beginning to really hot up. And of course, other parts of the world are really struggling. I'm thinking of locust plagues and poor government response to COVID.

I'm hoping you will all join me on the Full Moon. It will be an opportunity to come together to send out as much compassionate and joyful blessings in these troubled times. Sometimes it is all we can do.

On a brighter note, here's a photo of the meadows beginning to bloom with buttercups.


Summer Mahasi first four weeks online with Noirin Sheahan.  Because people will be working from home, connecting via Zoom, the schedule can be tailored to suit each individual's circumstances. Info. (PDF)  For further details, email: noirinsheahan@gmail.com

London and South East Satipanya Sangha: Inaugural meeting today! If you're interested in joining future meetings, please email satipanya-lse@genko.co.uk .

Online Meditation Hall on Zoom: Join us for your daily meditation. Info. (PDF)

Insight Timer: 'Satipanya Mahasi Devotees' group set up on the Insight Timer app organised by Mark Arthur. Info. (PDF)

Encouragements to Awakening on Retreat and Encouragements to Awakening in Daily Life: The paper backs are available on Amazon . But you can download  PDF, Mobi for Kindle and ePub versions for all other readers from the website .

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.

The Calendar for 2020

Warning re Coronavirus: We would prefer you to cancel your retreat or visit should you show any signs of illness.

We would ask anyone who as any sign of fever, tiredness, cough, or breathing difficulties, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, should cancel their proposed visit.

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 calendar on website for up-to-date 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 day is for practice.

You can see the menus here (PDF).

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 you are needed .

Summer Mahasi Retreat

Twelve week roll-on, roll off Retreat.

Minimum stay eight nights.

Assistants: Needed (see below)

The usual  schedule and format . Easily modified for beginners.


Noirin Sheahan


Because people will be working from home, connecting via Zoom, the schedule can be tailored to suit each individual's circumstances.
O nline Retreat Info.  

Start dates: Saturdays - 20 June & 04 July
Finishing Sat 18 July

Alternate Sundays possible for Mahasi devotees: 28 June, 12 July

Bhante Bodhidhamma


Start dates: Saturdays - 18 July; 01, 15, & 29 Aug.
Finishing Sun 06 Sept.
NB: Start restricted to listed Saturdays.

Alternate Sundays possible for Mahasi devotees: 26 July; 09, 23 Aug; 06 Sep.

Assistants: Needed

Starting and ending on following Saturday.

18 July - 01 August: Assistant: Linda Ciardeiello

01 August - 15 August: Assistant: Joséphine Mangenot

15 August - 29 August: Assistant: Grace White

29 August - 06 September: Assistant: Needed

Sunday 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 .
Installation of new Metta Buddha Statue on the island (to be confirmed).
Ceremony starts 13.30
Talk: To be announced.

Weeklong Mahasi Retreat

Guus Went

Sat 12 - Sun. 20 September

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 .

Weekend Retreat

Carl Fooks

Fri. 25 - Sun. 27 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.

The usual schedule and format .

Insight Dialogue

Anne Michel

Sat.17 - Sat.24 October

Assistant: Mark Blaxland

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.: Fi Robertson

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 sense what it means to be free.

The usual schedule and format . Easily modified for beginners.

Bhante's Away Calendar

Balancing Lay and Spiritual Life

Carl Fooks

As I write this, I have just completed another long week of work. I am a “key worker” and the last 10 weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown have been long and hard. The work that I do is literally to help keep the country running; to help people get through this crisis. I write 40 hours on my timesheet, but I know it's more. I’m tired and a little frazzled. I have this to write, send to Bhante, Noirin, and a few close friends for feedback, and update accordingly, and so on. I'm planning for a Zoom call tomorrow which Noirin and I are holding for our upcoming retreat. Next weekend (today as you read this!) is the inaugural Satipanya Urban Southeast Saṅgha (Zoom) meet-up which I’m thinking about, and I’m also thinking about recording my talks for the retreat so that I can just play them, and not have to worry about if I’m called to work instead.

On top of that, the grass and weeds keep growing. The bills still need paying. The dog needs walking. The family need tending to. Life goes on. Oh, and the very last thing that happened at work last week was that I had my first meeting with my new boss who started off by telling me that at his last place he fired all the people in my position.

