June Newsbyte

May NEWSBYTE 2022

 

Trust all is well!


All Past Tips


For calendar and assistant opportunities, see below.

Tip o' the Day

Neoliberalism and Buddhadhamma
See below

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SUMMER MAHASI
See Below
Assistant Needed!

 Retreats 07 & 08    
Fri. 29 July - Saturday 13 August
Also places still available in the first month.
(see below)

FULL MOON CELEBRATION
NB Change of date to Sunday 19 June

COVID
Covid infection rates are still high. For most, it will be a like a flu, but some will die and some will suffer long term effects.

So we still ask everyone to take a rapid covid test before their journey to Satipanya, and not to come if the test is positive. Your deposit will be refunded. This is to protect Bhante, Noirin or other teacher, as the retreat would have to be closed if the teacher were infected.

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've written my first essay in a long time on Neoliberalism. It will have its flaws, but I hope it gets people thinking.

I went to teach at Gaia House with Carl and Hui. (Hui Hui Ng, whom some of you know, is now training to be a teacher. Sadhu!!!) It was sad to see how Covid had affected the grounds. There simply wasn't the staff nor the great amount of yogis who come on retreat to keep up the flower beds and the Walled Garden, so full of vegetables. It will take time to get it back to its former splendour, though the wild flower beds are glorious just as they are.

I then went to teach in Ireland at a place called An Tobar, The Well. A very large pond and the centre in full bloom. All the rooms en suite! One up on Satipanya!
Returned on Wednesday and off again to Italy in a week. 

Noirin is now fully in charge. What a blessing! The assistant who was to come, Sally, fell ill with Covid and Noirin cooked. We do have a fall back which is written into the Application Form that should there be no Assistant, the yogis would take it turn to cook. That has not been needed so far and hopefully never will be.

Announcements

Zoom Study Group:  This collaborative study group has evolved out of the fortnightly London and South East Satipanya Sangha which has been meeting via Zoom since the beginning of the Covid outbreak.  We are currently studying the Satipatthana Sutta , as set out by Joseph Goldstein in his 46 part discussion on the Dharma Seed site and in his book Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening. We are currently studying the section on  The Five Hindrances .  We intend to continue this group on Zoom and warmly extend an invitation to any practitioner who would like to join us. Currently meeting alternate Sundays 10:30am - midday. Please contact satipanya-lse@genko.co.uk for further information.

Daily Life Course:  This year's course focuses on the Five Aggregates of Clinging - looking at what gives us our sense of identity and whether we cling too tightly. Anyone who joined a retreat at Satipanya is eligible. The first run of the 6-week course starts in May and uses the Satipanya forum with notes and exercises given by Noirin. Contact  Noirin  for further information or if you wish to register.

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.

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 .

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 Jun – Sun 26 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  Elaine Marshall-Bradley
         Retreats 03 & 04      Grace White
      Retreats 05 & 06      Hui Hui Ng
               Retreats 07 & 08      Assistant needed
    Retreats 09/10        Jim Tibby
                Retreats 11/12            Graham Collins

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: satipanna@gmail.com

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: satipanna@gmail.com

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
 

Schedules

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

Neoliberalism and Buddhadhamma

Bhante Bodhidhamma

I don’t pretend to know anything about economics as such. This is an ethical critique of Neoliberalism, not an economic one. There has been the success of globalisation and enormous industrial output, innovation and the lifting of living standards for some. But at what cost? I centre on some of the destructive consequences. I hope you will be encouraged to do your own research. There is a lot of literature and YouTube videos. I would be grateful for any corrections and constructive comments.

The ideology
First of all, it is important to understand that the economic system we have been under for the past 40 years is Neoliberalism, which is a type of free-market capitalism and that Neoliberalism is an ideology – a view of the human condition and a consequent set of principles that go to form a policy and a belief it will bring a bright future towards which everyone is heading.  Consider the other secular ideologies of the last century – Communism and National Socialism.

