February Newsbyte

February NEWSBYTE 2022

 

Trust all is well!


All Past Tips


For calendar and assistant opportunities, see below.

Tip o' the Day

Being Human

See Below

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The Winter Mahasi Retreat
Still some places!
See below for details.
Assistants Needed 
12-26 March and 26 March - 9 April
See below for details. 

COVID
 
Even though restrictions are being withdrawn, we still ask everyone to wear a mask except when meditating and to take a rapid covid test before setting out on their journey to Satipanya, and not to come if the test is positive.

Fully vaccinated people coming from abroad (non-red-list countries) will be able to join the retreat immediately. 

If you develop any symptoms during retreat, you must take a test and isolate if the result is positive. Please bring your own tests.
 

Diary

I'm back in the saddle running the Winter Mahasi. We've had to keep numbers to 8 so we can keep basic rules. Noirin is on retreat for the 8 weeks of my period. May she attain full liberation!

But the big happening was the collapse of the airsource heating system - and on the Saturday evening when everyone arrived for the opening week!

The engineeer came round and after 10 hours plus told us he couldn't find the leak and advised us to call the installing plumber! However, he did get two of the heating systems going.

We have three systems. One feeds the Accommodation Block and the other the underfloor heating in the VIhara but only the Walking Room, top third of the Meditation Room and my room. These he got going, but the radiators which warm the Bungalow  are dead cold! 

It caused me to bite the bullet and have an emergency alternative and that meant getting 8 oil heaters from Screwfix on Sunday. It also means we only heat up the Dining Room when we need it. Although Noirin and the Assistant stay there, to keep their rooms warm with oil heaters shouldn't be all that costly.

What caused the jaw to lock in the bite was the cost of the heating engineers. £1,300 plus! Hidden costs of high tech. That takes away this year's Govt. grant.

I know that it has been dearer to heat the place since the airsource than using the the storage heaters and electric fires when needed, simply because instead of heating individual rooms, the whole bulding is heated in an 'envelope' whether you are using the rooms or not. But it does make for a comfortable centre. Now is that a good thing?

This reminds me of a small report I read the other day of a man, living on his own, fearing he could not pay the heating bills with the rise of costs, was advised by the electricity company to heat one room. The one he was using. It read as though this was a crime! Shock! Horror!

I know this is going to sound a bit like a Monty Python sketch , but 'my generation', the Boomers, did not have central heating. During the coldest of winters, only the kitchen at breakfast and the living room during the day were heated. And ice formed on the inside of bedroom windows.

How do you use heating? What temperature do you set it at? I'm wearing thermal underwear and two jumpers and I'm happy with 18 degrees celsius, even when I am sitting here for long periods.

This links in with my Tip on how we raise personal commitment to respond to the Climate Crisis.

Announcements

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.

Regular 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-lse@genko.co.uk .

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  spiritualcompanions2020@gmail.com


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 2022

Coronavirus: Requirements for visiting Satipanya.

We are asking everyone to take an antigen test before setting out in their journey to Satipanya and not to come if the test is positive.

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 .

Winter Mahasi 

Residential

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:  23 Jan,  6 & 20 Feb, 6 & 20, Mar, 3 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)   ..... Maria Schulte .
Weeks 7&8  (25 Feb - 11 Mar)   .. Alison Weeks
Weeks 9&10 (10- 26 Mar)  ... Needed ..
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)

Check Website for Retreats upto Summer.


Calendar

Bhante's Away Calendar

Being Human

Bhante Bodhidhamma

 
Ven. Ānanda said to the Blessed One, “This is half of the holy life, lord: having admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues.”
“Don’t say that, Ānanda. Don’t say that. Having admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues is actually the whole of the holy life.
(See below [I] )
 
We are our relationships. This is a dynamic between ‘me’ and other. It is constantly changing. When that dynamic is wholesome, it is a dance. It brings all the benefits of comm-unity . When it corrupts, the dance morphs into a brawl. Everyone suffers.
 