Did I mention that I was tired and a little frazzled?

The point of me saying all this is that lay life is hard!

So we come to Buddhism to get some peace and ease, some joyful release from the rigours and hardships of life, and what do we find? Phrases like “diligent, ardent, and resolute” (MN p. 497). We go on retreat where we have to get up at 3:30 in the morning, meditate until at least 9:30 at night, and stay mindful—no, not just mindful, but “diligent, clearly knowing, and mindful” (Anālayo 2003, p. 4)—from the moment we wake up until the moment we fall asleep. Oh, and we have to find a noting word to label each and every experience as we go. To top it off, after a week of slog comes adhi ṭṭhāna day … a day of “resolute resolution” where we “strive” for a full day of moment-to-moment mindfulness.

And let’s not mention the dreaded “C” word. OK, let’s! “Concentration”. I’m old enough for a teacher to have whacked me across the knuckles with a ruler for “not concentrating hard enough!”

When Bhante reads us the Mettā Sutta every night , the Buddha says how we should  behave like this and should do that. More things we should do! [Edit: Bhante's softened it now.]

I mean, to cap it all, the Buddha’s last words were literally “strive diligently for your liberation.” (DN p. 270). “Strive diligently …”. You would be forgiven for thinking this isn’t the kind of peace and ease or rest and relaxation I had in mind when I signed up! Where’s the Spa?!

So, the question is, how do we balance the demands of our lay life with the demands of the spiritual life? How do we reconcile our needs with the exhortation of the Buddha to “strive diligently for [our] liberation”?

The Buddha, of course, had the answer to this: Skilfully! But, what amounts to ‘skilful’, and how do we apply it to our lives and practice? Professor Peter Harvey (Harvey 2000, p. 46) whittled the Buddha's criteria down to: 1) Is the motivation based in greed, hatred, or delusion? 2) Is the action to my harm or that of others? And 3) does it incline away from liberation?

So, if an action affirms any of these, the action is unskilful, and we should abandon it. Ultimately, all unskilful action can be said to be to our harm because it does not incline towards liberation.

Now, to be controversial. This can include practice!

If we’re up to our eyeballs in stress and worry and feeling particularly aversive to practice, and go and do it anyway, it can be that all we do is build up further resentment and aversion to the practice, never to practice again. Of course, it can also be that we find a wonderful place of peace and calm in the thick of it, but you get the point. We need to connect with our needs right now . Sometimes, sitting at the window, watching the rain fall gently on leaves is a more skilful thing to do than formal practice. Sometimes, getting up at 3:30am to practice diligently, ardently, and resolutely is exactly the right thing to do.

Basically, it boils down to this: we should be gentle and kind to ourselves; we should be sensitive to our needs at the time and skilful in our response to them; we need to have a skilful orientation to the path that does not result in harm to ourselves or others, is not based in greed (which implies not indulging laziness!), hatred, or delusion, and does not incline away from liberation. We need to gently nurture our practice, doing those things that are most nourishing for us at the time.

Notice all the “should”s and “need”s in that last paragraph? If you feel the gentleness of these, this is how we “should” hear the Mettā Sutta that Bhante reads each night. I implore you to read it again with exactly this in mind.

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. (John Lubbock, The Use of Life.)


Ven. Anālayo (2003) Satipaṭṭhā na: The Direct Path to Realization. Cambridge: Windhorse Publications.

Bikkhu Ñaṇamoḷi & Bikkhu Bodhi (2009) The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikā ya, 4th edn. Somervile: Wisdom Publications. (Cited as MN.)

Harvey, Peter (2000) An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Walshe, Maurice. (2012) The long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya. Somerville: Wisdom Publications. (Also cited as DN.)

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Directors  Jim Tibby  Richard Benjamin  Maureen Tibby  Mike Regan
Limited Company Number  05924965  Registered Charity Number  1116668
Satipanya Buddhist Trust Satipanya White Grit Minsterley, Shropshire SY5 0JN United Kingdom
T:  +44 (0)1588 650752
info:  info@satipanya.org.uk

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