BuddhaThe Philosophy

Satipatthana - the Way of Mindfulness - is a traditional Buddhist meditation training, also described as Skilful Means.

It is a way of cultivating an honest and clear awareness of who we are at a physical, emotional and mental level. Our tendencies and characteristics, our motives and intentions are identified as they arise in the present moment giving us the choice to either follow our habitual patterns or to let go of our conditioned ways of reacting and relating.

Through this process we gradually come to operate and live from a more wholesome - updated - place within. A place without needs to prove who we are, without the need to cling on to a particular sense of identity. A place of inner certainty and knowing, from which ease and contentment can flow into our daily life.

When we are truly relaxed, the mind can rest in its natural condition of spaciousness and all-encompassing wisdom.



sonia's hands sitting


The Training

Skilful Means is a training of the Body and the Mind. It is uncomplicated, down to earth and direct. It is acutely relevant to everyday life, and to anyone who wants to investigate how to live with less friction and discomfort within his or her environment, occupation and relationships.

The practice of Skilful Means is the greatest act of kindness to oneself and others as we come to see and understand the true nature of suffering.

The format of the training consists of residential workshops. They are tailored to give participants continuity and regularity of input, as well as personal guidance from Ad.
Participants are introduced to the means to deal more skillfully with the changes and uncertainties that life presents us.

As part of our practice we will attend to the patterns in the body as an important tool to ease the mind.

head of stone buddha

Wisdom and Loving-Kindness

Meditation Programme for 2020

with ad brugman



"Beyond the rightness and wrongness of things, there is a field. I will meet you there"


Having been confronted by the un-avoidable realities of impermanence, of suffering, of illness, old age and death, the Buddha started his quest towards “the cessation of suffering”.

In his teachings he is asking us to reflect on the effects of our actions of body, speech and mind, those of the past, present and future. They have consequences; it matters what we do.
Are they coming from a wholesome state of mind, leading to happiness, to ease of self and others? Or are they motivated by self-interest, leading to harm of self or others?

Our practice, on and off the cushion, is a path of constant investigation, of inquiry about our motivation and aspiration. Are my actions, my speech and my livelihood in alignment with my understanding, my values? What are my priorities?

Sati – Mindfulness is the indispensable factor for these investigations and for the development of wisdom and that of the skillful means of Loving Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity.

The renowned Thai meditation master Ajahn Chah defines Sati as follows:
“that which looks over the various factors which arise in meditation is “sati”, mindfulness. Sati is life. Whenever we don’t have sati, when we are heedless, it is as if we were dead. If we have no sati then our speech and actions have no meaning. Sati is simply presence of mind. It is a cause for arising of self-awareness and wisdom" .

In the Satipatthana Sutta the Buddha addressed his followers as follows: "This is the only way, O bhikkhus, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of awakening, namely, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness”.

Sati is a surrendering to and resting in the moment that presents itself at the time, fully and joyfully with lightness of heart and mind.

The practice of Sati - Mindfulness at The Orchard can be joined by whoever wishes to do so on their journey towards ease-fullness, joy and balance of mind and body.

Programme of Events at The Orchard in 2020

The philosophy and Training

Thursday 21st (6pm) - Sunday 31st (2pm) May
with Ad
Thursday 3rd (6pm) - Sunday 13th (2pm) Sept.
with Ad

Practice Days at The Orchard

February 22nd - 23rd, March 28th - 29th,
June 27th - 28th, July 25th - 26th, August 22nd - 23rd,
October 24th - 25th and November 21st - 22nd.

Retreats at the Orchard

Stillness in movement; movement in stillness

A four-day meditation and T’ai-Ji retreat
with Simon Michaels and Ad Brugman

Weds June 19th 5pm – Sun 23rd 3pm, 2019 at Herefordshire


When we develop tranquillity in meditation, we find that within the stillness there is movement; movement of the breath and the heart beating, movement in sounds and sights around us. Then, when we move mindfully, we can experience a sense of stillness in the movement.
After an orientation in Wednesday evening, the retreat will intersperse tranquillity meditation exercises with Tai J’I practice, and with quiet times for personal practice inside and outside.

Whilst his teaching is secular, Simon has been a committed meditation practitioner in the Buddhist tradition for over 20 years, and was ordained in 2017. He continues to study the subject intensively, and has been teaching mindfulness and meditation since 2011, with a focus on workplace stress reduction.

Ad started his T’ai-Ji training in 1975 in The Netherlands and has been studying under Chungliang Al Huang since 1991. His approach to T’ai-Ji is a unique blend of mindfulness meditation and T’ai-Ji as evolved over a period of more than 30 years’ experience as a meditation and t’ai-ji teacher in the UK and abroad.

Simon will lead the retreat and the meditation sessions, whilst Ad will guide the T’ai Ji sessions. This retreat is designed for those with some experience of meditation and mindfulness, not for complete beginners.



Cost for accommodation, food and teaching will be between £295 and £365 depending on numbers attending.

Secure your place with a deposit at

Cultivating Awareness and a Boundless Heart

"knowing where are you coming from"

Thursday 21st (6pm) - Sunday 31st (4pm) May
Thursday 3rd (6pm) - Sunday 13th (4pm) September


picture of "be still and know" In our actions of body, speech and mind, it is the motivation we bring, the vision we hold, the compass setting we choose to follow, that either leads to ease and happiness or to discomfort and conflict for self and others.

