March Newsbyte

March NEWSBYTE 2022


Trust all is well!

All Past Tips

For calendar and assistant opportunities, see below.

Tip o' the Day

Sympathy Empathy Compassion

See Below

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The Winter Mahasi Retreat
Still some places!
See below for details. 

Even though restrictions are being withdrawn in Wales, we still ask everyone to wear a mask except when meditating and to take a rapid covid test before setting out on their journey to Satipanya, and not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

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

These two articles were sent to me by Olenka, a Ukrainian and now British Citizen. They show how Putin has built a Trumpian tissue of lies to support his agression.
West gets Ukraine Wrong.
A Divided Ukraine?


The Air Sources Heating Failure Saga: We finally got our plumber to come and he found the leak — a rat had bit into the water pipe!

I told Andy, our gardener, who has had a lot to do with rats and the damage they do on allotments. Without hesitation, he said the only way is poison. I balked at it, but eventually realised that if we can't stop the rats getting into the loft, this was going to be a regular problem. And at £2000 a shot, it may very well become a huge expenditure. Yes, that's what is has cost so far.

Although the first precept is 'not to kill', we also have to remember that morals are always to be interpreted with context, within a situation. And that in a relative world, there are no absolutes. Deciding to poison the rats was for the benefit of the centre which services the spiritual needs of yogis. And I am prepared to accept any future consequence that arise from killing a living being. 

I heard a story (perhaps apocryphal) of a farmer approaching Ajahn Chah, telling him that as a farmer he had to kill living beings and he was in a moral dilemma. Ajahn Chah's answer was that he should become a monk! Frankly, I don't think that is a very helpful answer to the dilemma lay people (and any monk in charge of a facility) can find themselves in. Moral decisions are never quite as black and white as we would like them to be.

Simone Beauvoir wrote: ‘Morality resides in the painfulness of an indefinite questioning.’

Conceited self-righteousness expresses itself in moral absolutes.

Similarly, in a war situation. We now have this truly shocking assault by Putin and co. onto Ukraine and all the deaths, injury and suffering it has caused. Ukranians fight for their democracy and also kill Russian soldiers. Russian military, whether they personally support the action or not, kill and injure Ukranians. Their individual  reasons for doing so will determine their individual karma.

Monastics are allowed to defend themselves. This is why Kung Fu wa s developed. Monks had to find a way to defend themselves ag ainst percecuting emperors.

Such is the nature of Samsara!


Buddhists conceive of the world as a suffering-laden cycle of life, death, and rebirth, without beginning or end, known as samsara. Beings are driven from life to life in this system by karma, which is activated by their good or ill actions committed in this life as well as previous lives. 

P.S. Last Newsbyte's call for how people were using heat at home drew this single response from Ralf:


I live in a 2 bedroom house in  South Scotland. So, it can get a bit colder than average here. I have one storage heater in the living room that is switched on during the cold months, all other rooms are switched off because I cannot afford the cost of heating the rest. It can get pretty cold in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, but I got used to it. I have an electric blanket to warm the bed before hopping in and hot water bottles. The room temperature in the living room is set to 18–19 degrees. I usually have several layers, especially when sitting a lot.

Are we prepared to pay the cost of supporting the Ukraine?


Winter Retreat:  12-week, roll-on, roll-off residential retreat. Bhante leads the first 8 weeks, 15 Jan - 12 March, and Noirin will lead the final four 15 March - 9 April. Beginners welcome.  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 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 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:
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 


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)  ... John MacDougall
Weeks 11&12 (25 Mar - 09 Apr)  Sally Davies

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)

Click here to book

What we teach.      Schedules

Easter Mahasi Retreat

Noirin Sheahan

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.

Assistant : Jim Tibby

The usual schedule and format – see website,
easily modified for beginners.

Click here to book

What we teach.      Schedules

Bhante Bodhidhamma and Bryan Lester

Bryan Lester ,  a reiki master, has run this course with me in past years. He will be helping us open up to Universal Energy (Reiki).

Start Friday at 19.00, 29 April. Ending Wednesday 04 May after breakfast.

I will be guiding the practice of Vipassana, Metta and Bodycare.

Vipassana is heart purifying and insightful.

Metta is the development of Goodwill.

Bodycare is turning that Metta towards the body.

Reiki opening up to Universal Energy

Please note that on the afternoon of Saturday, there will be the Buddha Day Celebration from 14.00 – 17.00

Assistant Needed

Click here to book

What we teach.      Schedules

Buddha Day

Honouring Our Teacher  and Exemplar
Taking Refuges and Precepts Ceremony 

Saturday 30 April
Start 14.30 

Probably all outside centre

Day attendance for those in easy reach of the centre.

