The Active Contemplative Life
Satipanya depends on an economy of dana – freely given offerings.
Generosity is usually expressed in financial gifts.
But donating time as service is also dana.
The Buddha said, ‘Whatever a teacher can do out of compassion for his students, I have done for you.’
After his awakening, the Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching.
Service then is part of the path. It comes into Right Action and Right Livelihood. It is an opportunity to manifest Right Understanding, through Right Attitude into action, kamma.
Such action reinforces our wisdom and makes the heart grow in love, compassion, joy, equanimity and other social virtues.
How we manage Satipanya
The Co-ordinators listed below take responsibility: Household, Applications, Property and IT.
Every course needs an resident Assistant to come and mainly cook.
On occasion we ask local members to come and help out.
See below for details.
An opportunity to develop the virtues that arise with service and time to meditate.
Please Note: An assistant must have been on a retreat at Satipanya. It may be possible also if you have been on a vipassana retreat elsewhere.
It is important the Assistants come also as retreatants.
All the retreats need someone to come and look after the meditators and to be of assistance to the teacher. So it is important to be able to speak English well enough to address individuals and the group.
As the assistant, you would
- service the retreats.
- greet meditators and settle them in.
- set out the breakfast in the morning and take care of the porridge and toast.
- cook the food for noon lunch.
All the menus are set and very simple to cook. There are clear instructions so there is no need to be an expert cook!
Most of the work such as preparing the vegetables and salads for lunch, washing dishes will be done by meditators during the work period.
- set out biscuits for afternoon tea and fill water boiler.
- there may be other small duties from time to time which the retreatants have not been able to cover.
Although the amount of time on duties may vary from day to day, most days it would be around three hours.
- You are asked to come the day before or before lunch on the start day so you can familiarise yourself with the kitchen. On the start day, you will have to receive the Tesco order and cook the soup for the evening meal and be ready to receive meditators as they arrive in late afternoon. This sounds a lot, but remember there are only 8 or 9 people.
- If you can stay on until after midday on the last day, that would be very helpful as there is always a lot of clearing up to do.
Important Request: Please come with the attitude to do things the way we do them. To follow the recipes faithfully. This is a teaching for many. 'To put aside what I want to do and do as others do.' This is how a group of Arahats lived peacefully.
To take full advantage of this opportunity, do come with the intention of making a silent retreat.
Please note: As an assistant, you do not have to pay the deposit or offer a donation because you have generously offered your time.
So any further donation is entirely in your gift.
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 decide to service one of the retreats, check the calendar for vacancy and go through the usual Booking procedure.
Mark became interested in Buddhism and Satipanya 2011. He began practising and spent two years as the Facilitator - 2013/14.
Mark orders the food and meets with the assistant when they arrive to familiarise them with procedures and recipes. He is available for advice and guidance.
Mark Blaxland has also an overall role. He can sit in for Marion and Andy if needed.
Co-ordinator for Applications
Marion's involvement with Buddhism and meditation arose from her Hatha yoga practice in the early 80's. On seeing the Dalia Lama in Coventry Cathedral in 1984, she attended a local meditation group, which was among those to support The Forest Hermitage and Luang Por Khemadhammo in Warwickshire. Since then, Marion has been on retreats at Amaravati and The Place of Peace Dhamma House as well as Satipanna.
Her working life has been in industry and commerce and she is now retired, living in the Shropshire hills, 10 miles from Satipanya.
Marion is processing applications.
Co-ordinator for Gardens and Meadows
I’m a newcomer to formal Buddhist practice, after being invited to develop the gardens at Satipanya . I have had a long-standing interest in Eastern Philosophy since childhood, perchance reading, ‘The way of Zen’ by Alan Watts, in my teens.
I was trained and became a professional Gardener over 20 years ago, traveling and always “searching” for my ‘Way’
I’m now grateful and delighted to have been introduced to
The Buddha, The Dharma and The Sanga by Bhante at Satipanya.
I am presently helping to develop the garden and grounds for the benefit of meditators and wildlife alike.
Co-ordinator for IT and Webmaster
A team of local helpers are available to be called upon to help in various way: cooking, cleaning, helping the gardener and so on.