August Newsbyte

August NEWSBYTE 2021

 

Trust all is well!


All Past Tips


For calendar and assistant opportunities, see below.

Tip o' the Day

Motivation for Practice 
Carl Fooks

See Below

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Diary: Noirin here, having just finished the first month of the summer retreat and Bhante now busy teaching the final two months.

Happy to report no covid problems. Luckilly the weather has been beautiful so no problem keeping all the windows and doors open and we do Chi Gung on the decking. 

During the first month of the retreat the 4am sit had the added bonus of the dawn chorus. First up was always our blackbird, Jenny wren joining soon after then the cocks from the neighbouring farm woke up to spoil it all! Sadly we haven't heard our blackbird at all over the past few days. We fear the worst.

Announcements

October Weekend Retreat: This residential retreat has been added to the Calendar. It will be led by Noirin and is scheduled for 15th - 17th October. Beginners welcome. 

The Insight Myanmar Podcast: Includes interviews with Daw Viranani, Bhikkhu Bodhi and others regarding the ongoing political crisis in Myanmar, its implications for the sangha and what response we might make as Western Buddhists whose practice owes so much to the monastic tradition of Myanmar.   Website

European Buddhist Union (EBU) Newsletter: Jamie Cresswell of the EBU is looking for volunteers who would help with one of the many projects being run by the organisation - these include Eco Dharma, Buddhist Chaplaincy, Teaching Buddhism in Schools and many more. See Jamie's email here and contact him at jc@appliedbuddhism.org.uk if you can help.

Where do you Meditate?  A research project in the University of Nottingham Dept of Architecture is looking for volunteers to complete a survey which may influence the future design of contemplative places. Info

Summer Mahasi as a residential retreat is now running (see below for details). If any weeks have to be cancelled, deposits will be returned and an Online Retreat offered.

Meditation Hall on Zoom:  Join us for your daily meditation - 06.00, 09.00, 14.00, 16.00 and 20.00 sits.  Info.

Full Moon Celebrations:  Join 20.00 to 21.00 on the Sunday closest to the Full Moon. Bhante gives a short dhamma talk, followed by a 30-min sitting, refuges and precepts and we end by reading and chanting the metta sutta.  Next Celebration: Sunday Aug 22     

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

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  spiritualcompanions2020@gmail.com

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

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.

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

Residential with some online (should all be back to normal. 🤞🏻)

 

Bhante Bodhidhamma will lead the retreat from 17 July – 12 September

 

Online attendance is open only to the elderly, those who live at too far a distance, or those that have medical reasons, that is, anyone incapacited one way or another. Retreatants can tailor their schedule to suit their own circumstances.  Information!

For further info. email: bodhidhamma@satipanya.org.uk

 

N.B.  Although the retreats are organised on a two week rota, it is possible to come for the first 8 days  of any two week slot. However, we would encourage you to attend for at least two weeks.

 

Start dates:  Saturdays :   31 July, 14 & 28 Aug
 

Finishing Sun. 12 Sept. to include the Anniversary Celebration on Sat.11 Sept.

A challenging Retreat easily modified for beginners.
See  Beginner’s Testimonials on website .
You are encouraged to stay for more than one week.

Please note:   make sure the  dates on the application form  match the dates you want to come.
 

Assistants: 

(Come on Friday evening and leave on Saturday after breakfast.)

18 Jun – 03 Jul: Assistant: John MacDougall

03 Jul – 17 Jul: Assistant: Grace White

16 Jul – 31 Jul: Assistant: Gwen Sanderson 

30 Jul – 14 Aug: Assistant: Michael Quirke

13 Aug – 28 Aug: Assistant: Jim Tibby

27 Aug – 12 Sep: Assistant: Jim Tibby (till 5 Sep) 
                                                       Dea Paridisos (5 - 12 Sep)
   (includes the Anniversary on Saturday)   


To book, see Calendar .

Day Retreat
Kick Start/Top up
Saturday 18 September
Bhante Bodhidhamma
Local Assistants: Needed
Arrive 09.30. Finish 17.00
Please bring veggie food to share.

To book, see Calendar .

Mahasi Weekend Retreat

Carl Fooks

Fri 24 Sep - Sun 26 Sep

Assistant: Needed

The Mahasi system is challenging, and its emphasis on moment-to-moment mindfulness can prove to be 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.  etreat description/text.

To book, see Calendar .

