December Newsbyte



Trust all is well!

All Past Tips

For calendar and assistant opportunities, see below.

Tip o' the Day

Inner Voices

See Below

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The Winter Mahasi Retreat
now open to applications
See below for details.
Applications for the rest of 2022 will start on 10 January.

Noirin here, Bhante still away on his annual retreat in Germany. 

We're on the final day of the November retreat at the point of writing. No covid problems but Aren, who many of you will know, gave us a bad scare. He was assisting for the first fortnight and had a motorbike accident on his way home, badly bruised and shocked but no serious injuries thankfully. He had swerved to avoid hitting a hedgehog, who then absconded the scene while Aren had a dozen medics pouring over him for the rest of the day!  Although still very stiff and sore, he is recovering, happily.  

Surprisingly, the Satipanya mouse population plummeted with the arrival of the yogis. In the fortnight before the retreat started eight mice found their way into our live-traps compared to just two during the four-week retreat.. Perhaps the presence of people walking around the property is a deterrant? Could explian why we rehomed 30 or more mice while we were locked down last year compared to only two or three in previous years.  With wildlife reclaiming all the major cities during lockdown, who could blame the mice for attempting to set up house in Satipanya!


Day Retreat:  Sat 8 Jan, 10.00 - 17.00, kick-start / top-up. led by Bhante Bodhidhamma. Beginners welcome. Click here to book.

Winter Retreat:  12-week, roll-on, roll-off residential retreat. Bhante will lead the first 8 weeks, 15 Jan - 12 March, and Noirin will leaad the final four 15 March - 9 April. Beginners welcome. Assistants needed.  Click here to book.

Doggy Dana: If anyone would like to mind Flash (a 
3 legged rescue dog from the Caribbean, playful, energetic, affectionate and naughty!) for Sarah, one of our regular retreatants here at Satipanya, between 5 March and 3 April , this will allow Sarah to attend the winter retreat. Contact Sarah for more info.

Online Meetings

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

London and South East Satipanya Sangha:  Fortnightly meetings, currently on Zoom. If you're interested in joining or you recently tried but didn't get a response, please email .

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

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.  For date of next Celebration.   

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 2022

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:
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 .

Attendance & Online - New Year Retreat

A kick start to the year!

Bhante Bodhidhamma

Saturday 08 January
Meeting at 09.30 : Ending 17.00

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

Assistant Needed

Winter Mahasi Online Only

Twelve week roll-on, roll-off Retreat.

Saturday 15 January to Saturday 09 April

First 8 weeks: Bhante Bodhidhamma. Last 4 weeks: Noirin Sheahan

Applications open.

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

Saturdays: 15 & 29 Jan, 12 & 26 Feb, 12 & 26 Mar.

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

Assistants Needed

Weeks 1&2  (14 - 29 Jan)     .. Jim Tibby .
Weeks 3&4  (28 Jan - 12 Feb)  .. Toby Glynn   .
Weeks 5&6  (11 - 26 Feb)   ..... Josephine Mangenot .
Weeks 7&8  (25 Feb - 11 Mar)   .. Needed ...
Weeks 9&10 (10- 26 Mar)  ... Josephine Tobin ...
Weeks 11&12 (25 Mar - 09 Apr)  .. Needed .

See Calendar for dates.

For a 5-day retreat, starting on a Sunday (19.30) and finish on the following Saturday (07.30).
For a 7-day retreat, starting on a Saturday (19.30) and finish on Sunday (07.30) the following week.  
Longer retreats - up to the full 12-week period - also possible.
Please go to Calendar and enter the NUMBER of the week/s (not the dates!) you want to attend on the Application Form. 

Beginners welcome
(though must start on a Saturday during Bhante's period)

Bhante's Away Calendar

Inner Voices.

Carl Fooks

So, I have this thing where I give character to somebody’s inner voice when I mimic them. Typically, this is Rene (she who must be obeyed), and usually results in us falling about in fits of laughter. (I can’t even hint at what these are like as it’d give you too much of an insight into our private lives! 😉)

Anyway, so there I was, talking to Rene, and mimicking her inner voice while explaining something. Thus ensued aforementioned hilarity, followed by: “I don’t sound like that! I don’t have an inner voice. At all.”

! … 🤨

Mind: Blown. 🤯

Well, I confess it did take several minutes of checking we were talking about the same thing before my mind finally settled on being blown. I mean, we’ve only been together for 26 years, and never has she mentioned to me that she has no inner voice. She talks about thinking this or that, and I always assumed she meant, well, thought . In the way that I think! With a voice! So to find out that she has no inner voice really did blow my mind. Now, there are many ways in which we “think”, and only some of these involve a voice, but I had always assumed that everyone has one. I even Googled it, and sure enough … some people have no voice.

Anyway, with a spooky synchronicity, a few days later an article appeared in The Guardian on the variety of our inner voices , including those who have no voice whatsoever. Some of the people in the article describe some remarkable ways of thinking, including one person who hears “a belligerent Italian couple … like the family in the Dolmio pasta sauce adverts [who] passionately argue” in her mind!


Now, I’m not sure why this should be so surprising to me, I don’t get any images whatsoever. So, that this would manifest for the voice is entirely reasonable. Still, I was surprised! I’m 51; it’s not often you learn something so fundamental for the first time so late in life. But there you go.

This all played out shortly after I had taught a weekend retreat during which somebody asked about thoughts. I had been referring to the vocal kind, considering them a universal. This new knowledge had rendered my answer void.

I found myself marvelling about the infinite malleability of the inner space. That ultimate emptiness (in the Mahāyānic sense) of the mind. We tend to think of things as “real” as “universal”; that an “orange” is the same to all of us, but this reminded me that, to some, an orange is a gustatory delight, while others’ tastebuds curl up in horror.

But it also got me thinking about how those of us who teach may need to adjust our teachings to accommodate the different ways people experience the mind. We can’t talk about “seeing” things, or “listening” to the tone of the inner voice with any certainty. And yet, somehow Rene and I managed to get along fine without her knowing about my aphantasia, or me her missing inner voice.

What this made me realise is that, of course, everything happens within our own internally consistent versions of “reality”. I don’t “see” things in my mind, yet I do still “imagine,” Rene “thinks” without words. This also made me realise the importance of playful experimentation in our practise, and how we need to interrogate our experience to adjust and adapt to the instructions. Our inner world does not exactly match anyone else’s, we need to engage and experiment with the instructions to make them fit our own model.

So, don’t worry about “getting it wrong”, or “messing up”. Play! Enjoy your practice. Relax into it in a playful way, and see how you can make the instructions work for you. Engaging in this way is the only way. There is no single reality.

It does have to make you wonder, though: how does Rene note “thinking thinking” without words? 🤔🤯

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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 Gritt, Minsterley Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY5 0JN United Kingdom
T:  +44 (0)1588 650752

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