Taking Refuges and Precepts : Procession
Tea and Biscuits 16.00

Local Assistant needed

No need to book. Please let us know you are coming by email:

Weeklong Mahasi Retreat

Sat 21 May-Sun 29 May

Guus Went

Sayadaw U Pandita’s definition of Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the observing power of the mind, which clearly and simply experiences an object, without reacting to it.

We start actively to develop this power with the body as primary object. That makes it possible not to get fully entangled in the hindrances and to come to know something about them.

Sitting meditation, walking meditation and daily activities are fully equal in importance. Gradually we come to know other objects of meditation, both internally and externally.

Practical thing: It is useful to take a small notebook and a pen, to make notes of observations  after  a session or during the day. This will be helpful to make the interview sessions useful and relaxed.

 The usual schedule and format – see website.

Assistant  Needed

All about Guus

Click here to book

What we teach.      Schedules


Summer Mahasi Retreat

Sat 18 Jun-Sun 11 Sep

Noirin Sheahan will lead from Saturday 18 June to Saturday 16 July


Bhante Bodhidhamma will lead from Saturday 16 July to Sunday 11 September.

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 restricted to these Saturdays :   18 June  & 2, 16, 30 July, 13 & 27 Aug.

Alternate  Sunday  starts are possible – 26 Jun, 10 & 24 July,  07 & 21 Aug, 04 Sept :  only past students can start on Sundays during Bhante’s time. But beginners can join during Noirin’s time.

Finishing Sun.  morning  11 Sept. to include the Anniversary Celebration on Sat.10 Sept.

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

Choose the retreat/s you want to join.

Please enter the appropriate number/s for the retreat time you wish to apply for. For example: 03 means you will be coming on Saturday 02  and leaving  on  Sunday 10 July. If you wish to stay longer simply enter the following numbers. For instance: 03,04, 05, 06 means you will be coming on Saturday 02 July and leaving on Sunday 30 July.

01 … Sat 18 – 26 Sun Jun

      02 … Sun 26 Jun – Sat 02 Jul

03    Sat 02 – Sun 10 Jul

04 … Sun 10 – Sat 16 Jul

05 … Sat 16 – Sun 24 Jul

06 … Sun 24 – Sat 30 Jul

       07 … Sat 30 Jul – Sun 07 Aug

08 … Sun 07 – Sat 13 Aug

09 … Sat 13 – Sun 21 Aug

10 … Sun 21 – Sat 27 Aug

         11 … Sat 27 Aug – Sun 04 Sep

     12 … Sun 04 – Sun 11 Sep

For a 7-day retreat, start on a Saturday (19.30) and finish on Sunday morning the following week.

For a 5-day retreat, start on a Sunday (19.30) and finish on the following Saturday morning.

Longer retreats – up to the full 12-week period – also possible.

Please enter the  Number/s  you want to attend on the Application Form.

Beginners are welcome!

Assistants : Come on Friday evening and leave on Saturday after breakfast.

Retreats 01 & 02  Assistant needed

Retreats 03 & 04 Grace White

Retreats 05 & 06  Assistant needed
Retreats 07 & 08  Assistant needed
Retreats 09 & 10  & 11 Jim Tibby
Retreats 12   Dea Paradisos

Click here to book

What we teach.      Schedules

Thanksgiving Ceremony for Satipanya
Fifteeth Anniversary

Saturday 10 September

Ceremony starts 15.00

Hopefully Covid has disappeared and we shall not need the safeguarding.

Otherwise we can also come inside in the Meditation Room and Walking Room with windows and doors open.

Tea and biscuits after the ceremony!

Feel free to bring your own.Pray is doesn’t rain!

Local Assistant needed

No need to book. Please let us know you are coming by email:

Residential Weekend Retreat

Fri 16 Sep-Sun 18 Sep

Carl Fooks

See weekend schedule.

Carl’s may be a little different.

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. 

Assistant needed

Click here to book
What we teach.  

Autumn Day Retreat

Saturday 24 September
Kick Start/Top up

Bhante Bodhidhamma

Assisted by Mark Arthur

Arrive 09.30. Finish 17.00
Covid!!! Please bring your own sandwiches etc. Beverages provided.

Local Assistant: Needed
No need to book. Please let us know you are coming by email:

What we teach.  

