New Year Newsbyte 2021

NEWSBYTE
New Year 2021

Trust all is well!

Whatever happens in the world, lets be sure it is going to be fruitful year for ourselves.

Satipanya wishes everyone a very fruitful year!


All Past Tips


For calendar and assistant opportunities, see below.

Tip o' the Day

Guidelines to a New Year's Resolution.

Bhante Bodhidhamma

(Difficulty reading text? Press Ctrl +)

Diary:

Mouse Saga

We have had some fun and games with mice this year. In the past, two or three might be in the loft of the Vihara and once evicted, that was the end of mice for the year. I never bothered to find out how they got up there. And therein lies the three months and ongoing miseries!

After evicting five or six, we, Noirin and myself, went sleuthing and decided it was the walls next to the bay window of the Vihara. The bricks are all crinkly and easy for little toes to grasp and climb. Up they went onto the roof of the bay window and an easy hop onto the main roof and into the loft. We put steel wool, which they hate to chew, covered in aluminium foil at the point where they would have to enter onto the bay roof.

They still got in. Patience! Another five or six and we went looking for holes in the building. And did we find holes! I dutifully filled them all in with ready mortar.

They still got in! Another five or six deposited either down by the river or as far away as Bishops Castle (five miles). Surely, they are not making their way back?

We called in a pest expert. He spent four hours – yes four hours – combing the property. He reckoned it was the grid outside the kitchen. I had filled it but maybe not so well. I later did a proper job. I also filled in the holes around the outside meter boxes and Noirin covered the ventilation grids in the Block with fine grills.

And they still got in. Patience constantly tested. Five or more – by now twenty in all – a few days of silence.

And the scratching, over my bedroom starts again. That is the reason I caught them. During the night they would be scratching away right over my bedroom/office. Warm and snug in the insulation. And myself wide awake!

Noirin mentions the Virginia Creeper whose bare branches stretch up to the roof. Now that was something I had overlooked. In normal times, we would have had the creeper cut back down to ground level as soon as the red autumn leaves had dropped. But this yearly exercise was overlooked. She had asked the expert, but he thought there would be too much energy lost in the climb. Mice like it easy.
Down came the creeper branches. Two more mice evicted. And silence at last. All five days of it. And then that old familiar scratch.

Three days ago, these were the last two, twenty-six in all, that we have evicted.
Will the little mouse brain get the better of sapiens sapiens?

The February Newsbyte will surely claim victory for the higher species whose amazing intelligence and foresight will eventually destroy all habitats anyway.

Announcements

Satipanya Online Meditation Hall on Zoom:  Main sitting times continue at 06.00, 14.00 and 20.00. Join us for your daily meditation. Info . (PDF)

Satipanya Spiritual Companions:  An informal meditation group to meet on a monthly basis via Zoom for a full day of meditation, and over the Christmas break (see above). Email Magda for details.

London and South East Satipanya Sangha: Fortnightly meetings, currently on Zoom. If you're interested in joining, please email satipanya-lse@genko.co.uk .

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.

Calendar for Start of 2021

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.

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 : info@satipanya.org.uk

Winter Mahasi Online Only

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.

You can start or end on any of the following dates:

Saturdays: 16 & 30 Jan, 13 & 27 Feb, 13 & 27 Mar, 10 & 24 Apr.

Sundays:  24 Jan,  7 & 21 Feb, 7 & 21, Mar, 4 &18 Apr.


For a 5-day retreat, start on a Sunday (19.30) and finish on the following Saturday (7.30).
For a 7-day retreat, start on a Saturday (19.30) and finish on Sunday (7.30) the following week.  
Longer retreats - up to the full 14-week period - also possible.
Please enter the dates you want to attend on the Application Form. 

Beginners welcome

Calendar to Book

The usual schedule and format .

Bhante's Away Calendar

Guidelines to a New Year's Resolution

Bhante Bodhidhamma

Towards A More Fulfilling Life.

The opportunity for making you New year’s Resolution will be just after the Refuges and Precepts at midnight.

Now we are approaching the end of the year, and it’s the perfect time to reflect how we have done in the past year. We can then take some lessons for the New Year. One good way to reflect is using four aspects of well-being:

  1. Physical well-being
  2. Material well-being
  3. Social well-being
  4. Spiritual well-being 

These four aspects give us a complete and balanced view of well-being. By reflecting on them, we will have a complete view of how your life as a whole progressed in the past year.

To help us reflect, these are some questions we can ask ourself for each aspect. By giving honest answers to them, we will be able to see whether or not we have progressed the way we wanted in each aspect. For the questions to which our answer is no, we can ask why. 

For example, take this question:

Did you achieve the desired income level?

If our answer is no, we can then ask:

Why?

The answer might be because of circumstances beyond our control. But it may be a time to question what our income level should be. Whether it is fair or whether we expect too much. Whether life wouldn’t be easier if we reduced our expectations.

So, here are 20 questions to help you reflect the past year. You may consider others, of course.

  1. Physical well-being
    (The Buddha tells us that one of the necessary supports for spiritual practice is good health.)
    • Have we established the habit of exercising? 
    • Have we established the habit of consuming nutritious food?
    • Are we sleeping well?
    • Do we feel physically fit?
    • If you have an illness or disability, are you caring for this appropriately?
    What resolution comes of these reflections?
  2. Material well-being
    (We need a sufficient level of material well-being to support our spiritual practice.)
    • Have you achieved your desired income level?
    • Have you established the habit of spending less than you earn?
    • Have you been able to eliminate debt?
    • Have you establish the habit of saving?
    • Have you reduced your spending on some unnecessary expenses?
    • Has your career progressed as you wanted it to?
    • If unemployed, are you spending time to your advantage?
    • How much of your wealth do you offer to charity?
    What resolution comes of these reflections?
  3. Social well-being
    (This is the spiritual practice of Brahmavihara, the social virtues, in all its aspects)
    • Have our closest relationships been fulfilling?
    • Have our relationships with our families been as good?
    • Have we maintained good relationships with our friends?
    • Have we maintained good relationships with our workmates?
    • Did you get to know people from more diverse backgrounds?
  4. Spiritual well-being
    • Have you found your life’s orientation?
    • Do our ethical standards and behaviour match up to the teachings of our spiritual teachers?
    • Have you built the necessary habits for spiritual growth? They could be meditating, developing virtues, reading sacred texts, for example.
    • Are you maintaining and developing spiritual friendships?
  5. Overall during the past year
    • What are you most proud of?
    • What do you most regret?

While the questions listed here are not comprehensive, at least they can give some idea about our progress. Besides, we will be able to see which aspect requires more attention. Since we should maintain a balance of all aspects, the aspects, least developed, are the ones that we should pay more attention to.

These questions can also help you identify the specific actions you should take for each aspect. For example:

  • If my answer to the question Have I built a habit of exercising? is no, can I determine a time every day devoted to some physical exercise or can I join a gym or local group?
  • If my answer to the question Did I get to know people from more diverse backgrounds? is no, can I join a group or society which has a more varied membership – art clubs, walking groups, gardening societies?
  • If my answer to the question Have I found my life’s orientation? is no, then I can ask: Have I put enough effort into my practice or do I need to explore other spiritual teachings?

We can then prioritise the actions based on what will make the most impact on our lives. All these will help us set your goals for the New Year.

Our objective should be to have good and balanced progress in all four facets.

If you fail to receive a monthly NEWSBYTE, please look in spam, or reestablish the email by filling in the MAILING LIST form at the bottom of the front page of the website.

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  Noirin Sheahan  Mike Regan  Alison Weeks
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