The problem with ideologies is that they are mental constructs, not grounded in present moment reality. They distort the present to fit the future goal. So an ideology at its very conception, has ‘the seeds of its own destruction’ (Ironically, Karl Marx said this of Capitalism.) At some point, there is bound to be such a dis-location that the system begins to falter and collapse. That has been happening to Neoliberalism, especially from the economic collapse of 2008.

The Buddha did not fashion a Buddhism, a Buddhist ideology. There is no Shangri la we are heading towards. Nibbana is not a place! Such conceptual thinking was not developed anyway in a pre-literate culture. He taught the principles and ethics to liberate ourselves from unsatisfactoriness and to create a harmonious society. The Dhamma, the Teaching, is grounded on the understanding of the human realm as Samsara, where acquisitiveness, aversion and delusion will always be at play. And that our struggle will be to act from the motivations of love, compassion, joy and peacefulness. The Buddha himself was liberated from dukkha [1] , living in the inner freedom of Nibbana within the world of Samsara.

Basic Attitude – Me versus everyone else
At the centre of Neo-liberalism is the Market. This has to be given free reign and everyone must work towards being an active member, an entrepreneur.
The fundamental driving attitude that motives the whole Market is the accumulation of money. For with money, you can get anything you want. And this promotes a basic attitude of greed and selfishness. [2]
 
Western culture is especially driven by the concept of the individual self, of personal exceptionalism, celebrated by Margaret Thatcher, ‘there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families.’ (my italics) This self-centredness expresses itself as ‘I should have what I want when I want it.’ [3]
Neoliberalism understands the role of acquisitiveness as the evolutionary force.
In Oliver Stone’s Movie Wall Street, 1987, villain Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) says:
The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good.
Greed is right.
Greed works.
Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.
Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind.
 
It is a form of Social Darwinism that supports ‘unrestricted competition’.
Everything is up for grabs and people do not have any birth right to society’s wealth. You have to compete for it. The winner takes all.
Darwin actually said:
‘It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change’. That means a creative response to the ever-changing present moment reality. The first hominids did not have a futuristic ideology leading them to homo sapiens.
 
The Buddha taught us to be responsive to change in an ethical and moral way; to acknowledge our inter-dependency; to develop caring relationships.
 
A society is not just a collection of individuals. The whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. A society is also a comm-unity.
 
The role of acquisitiveness.
 
Acquisitiveness fosters and operates best in a Market of Competitors.
Industrial competition need not be a bad thing. It can lead to greater efficiency and invention. Even war propels efficiency and invention – WWII produced jet engines, radar and, of course, the computer! But in war time, people pull together in a common cause within the society against a common enemy. But for Neoliberalism the common enemy is everyone else! We need to battle against each other for a share of the market in an Antagonistic Competition. ( Hostile Takeovers ).

In academia , many scientists will be working on a project. They share their discoveries and at some point there is a breakthrough, a discovery. They are not motivated by power or money, though some may covet the Noble Price. They are driven by interest in the scientific investigation and the possibility of new discovery or invention. It engenders a Collaborative Competition.
However, here rival competition reaches down to every individual. We are to be individual entrepreneurs who must make their own way against everyone else. And since everyone is in competition with everyone else, the other is a rival at best, an enemy at worst.

As for employees , they do not have any rights as such but must negotiate with the employer. Competition between workers determine that those who cost less will get the work. The lower the pay, the better for the Market since profit will be greater for those who own the assets – the rentiers. In this way, the Gig economy supports the race to the bottom.– ‘a competitive situation where a company, state, or nation attempts to undercut the competition's prices by sacrificing quality standards or worker safety (often defying regulation), or reducing labour costs’ [4] .

What those individuals who fail in the market of jobs, the unemployed? They have only themselves to blame. The Market is open to all. It is up to the individual to work for a piece of it. In this way, inequality is justified. As little as possible is to be spent on the caring services.

