November Newsbyte

November NEWSBYTE 2020

Wintry weather and a winter wave - keep safe.

Trust all is well!

All Past Tips

For calendar and assistant opportunities, see below.

Tip o' the Day

As Winter Approaches

Noirin Sheahan
See Below

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Autumn Mahasi Retreat
Online only.

Four-week roll-on, roll-off format. Started Sat 31 st  October,
Can join Sun 8th, Sat 14th and Sun 22 nd  November. 
See Calendar below.

Noirin here as Bhante has now started his winter retreat which will continue till the week before Christmas. He had planned to travel to Dublin, but the Covid second wave scuppered that, so he is still here at Satipanya - much quieter than the mice who have also decided to do their winter retreat here! 

As for myself, I've more or less relocated here now, many thanks to Bhante and the Trust for accommodating me. My mother died in January which removed any obligation to return to Dublin and the pandemic settled the matter. In time it may be necessary to build or buy a separate dwelling nearby, but for the present I'm every bit as delighted as the mice to declare Satipanya as my home base! 

Meanwhile, beside the pond, the commemoration wall is edging its way into existence. Here we will mount plaques to remember those whose ashes have been scattered in the pond.  The foundations have been dug and the bricks are waiting for the brick-layer to arrive - hopefully this month. The stone Buddha who used to sit on the island is awaiting his elevation to cap the wall where he can gaze toward the Parinibbana Buddha, remind us of what is undying


Videos - Bhante came across a video which helped him understand what is going on in the economy.  How is money created ?

One Earth Sangha:  Community involved in activities to do with the environment, climate change, etc. but from a Buddhist perspective.

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

Satipanya Online Meditation Hall on Zoom: For November Bhante will lead the 6am, 2pm and 8pm sits. Join us for your daily meditation. Info

Satipanya Spiritual Companions:  An informal meditation group to meet on a monthly basis via Zoom for a full day of meditation. 
Email Magda for details at

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

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.

Mahasi Monthlong Retreat

Noirin Sheahan

Started Sat 31 Oct, can join Sun 8, Sat 14, Sun 22 Nov.

Beginners welcome

Ends Sat am 28 Nov.

ONLINE - Schedule can be tailored to suit your needs, see here for info.

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.

Calendar for Start of 2021

Online - New Year Day Retreat

A kick start to the year!
Bhante Bodhidhamma

Saturday 09 January
Meeting at 09.00 : Ending 17.00

Schedule and details will be sent with application.
Email Marion :

Winter Mahasi : Residential and Online

Fourteen week roll-on, roll-off Retreat.

Saturday 16 January to Saturday 24 April

First 8 weeks: Bhante Bodhidhamma. Last 6 weeks: Noirin Sheahan

Applications open.

Please read  Winter Mahasi   in order to see how we hope to run the retreat.

Both Residentials and Online retreatants can start only on the following Saturdays and continue until another Saturday. Please enter the dates you want to attend on the Application Form.

January 16 & 30

February 13 & 27

March 13 & 27

April 10 & 24

Only those who have completed a weeklong Mahasi Retreat either here at Satipanya or with another accredited teacher can apply for the residential retreat.

Beginners can apply for the Online Course.

Calendar to Book

The usual schedule and format .

Bhante's Away Calendar

As Winter Approaches

Noirin Sheahan

Traditionally, November is the month of the dead, the ‘Holy Souls’ in Christian understanding. It’s a time to remember those we have lost. I am especially remembering my mum who died in January. She used to love this time of year - closing the curtains early and looking forward to long evenings by the fireside.  For many people November has the opposite effect. As the days get shorter and the sunlight fades a gloomy depression mounts. Its humbling to see our dependence on physical basics like daylight and sunshine for optimism and good humour.

It’s also an opportunity to reflect on the teaching on the elements – earth, water, air and fire – the basis for bodily experience. Earth represents solidity; we sense this as pressure, hardness, softness, weight. We experience the water element when it spatters into our face as rain, lets eyelids skim over the delicate surface of the cornea. The air element represents movement – we sense this when we turn our head, when the legs swing while we walk. The fire element is responsible for the November blues; changes in temperature and light tell us that this element, like the others, is not to be taken for granted, not ours to have when we want it to discard when we want something else. 

We’re very attached to bodily experience! As a baby it was our main source of pleasure and pain. Later the mental world became more prominent – the pleasure of reading, socializing, achieving, the pain of misunderstanding, rejection, failure. Delusion allows our mental life to take over the show; like James Joyce’s Mr. Duffy, most of us live "at a little distance from our bodies".  

The fading of heat and light at this time of year provides a wake-up-call. Warmth is the vital sign of life while light has spiritual as well as physical significance – near death experiences often report moving through a dark tunnel towards light. No wonder we are so deeply attached! To go to the root of the problem we need to rediscover the pleasure and pain of the embodied life, rest attention on cold toes or warm hands. There’s the simple physicality of warmth or coolness; there’s also the overlay of commentary, liking, disliking, desire & aversion. As we watch, the overlay simplifies down, and when conditions are right, stops. What a relief! An easy intimacy grows, but so delicate! It shatters with any grumbling for more heat, brighter light … Slowly and painfully we learn to drop our preferences, be grateful for whatever sensations the body offers. These sensations provide our footing in reality, a welcome counterpoint to the unending chit-chat of the mind. With our feet planted firmly in reality, our true nature can take shape.

I like to remember my mum’s November evenings when she gladly turned away from the hustle and bustle of life to rest by her fireside, read her books. I can follow her lead, retreat into my body, let it become my focus for winter evenings, curl up with the book of Dhamma – the real-life one printed on direct experience. The chapter on the elements is always a good place to start. What better way to greet the cold, dark days of November than by learning to love the vibrant stimulation we term ‘cold’, discovering peace in darkness?

Thanks for the memories, Mum.

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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  Noirin Sheahan  Mike Regan  Alison Weeks
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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