Autumn Five Week Mahasi

Sat 29 Oct-Sat 3 Dec


Noirin Sheahan

Assistants: Needed

Four-week roll-on, roll-off, residential with a few places on-line.

Deposits will be refunded if cancellation due to Covid Restrictions

Starting dates:  October Sat 28,  November Sun 07, Sat 12, Sun 20 & Sat 26

Assistants needed

Fri 28 October to Saturday 12 November : Assistant needed

Fri 11 to Sat. 26 November :  Assistant needed

 Fri 25 November to Sat 03 December :  Assistant needed


Join for the full five weeks or a shorter period

(Minimum 5 full days, Sun evenig till following Sat morning).

Beginners welcome!

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. The retreat supports our efforts to see the world more clearly, and thereby 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.

What we teach .

Click here to book

Bhante's Away Calendar

Sympathy Empathy Compassion

Bhante Bodhidhamma

“Thus, monks, I have taught you the unconditioned … the destination and the path leading to the destination. Whatever should be done, monks, by a compassionate teacher out of compassion for his disciples, desiring their welfare, that I have done for you. These are the roots of trees, monks, these are empty huts. Meditate, monks, do not be negligent, lest you regret it later. This is my instruction to you.” (Bodhi, Bhikkhu. In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon. )

The Buddha uses the word anukampa:  anu reinforces kampati - shake, tremble, the heart resonates with another’s suffering. The other word which translates compassion is karuna and that is the word used when the Four Illimitables are mentioned – love, compassion, joy and equanimity. The Buddha is titled Mahakarunico – the Great Compassionate One.

The Dhamma cannot be held as a secret, it demands expression, first in the heart as sympathy or empathy and then in compassionate thought, speech or action. One obvious reason is that as we practice, selfishness lessens and generosity grows.

Sympathy, from the Greek sym/ + pathos/feeling, gets bad press as a sort insipid response to another’s misery. Yet we still send cards expressing our ‘Sympathies’ and commiseration. It is a light contact, but need not be insincere. There is understanding and a feeling for the person’s situation. It may be a situation which one has not undergone oneself and therefore we have to rely on our imagination. It may be a person we hardly know. And indeed, the circumstances may not need any more than our acknowledgement. The danger, of course, is not allow oneself to feel anything and yet feel it necessary to say something. Then the response may sound insincere and even judgemental.

Empathy, from the Greek em/in + pathos/feeling, suggests a deeper contact with the other’s suffering. And this will manifest in how we respond. But, as these definitions by the social psychologist C. Daniel Batson, who has researched empathy for decades, tells us; there are many types of ‘empathy’ (my comments in brackets):
  • Knowing another’s thoughts and feelings (a little intellectual?)
  • Imagining another’s thoughts and feelings (fabricated?)
  • Adopting the posture of another (play acting?)
  • Actually feeling as another does (I doubt this is really possible!)
  • Imagining how one would feel or think in another’s place (fabricated?)
  • Feeling distress at another’s suffering ( a unwholesome reaction?)
  • Feeling for another’s suffering, sometimes called pity or compassion (this sounds like conceit?)
  • Projecting oneself into another’s situation (another fabrication?).
None of these definitions really make it for me. I would say, understanding the Buddha’s use of words, that we feel the suffering of another as a resonance, an echo in one’s own heart.

However, we define empathy for ourselves that will affect how it manifests in compassionate action. Too much empathy can also distort our judgement, for instance we tend not to see the big picture. The tragedy of the little boy who fell down a well in Morocco became worldwide news, but every day 10,000 children die of hunger and hunger related causes.

I sat next to an old man on the bus and his face was badly scarred and bruised. I asked him what has happened. He said he was worrying about his rent and walked out into the road and got knocked down.

My possible replies:

Bad luck! Hope you don’t feel too run down. (Ha ha!)

Bad news. Well, that’s what happens when you worry! At least you weren’t killed!
I’m sorry to hear it, but you know the Citizen’s Advice Bureau can help you with money problems.

That’s terrible. I’m sorry to hear it, hope you heal quickly.

I’m saddened to hear that. It must have pretty terrible experience. How are you feeling now? Are you getting treatment? I hope your rent troubles get sorted. Hopefully it won’t be too long before you’re all healed up.

I’m saddened to hear that. It must have a pretty terrible experience. Are you healing OK? Are you getting help with the rent? Perhaps I can do something for you?

I’m sad to hear that. Listen I’ll get in touch with the Citizen’s Advice bureau and see if they can help with your rent.

The last is the ‘do-gooder’ who does the good they want to do to you, whether you want it or need it!

Hope I did comfort him.

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.


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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