September Newsbyte

September NEWSBYTE 2020

Strange times continue! 

Trust all is well!

All Past Tips

For calendar and assistant opportunities, see below.

Tip o' the Day

Dealing with the Stories that Make us Suffer

Carl Fooks
See Below

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To facilitate our continental cousins who are more advanced (timewise anyhow) than us, the   Online Meditation Hall on Zoom   now includes a sit.

Weeklong Mahasi with Guus Went Online :  Sat 12 Sep-Sun 20 Sep

Weekend Mahasi with Carl Fooks :  Fri 25 Sep-Sun 27 Sep
see Calendar below
Please apply as usual.

Autumn Daily Life Course  with Noirin   starts in October. It's an eight-week course examining the Third Foundation for Mindfulness  - working with the mind in its various glorious and inglorious states. Each week Noirin sends a few pages of Dhamma notes exercises. People can then post reflections / comments / questions on the forum.  The course helps sustain practice outside of retreat and also allows people deepen their connection with the Satipanya sangha, learning from one another how to apply the teachings in daily life. For further information or to register email .   

Diary: I delayed this Newsbyte so we could get photos of the 14th Anniversary Celebrations and the initial blessing of the new statue: Here is a link to the whole sequence of photos that lead up to this .

Online Experience

Noirin and myself have just finished the 11 week Summer Mahasi all online. A pity not to be able hold any residential retreats and the more so that virtually all who had applied for a residential were unable to join the online course.

However, the online has brought new people. And it has been a revelation. All have found their practice very beneficial.

There were those who followed the full schedule and were surprised at how well it worked for them.

There were those who had to go to work for some of the time or look after home, children or a sick or elderly person. They found bringing the meditation into ordinary daily life was transforming.

And there were those who because of age or disability were more than grateful for the opportunity since they felt unable to join a residential course.

It has lead us to a decision to have some retreats online and/or some online retreatants joining the residentials in future.

So even in these 'heavy cloud with bright spells' times, a silver lining has appeared.


Metta  Statue: The new statue expressing the Buddha's metta and compassion has been placed on the island and will greet all  on arrival. Photos 

London and South East Satipanya Sangha:  Fortnightly meetings, currently on Zoom. If you're interested in joining, please email .

Online Meditation Hall on Zoom: Join us for your daily meditation. 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 .

‘The Little Monk Who Loved His Noodles’ by Julian Bond:  When a novice Tibetan Buddhist monk has difficulty meditating he soon finds an answer, as well as many others… 
Age range: 5 to 10 years old. Video

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

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.

Weeklong Mahasi Retreat

Guus Went

Sat 12 - Sun. 20 September

Apply as usual through the Calendar.

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.


Weekend Retreat

Carl Fooks

Fri. 25 - Sun. 27 September

Book through the Calendar.

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 Monthlong Retreat

Noirin Sheahan

Start dates Sat 31 Oct, Sun 8, Sat 14, Sun 22 Nov.

Beginners welcome

Ends Sat am 28 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 sense what it means to be free.

Easily modified for beginners.

Bhante's Away Calendar

September tip

Dealing with the Stories that Make us Suffer

A common question I get goes something along these lines:

“A friend has done something that has upset me. I feel betrayed. I thought I could trust them. I’m suffering. How can I stop?”

The person varies, what happens varies, the feeling varies, but it all boils down to the same archetypical cause: something happens that we want to be different. Sue got a pay rise but I didn’t! Jim cheated on me! Billy stole from me! Mary doesn’t like me. Tara has asked me not to make a cake for the party; I’m convinced nobody likes my cakes! Etc.

When things like this happen, a big part of our suffering comes from the stories we tell ourselves about these events. The stories might be accurate and justified, but often they’re distorted and hypercritical, and we believe them as if they are True . We think we’re useless, unloveable, gullible, unlikeable, talentless chumps!

The instructions for practice boil down to watching whatever arises within the field of awareness in a way that does not control, manipulate, judge, question, or interfere in any way whatsoever. How does this help in daily life, though? When something like this assails us, how do we apply the practice?

One thing we can do is use mindfulness to delve into what’s happening to discover what’s really disturbing us. On the cushion, we investigate our experience: what is this? The same is true off the cushion. We delve into the experience: what am I actually experiencing here? What’s troubling me? On the cushion, we do this non-discursively, we simply watch and wait for it to show us what it has to tell us, but off the cushion it often first needs a bit more interactive analysis. We delve deeper and deeper asking what’s the matter, what’s bothering me, what am I struggling with? Get an answer, test it, and ask again. Eventually we find something fundamental, possibly an unloved, unappreciated, betrayed little mini-me, sitting wounded in the corner of our minds, wailing at the terrible things “ that nasty person has done to me ”. It is there that we apply the practice. We simply watch that wounded feeling, allowing it to be there without any interference whatsoever, noting gently: “wounded wounded”. I wrote about this approach in last October’s Newsbyte if you would like to read more.

Sometimes though an alternative approach is needed. Perhaps the pain is too much and we have to first get ourselves into a better place before we can investigate. When something like this happens to me, I undermine the certainty I feel in what I believe has happened. If somebody’s said something to me that makes me feel terrible, I think of how I “know” that it’s True, and then think of alternatives that could be true instead. I come up with two or three alternatives that are genuine possibilities , and I convince myself that I can never know which one of the different possibilities are actually true.

If I asked the “perpetrator”, they may tell me a lie so as not to offend me. Or they may tell me the truth. Unless I could actually get inside their mind, I have no way of telling. Even lie-detector tests are fallible. So, I just can’t know. Right there, in that realisation, is freedom. The moment you see that any of them could be true, the attachment to one of them simply does not make any sense, and the mind is much less inclined to cling to it.

Seeing this, we should soak ourselves in the realisation that clinging to an idea, a view, leads to suffering, while letting go of it leads to release and relief.

When this becomes a habitual pattern of the mind, it starts doing it with everything. Is my view of anything more right or wrong than anyone else’s? No! Of course not! There are just views . Seeing this, we unpick our belief in the stories the mind tells us, slowly liberating ourselves from our inner-critic, and inching our way towards freedom.

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Many thanks.

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


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

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