There are now so many forces that militate against our togetherness as human beings. Even our togetherness within individual nations. The neoliberal ideology that atomises us into individual entrepreneurs each vying against the other for a piece of the pie; the neoliberal economies that have created a gargantuan gap between the multitude of poor and the very few rich; the disastrous effect of Social Media in exacerbating the divisions in our society and proselytising conspiracy theories; the political powerlessness to tackle Climate Crisis and callous disregard of this existential threat by Corporations in the service of shareholders and by Deniers; the loss of confidence in our institutions – the Heath Services, the national broadcaster, the police, the government; the zeitgeist, world mood, that is moving us towards ‘illiberal’ democracy and dictatorships; the growing threat of war (nuclear?) between China and the US, and even Russia. Not to talk of Covid and future pandemics that manifest the selfishness of richer nations and racial disparity.
 
I’m sure you could add to the list. In all, it adds up to a foreboding that there has to be a crash of some sort. It can leave us feeling paralysed. Apart from becoming involved in a charity or cause that moves us, there may be something we are overlooking. We must do all we can to re-establish our sense of community. There were neighbourly awakenings during the lock downs, but once the pandemic ends, I dare say it will be back to ‘normal’.
 
The word Ubuntu  [ii] comes in many forms throughout all the countries of Southern Africa. It is a part of their view of life.
 
Ubuntu  (Zulu pronunciation:  ɓ únt ʼ ù ] ) is a  Nguni   Bantu  term meaning "humanity". It is sometimes translated as "I am because we are" (also "I am because you are"), or "humanity towards others" (in  Zulu umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu ). In  Xhosa , the latter term is used, but is often meant in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity".  ( Wikipedia )
 
This is also included in Dhamma understanding of interdependence, but to say: I am a human because you are a human, is to cement it in a relationship of equality.
 
As always, change begins within the individual. The Eightfold Path begins with Right Understanding and this manifests as Right Attitude which in turn manifests in how we speak and act.
 
Here we have a practice. Just as in Metta we have phrases to establish good will to all beings, so we can develop that desire for kinship with all other human beings – even those whose actions and philosophy we detest.
I am because you are – bring to mind all categories of people. How does each category effect you?
I am because we are –
My being a human depends on you being a human.
I practised this while walking around Shrewsbury and there was growing sense of kinship. If you try it, do send me your experience.
Please send me other phrases if you think of any.
 
This talk is the inspiration for this Tip:
What do We Want to Sustain? Thinking about Faith and The Climate. Dr Carmody Grey: Hook Lecture 2021

PS: Without doubt the best possible way through all catastrophe is through personal responsibility and a sense of common purpose, driven by a solidarity that comes from caring for one another. However, sadly, and I confess I am a little cynical; what will eventually drive most is the experience of danger. As all dictators know, fear is also a great motivator! But it comes with destruction. Such is the nature of Samsara!

[i]   Half (of the Holy Life)  Upa ḍḍha Sutta  (SN 45:2)

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Sakyans. Now there is a Sakyan town named Sakkara. There Ven. Ānanda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, Ven. Ānanda said to the Blessed One, “This is half of the holy life, lord: having admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues.”

“Don’t say that, Ānanda. Don’t say that. Having admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.

“And how does a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, develop & pursue the noble eightfold path? There is the case where a monk develops right view dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. He develops right resolve… right speech… right action… right livelihood… right effort… right mindfulness… right concentration dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. This is how a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, develops & pursues the noble eightfold path.

“And through this line of reasoning one may know how having admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues is actually the whole of the holy life: It is in dependence on me as an admirable friend that beings subject to birth have gained release from birth, that beings subject to aging have gained release from aging, that beings subject to death have gained release from death, that beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair have gained release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. It is through this line of reasoning that one may know how having admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues is actually the whole of the holy life.”
 
[ii] Ubuntu – you may know the word as open source software, part of  Linux.
There are various definitions of the word "Ubuntu". The most recent definition was provided by the African Journal of Social Work (AJSW). The journal defined ubuntu as:
A collection of values and practices that people of Africa or of African origin view as making people authentic human beings. While the nuances of these values and practices vary across different ethnic groups, they all point to one thing – an authentic individual human being is part of a larger and more significant relational, communal, societal, environmental and spiritual world.  Wikipedia

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Many thanks.

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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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