August Newsbyte

August NEWSBYTE 2020

Strange times continue! 

Trust all is well!


All Past Tips


For calendar and assistant opportunities, see below.

Tip o' the Day

Wildflower Wisdom

Noirin Sheahan
See Below

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Don't forget:

Online Meditation Hall on Zoom continues.

Summer Mahasi now all Online
With Wales taking her time to open up hospitality and the logistics of keeping to rules around food service, we have had to decide against residential retreats and run the rest online.
If you are already booked onto a residential course, email Marion: info@satipanya.org.uk
If not, please apply as usual.

Diary:

Noirin here - still 'locked down' in Satipanya - and very grateful for that blessing! With the continued risk of coronavirus and restrictions on hospitality, we’ve been running all retreats online since Easter and Bhante has now also decided that the remainder of the summer retreat will be online.

We use Zoom so retreatants can see one another, take part in group Q&A etc. Feedback has been excellent. Though some people missed the protected environment of Satipanya, many felt it advantageous to make a retreat in their normal home setting — helping to integrate practice and daily life. And it has allowed people to join us from far afield — Ireland, Spain, Holland even India. So lots of travel stress saved as well as carbon footprint. A few people joined the summer retreat for the first or second week and ended up staying till the end of the month! Do consider joining!

In the meantime we’ve had an excellent report on our meadows, identifying 58 different species of wildflower and noting that the meadows are now sufficiently diverse to provide a valuable source of seed to promote biodiversity in other sites. Happilly the bees and other insects have taken no notice that the centre is closed!

Announcements

Grants for Meditation Retreats? Go to Open Dharma Foundation

London and South East Satipanya Sangha:  Fortnightly meetings. If you're interested in joining, 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.

The usual  schedule and format . Easily modified for beginners.


Bhante Bodhidhamma

Full Retreat Online
If you are already booked onto a residential course and you want to join it online, simply email Marion: info@satipanya.org.uk
If you are not booked on the residential course but want to join the online retreat, please apply as usual .
 

Start dates: Saturdays - 15, & 29 Aug.
Finishing Sat 05 Sept.
NB: Start restricted to listed Saturdays.

Alternate Sundays possible for Mahasi devotees: 09, 23 Aug.

Starting and ending on following Saturday.

15 August - 29 August: Online

29 August - 05 September: Online

Saturday 05 September Finishing Day

Sangha Day : Thirteenth Anniversary

Saturday 05 September

Assistant: Trevor Flaxman

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

August tip

Wildflower Wisdom
Noirin Sheahan

Oblivious to the pandemic and all its consequences, the wildflowers have been blooming here at Satipanya and giving me a few dhamma lessons in the process.  My interest was sparked by reading Joanna Macey’s ‘Active Hope’ last year, a guide to facing the climate crisis.  One danger, she says, is that we get so overwhelmed by anxiety that we do nothing. To combat this, we need to start with gratitude: to develop and express appreciation for the natural world that supports us and is now so deeply threatened. Whatever actions we take to combat the threat will then stem from good-will and be more effective and sustainable as a result.

So when Eddie, one of our dhamma group in Dublin, suggested a butterfly walk, I was enthusiastic. Luckily it was a beautiful sunny day and butterflies fluttered in abundance. It was a bit of a downer  therefore to find aversion showing up. It all seemed so overwhelming – so many different butterflies, so many different wildflowers, so much beauty and profusion. My brain ached!

I kept reminding myself of the motivation — to develop and express appreciation for the natural world — as I adjusted myself to the news that this was going to be a long journey, that the heart was only going to open chink by chink to the biosphere.  65 years of ignoring the ‘weeds’ under my feet weren’t going to be pushed aside that easily!

By the time those ‘weeds’ started blooming this year, aversion had given way to a tentative curiosity. Little pink flowers (from a photo Eddie identified Herb Robert) became differentiable from a companion pink (Red Campion). When I went out for my walk, these became friends greeting me on the roadside. With their encouragement little white flowers (Stitchwort) began to form a niche in consciousness, soon followed by the taller white ones (yarrow) and yellow ones ….

As you can probably guess, greed was now triumphing over aversion, my heart aching with desire to know and name all the flowers peering at me whenever I glanced at the hedgerow. Doubt crept in — what was the point in making my daily walks stressful? Would I not be better off to cultivate tranquility, just feeling my feet on the ground as I walked?

Remembering the motivation — appreciation for nature as a way of countering the paralyzing anxiety associated with climate crisis — I could see that the stress was worth bearing. On this side of enlightenment what relationship is free from greed? I could work with it mindfully and balance it out by spending more time admiring each flower, letting them draw me deeper into this new relationship, wishing them well as they coped with weather changes now and to come.

Maybe thanks to Joanna Macey’s strategy, I now find myself on the biodiversity policy group of the Green Party. Although my expertise on Herb Robert might not save the planet, I will surely be able to compile an email list or in some way contribute to this work. No doubt greed and aversion will make their appearance here too. But that’s OK, they have their place in life. Greed counters laziness, my tendency to ignore what I don’t yet understand or value; aversion tells me when I’ve had enough, need to relax, let someone else compile that email list.

Nature, politics, committees can all be part of our path to freedom. The truth seeps in as we follow the breath in meditation, compile an email list, discern one pink flower from another. Each mindful encounter with the world is to care for what is vulnerable, fleeting, unreliable — the perfect Dhamma teaching.

 

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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 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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