So wealth inevitably accumulates to those who can successfully play the Market. Depending on the role an individual has in the Market, Wealth is supposed to ‘trickle down’ to everyone. But, in fact, it overflows upwards. [5] [6]

And what of those who cannot participate in the ‘Market Place’ – the ‘unemployable’, the many physically and mentally sick and the old. They are draining money from the Market which could be used for greater profit.

Indeed, all Welfare, any Government or Charitable effort towards the basic physical and material well-being of people in need (those who have failed to be successful entrepreneurs), will undermine the entrepreneurial spirit of competition and so should be greatly limited.  

What is more, any framework of social care will be at the expense of those who have accumulated wealth, which is not ‘fair’. So, taxes should be kept at the bare minimum.

The only way, then, to sustain social services is to privatise.

As for Governments , they are not to interfere but let Market Forces have their sway. Therefore, there should be few regulations if any. However, when businesses and banks collapse (too big to fail), Governments should come to their aid since a collapse of the Market will harm everyone. We know how criminally greedy the Banks have been, yet no-one has been prosecuted. Why should this surprise us. The market supports greed.

Hence this basic attitude of acquisitiveness, of greed, prevents a ‘society of individuals’ from establishing a sense of community. A Neoliberal Society destroys any commitment to Commonwealth.

And what of the rich and super rich. They must now guard their accumulated wealth. They donate heavily to Political Parties who support Neoliberalism. Any sign of opposition such as XR Rebellion, Green Peace or any organisation working to undermine the destruction of the planet, must be curtailed and hobbled by legislation and if possible banned. The ‘society of free individuals’ becomes more repressive as the inequality and injustices of Neoliberalism become more dominant. [7]

Why is it most people don’t realise that Neoliberalism is an ideology. Most people are not even familiar with the word. Unlike Communism and National Socialism, it was never publicly and widely named. It entered as economic operational tool. At first it did lift the economy. But instead of the profits going back into industry and welfare, it gathered into assets – the process of financialisation. A simple example is shareholding. A person buys shares to ‘earn’ from the profits of the company. What goes to the shareholders is, therefore, not re-invested into the company. The more the profits go to shareholders, the less there is for the workers. Indeed, anyone who owns something can charge for its use. Hence the rentier capitalism. Rentiers don’t do anything. They don’t make anything. There are no laws that govern how much they can profit and how much needs to be put back into the real economy of goods and services.

Why do we so willingly support Neoliberalism? Consumerism has been with us for a long time. However, now with the enormous growth of industry, goods are cheap enough for many to have what they want. The advertising industry fools us into thinking that excitement is the same as happiness. But excitement is indulgence. We are ensnared by greed. The more we buy, the more we want to buy.
 
Finally, why is it so difficult for Neoliberalism to respond to climate crisis? As greed works in the individual so does it work in the corporate. Greed by definition is insatiable. It is a monster that demands feeding even if it causes its own destruction. (Investigative Eating)

Buddhadhamma

The role of Mindfulness and the abuse of staff.
The rich and powerful who gather at Davos for World Economic Forum that seeks to put the world aright through Neoliberal measures. The participants, business and political leaders, were delighted to hear about Mindfulness. Now they could tell stressed employees to undergo a Mindfulness and Stress Reduction Course. All they needed to do was sit quietly in some corner and deal with it. Their mental states and illnesses were not the responsibility of the company. They can now learn to cope.

This wonderful gift that the Buddha gave us to bring all our suffering and discontent to an end is being used by a world economic system which is fundamentally evil. Evil, the Dhamma teaches, is that which draws us into the world of sensual pleasure as the only happiness worth seeking. The world of Mara, the Tempter, of Samsara, the ever-ongoing unsatisfactoriness and suffering that world of Excitement, of Sensual Pleasure, ultimately offers! Exactly what the Buddha was trying to free us from! Exactly what the Buddhadhamma, the teaching and the practice is trying to liberate us from.
 