Insight Dialog Retreat

Anne Michel

Friday 01 - Thursday 07 October

Assistant: Needed

nsight 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.

Click here to book

October Weekend Retreat
Noirin Sheahan
Fri 15 October - Sun 17 October
Assistant: Needed

An invitation to start or renew your vipassana meditation practice, to rest attention in the here and now, learn what causes suffering what eases it. 
See Schedule
Beginners Welcome!
To book see Calendar.



November Month-Long Retreat
Noirin Sheahan
Sat 30 October - Sat 27 November
Starting dates: Sat 30 Oct, Sun 7, Sat 13, Sun 21 Nov.
30 Oct - 13 Nov: Assistant: Needed
12 Nov - 27 Nov: Assistant: Fi Robertson

Beginners Welcome!

For 5 full days, start on a Sunday (19.30), end the following Saturday (07.30).
For 7 full days, start on a Saturday (19.30), end the following Sunday (07.30)
Longer periods also encouraged - ideally the full month. 

In vipassana we open up to experience moment by moment, seeing it clearly, without judgement. Seeing ourselves objectively like this is transformative. From confusion we move toward wisdom, from negativity toward friendliness and compassion.

The usual Schedule and Format - easily modified for beginners.

To Book see Calandar

Bhante's Away Calendar

Motivation for Practice

Carl Fooks

What happens when you sit down to meditate? How do you feel? Are your meditations a chore to be slogged through, or a holy hour (ten minutes?!) of heavenly angel choirs singing a harmonious “ ahhhhhhhhh ” in appreciation of the sanctity of your intentions? Or maybe somewhere in between?

Sincerely, I don’t intend any criticism in asking these questions. I can assure you that, at times, I have related to my practice in all of the above ways! The interesting question that sits behind those posed, is what kind of expectations or requirements are secretly infiltrating your practice, and how might these be affecting your ability to keep practising? Indeed, what  does  keep you practising, and what would happen if whatever that is wasn’t present any more? A powerful motivator can prove to be an equally powerful demotivator. 

For me, these last several years have been a barren wasteland of on and off practice that has, frankly, until relatively recently, mainly been off. When I was first practising, the primary motivation for my practice was to alleviate my suffering. As time went on it turned to unlocking the secrets of the universe, and it has alternated between these across the decades. For some time though, I have felt that these are not skilful motivations. I now find that if there is any requirement or expectation infiltrating my motivation for practice, at any time, or in any way, this disturbs the practice itself; practising to not suffer now brings suffering!

So what keeps me practising? This is a good question, and one that doesn’t really have a simple answer. While it sounds very much like “to not suffer”, I find that I practice now because, simply,  I’m better doing so , and that’s enough. Actually, it’s more than enough. I have no requirements of it anymore, no heavenly angel choir, not even a need to feel that “ I’m better doing so ”. As I say, if anything like this creeps in, it is clearly seen as unskilful and therefore unsatisfactory.

But motivation is important, and this is just my experience now. No doubt it will change again. The various relationships I’ve had with it over the years has brought me to practice and, generally, kept me practising. It’s been appropriate at the time. Whether that’s been to alleviate my suffering, being spiritually enthralled, or seeking the secrets of the universe, they’ve all been a tremendous source of energy that has motivated my practice.

It’s when these have surreptitiously turned into expectations and requirements that problems have arisen. I’ve had fallow years of infrequent practice because of this. We need to be careful to make sure that we’re not setting ourselves up for the future abandonment of practice because of an unskilful relationship to our practice, of having expectations and requirements that can only disappoint us when not met.

In the  Mahāsāropama Sutta , the Greater Discourse on the Simile of the Heartwood (MN 29), the Buddha points at the serious business of practice. He says “So this holy life, bhikkhus, does not have gain, honour, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment or virtue for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for it’s benefit. But it is this unshakeable deliverance of mind that is the goal of this holy life, its heartwood, and its end.” No heavenly angel choirs celebrating our holiness, no attainments of special attributes or powers, not even virtue, just “this unshakeable deliverance of mind.”

How can we orientate to our practice so that it is skilful, sustainable, and isn’t secretly setting us up for disappointment?

Gently.
 
 

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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  Noirin Sheahan  Mike Regan  Alison Weeks
Limited Company Number  05924965  Registered Charity Number  1116668
Satipanya Buddhist Trust Satipanya White Gritt, Minsterley Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY5 0JN United Kingdom
T:  +44 (0)1588 650752
info:  info@satipanya.org.uk

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