These retreats will follow a format providing space for participants to explore how to allow awareness and wisdom to develop naturally, emphasising the importance of non-doing; “to be still and know” as Thich Nhat Hanh invites us.

As soon as we relax our grasping, space is there for natural awareness, generous, open and inviting. “Nothing to want, nothing to force”.

These long retreats offer a sustained and continuous opportunity for “cultivating the good and purifying the mind”.
A time of loving-kindness towards oneself and others.

Participants need to have previous experience with the practice of mindfulness and be familiar with observing silence throughout the retreat.
Daily times in nature and bodywork sessions will be included in the programme.
Retreatants will have 1½ hour a day of karma yoga, a time for applied awareness and an opportunity to express generosity.

We aim to create a supportive space as possible enabling participants to fully engage with the practice without having other responsibilities. A server meditator will be available throughout offering practical support and guaranteeing a smooth running of the event. She or he will also take care of buying in the food and doing the cooking.

It will be possible to attend for shorter periods but to keep disruption to a minimum, that will only be possible at the beginning of the retreat.

Course fee:
For the full ten days retreat: £ 450
For shorter stays a sliding scale applies, e.g.: 5-days will cost £ 250; 3-days: £ 180

Fee includes accommodation and food. The teaching is given on the basis of dãna.

Practice days and weekends at The Orchard

Monthly practice weekends in 2020

Going for refuge in wisdom and a boundless heart

February 22nd - 23rd, March 28th - 29th,
June 27th - 28th, July 25th - 26th, August 22nd - 23rd,
October 24th - 25th and November 21st - 22nd.


“Wanting to grasp the ungraspable, you exhaust yourself in vain. As soon as you relax this grasping, there is space – open, inviting and comfortable”  (Gendun Rinpoche)

The Buddha taught us to “be islands unto ourselves, to be our own refuge, having no other”, not relying on the external world for our happiness and ease.

Going for refuge means going to a place we can rely on, we can trust, a place of safety and ease. These weekends offer an opportunity to find the true refuge within, to dwell with ease in the practice of wisdom and the skilful means of loving-kindness.

Whilst wisdom leads to a boundless heart, the cultivation of loving-kindness is a path leading to wisdom. They are like the two wings that allows the eagle to soar. Each weekend will therefore consist of integrating the practice of insight through mindfulness and the cultivation of the skilful means of the Brahma Viharas - loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.

These retreats offer a time of sharing the skilful means of gentleness, generosity, patience and loving-kindness towards ourselves and others.
There will be teaching sessions and guided meditations as well as times for rest and being in nature.

Each weekend starts at 9 am on the Saturdays and finishes at 4.30 pm on the Sundays.

Cost: no fee will be charged apart from £ 30 for overnight stays. Bring food to share plus dãna for the teaching and guidance.

These weekends are open to all levels of experience and offer an opportunity for newcomers to be introduced to this practice.

Personal Retreats

This is a time to be on one's own and to give oneself the conditions and permission to take refuge in the Practice in an uninterrupted way soDulas kuti that when it is time to "go back into the world", we will act in a more compassionate and skilful manner.

"A time of gentle watchfulness from the Sanctuary of "where we are coming from", a time to bow to the Here and the Now".

We'll also explore and experience the support and importance of the Sangha, the community of meditators practising together.

You can arrange any length of time for retreat, but minimum stay is 3 days. A personal programme will be discussed with you on arrival.

£25 per day for stays up to and including 7 days;
£20 per day from 8 up to 14 days
£15 per day from 15 days onwards
Special arrangements can be made for stays of a month or longer

Bring your own food and dãna for guidance by the teacher.

To book for a personal retreat, contact Ad at The Orchard


Reflections on Private Retreat, Amarana, Aug. '05

"After the outbreath a space opened. And the next inbreath comes out of that space, without any thoughts. When we meet ourselves in that space we can meet ourselves truly with openness.
The inbreath, if not coming from that wide-open empty space, can be dangerous as it then feeds the thinking mind.
We students are here at The Orchard in order to allow our "ego" - the opinion that we have of ourselves - to dissolve, to free ourselves from it so that the wide-open empty space can show itself to us and we can come to meet everything in a wholesome way.
We students are here at The Orchard to learn, to stand on our own feet, to become "MATURE".
You, Sonia, supports us with your strength and the clarity of knowledge of the liberating wholesome path".

The way of mindfulness - weekly classes
with Jane Sethi


jane sethi

Introductory sessions to mindfulness of the body and breathing through gentle body movement, walking and sitting meditation are held weekly on Wednesdays from 5 – 6.30pm at the Orchard. Cost: £5 per session.

Please contact Jane on or 07949 432555 for more information

Mindfulness is a way of being, a way of taking care of ourselves.
By gently bringing our awareness to the simplicity of the present moment, we can come to a place of stillness that can support us in our daily life.



water lily

Jane began practising meditation in 2000 when she first came to the Orchard and met Sonia Moriceau who became her meditation teacher. Over the years she has become increasingly involved at the Orchard, attending and supporting retreats, and has been resident there for the past few years. Last year she began to teach a weekly mindfulness class, deepening her own practice, and will continue to offer them in 2015.