What then can we do?
A system that is based on greed and antagonistic competition, creating individual entrepreneurs, each vying with one another to get a share of the wealth, has no duty of care for citizens, especially those unable to enter the market. It destabilizes social cohesiveness, leading to more crime and more physical and mental illness

How can we, each of us tiny, almost powerless individuals do?
Consumerism : Be aware that every time we act as consumers, every time we buy something, we may be supporting the satanic factories of Bangladesh, Cambodia and even China. That we are putting even more pennies into the treasure chests of the 1%.

How we get rid of our depression and anxiety. Retail therapy, holidays
Developing the attitude of contentment. Not so much to get what we want, but be grateful for what we have.

The rediscovery of the deep joy of generosity. If we are talking about the joy of interconnectedness, of friendliness, of a caring society, have you noticed that the joy of caring for your self lasts a while. You feel good about yourself.

But have you noticed that when you give to others – wealth, time, care, the joy remains much longer.

"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared, if there were someone to receive their gift. But because beings do not know, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they eat without having given. The stain of miserliness overcomes their minds." Iti 26
 
The joy in life is immense, but we undermine it because we have barricaded ourselves in this little castle we call the self. Me!

We must struggle to convert the me to we. Sounds glib. But that’s the way.

 And it is when the attitude change that a new way of running the economy will rise. And that way has to be pragmatic, guided by the attitudes of love, compassion, joy and peace. But I dare we will end up with yet another ideology. More and more unnecessary suffering. But then that’s samsara.
 
Excellent articles:

Neoliberalism - the ideology at the root of all our problems. George Monbiot

Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us Paul Verhaeghe

 
Secularising Buddhism Edit. R Payne How do secular values impact Buddhism in the modern world? What versions of Buddhism are being transmitted to the West? Is it possible to know whether an interpretation of the Buddha’s words is correct? See especially, Secular Buddhism in a Neoliberal Age, Ron Purser
 
The Psychological Roots of the Climate Crisis , Sally Weintrobe shows how the wealthy nurtured the Concept of Neoliberalism through Right Wing Think Tanks and captured the Republicans and ultimately the Conservatives in UK and how Neoliberalism has created an uncaring society.
 
 
A Brief History of Neoliberalism , David Harvey, a Marxist philosopher , shows how the wealth and power moved away from the working classes to the rich and powerful. Many of the gains of the working classes since WWII have been lost in the Gig Economy.
 
[1] Dukkha usually translated as unsatisfactoriness, but also suffering, even stress.
[2] 1 Paul - Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
[3] Amazon spent billions to make sure it had the fastest delivery. The faster the gratification, the more people will buy from you than your competitors. ‘I should have what I want when I want it. And I should have it now !’
 
[4] The most recent example of this is when P&O Ferries that sail across the Channel sacked  800 workers. The most recent example of this is when P&O Ferries that sail across the channel sacked  800 workers. The holding company in Dubai blamed yearly losses of £100 million, yet paid shareholders £270m dividend. They went on to hire staff at lower wages.
[5] According to the  Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report , the world’s richest 1 percent, those with more than $1 million, own 45.8 percent of the world’s wealth.
 
[6]
Global Wealth Inequalities
[7] See recent legislation on holding marches -   Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill  was passed on April 26 on restrictions on people’s liberty to protest.
Part 3 of the Act gives police forces broad authority to place restrictions on protests and public assembly. Under previous UK legislation, police must show that a protest may cause "serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community" before imposing any restrictions. Under this Act, police forces will be allowed to place restrictions on protests they believe would otherwise constitute an existing offence of public nuisance, including imposing starting and finishing times and noise limits, and will be able to consider actions by one individual as "protests" under provisions of the Act. Protestors disobeying such instructions from the police may be committing a criminal offence.  Wikipedia (my italics)
 
 

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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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