March Newsbyte

MARCH NEWSBYTE 2023

Trust all is well!


 


All Past Tips


For calendar and assistant opportunities, see below.

Tip o' the Day

Even in the worst of times,
'we just follow circumstance'.

Bhante Bodhidhamma

see below

 

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FULL MOON OBSERVANCE
Next Sun. March 05

Practice in Ordinary Daily Life (PODL) Course
Sun. Mar. 05: Day Retreat – Sun. a.m. : Mar.12 am: Sharing
Last chance to join!

"I managed to meditate every day of the following week and found I had more peace, calmness and positivity in my day to day life." — A.
"Practicing in daily life is more difficult than on retreat, due to all the distractions, so this retreat gave a controlled setting to explore this." — T.
"This was a new and, in the end, very helpful way of meditating and it definitely had an effect in my daily life." — D.

Diary

The Buddha is said to have been awoken to his task by four Heavenly Messengers; Sickness, Ageing, Death and an ascetic — suggesting an escape. Recently I had a taste of the first. I had gone to the doctor with back problems. He inspected the spine and saw what he called an 'ugly duckling' mole. On further inspection and a consequent excision (cut out), it was discovered to be a melanoma - such a beautiful name for a killer mole! Luckily it was on the surface of the skin. This is my first brush with cancer. Who knows what my ageing body has in store for me. Needless to say I found the occasion an awakener, a gentle reminder! 
 
The PODL  course was again well attended. I am still hoping all the rest who signed up will appear, and others too.

Noirin is now on personal retreat till mid-March. She will continue with her Tips about Climate Crisis then. My own Tip this month arises out of the group's ongoing investigation into Climate Crisis and how we should respond. See below:  Opening to the Impact of the Climate Emergency

Announcements

Northwest area Satipanya Sangha: Anyone living in the northwest, particularly in Chester, Manchester, Liverpool and surrounding areas who would like to explore options for practicing together please contact Martin Ratcliffe who hopes to form a local group.

Opening to the Impact of the Climate Emergency:   Following on from the Zoom with Gwen Sanderson and Bhante Bodhidhamma in September, there are two options for ongoing engagement:
  • Gwen Sanderson is facilitating monthly Climate and Dhamma Conversations which are held using Zoom . Email Gwen for further information or to register. 
  • Noirin Sheahan has set up a Satipanya Forum focussing on the Six Maxims (ethical training to prepare for the social and environmental consequences of climate change - see tip below). Contact Noirin for further info or to register.  

Zoom Study Group:  This collaborative study group has evolved out of the fortnightly London and South East Satipanya Saṅgha which has been meeting via Zoom since the beginning of the Covid outbreak.  We are currently studying the Satipaṭṭhāna 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 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 [email protected] for further information. (By the way, please try again if you've emailed to attend and haven't received anything back, Carl has been particularly busy lately.)

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  [email protected]

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.

Satipanya Courses

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.

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?

See calendar on website for up-to-date assistant need.

Satipanya Calendar 2023

Make sure you diary the date when applications can be received
for the retreat you want to attend.

Bhante's Away Calendar

We just follow circumstance.

Bhante Bodhidhamma

‘We Just follow circumstance.’

I came across this saying from Dōgen Zenji, the founder of Japanese Sōtō Zen.

“When the world ends, and the fires blaze unobstructed through everything, and all falls to ruin, we just follow circumstance.” (Kinder Smith)

There are two possible ways in which we, all life in fact, could fall to ruin by fire at this present time – thermonuclear war and climate crisis.

We have seen from massive earthquakes, most recently the devastation in Turkey and Syria, what the consequences are. Immediate death, long term physical pain and anguish and eventual death, disabled for life and lives filled with grief and despair. And the possible aftermath of political instability and social turmoil.

In such a scenario, will we be able to ‘just follow circumstance’. At first this phrase may seem too cool to be true, even callous. Does it mean we have to harden our hearts, stay aloof and save ourselves.

Or might that circumstance expand beyond its tight self-centred circumference to embrace the full surround of impact on others.  

That can only arise from a fearless total acceptance, ‘this is the circumstance now’, the total circumstance of myself and others in this situation, recognising that collaborative effort will produce the best results for everyone. And to mourn shared loss together most healing. In encompassing others, we lose the suffering of self-obsession. In its most exemplary expression to give up one’s life for another.

That is a hard ask for the self will be consumed with self-preservation. The more we identify with this human form, the more will the circumference tighten around us. But this will not release us from the fear and despair. Worse, it will magnify it. The self will stand exposed to its essential existential loneliness. Unable to bear the suffering, the self becomes the very fires it seeks to escape. This is the Hell Realm.

Is there an alternative? An escape? A refuge?

There is an even deeper circumference within us of a different kind, one that cannot be breached. No matter what fires burn within us or outside us once accessed we find ourselves insulated and yet able to ‘follow circumstance’. Both fully aware and mindful, engaged fully in the surrounding situation, we discover the Unshakeable Heart.

This is the purpose of our practice: to discover and experience over and over until we settle permanently into that intuitive awareness, Satipanya.
 
 

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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  Gwen Sanderson
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:  [email protected]

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