Meditation

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 2021

with ad brugman

 

 

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

 

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 2021

With so much uncertainty it will be difficult to know for sure what The Orchard will be able to offer this year in terms of retreats.

As it stands there is unfortunately no guarantee that the events can go ahead as planned, especially the ones in March and April. 
Hopefully though the situation will have brightened up sufficiently come May. 
I will keep you updated throughout the year.


The philosophy and Training

Thursday 20th (6pm) - Thursday 27th (2pm) May
with Ad
Thursday 9th (6pm) - Thursday 16th (2pm) Sept.
with Ad


Practice Times at The Orchard

Sundays from 6 -6.30 (UK time) starting on Sunday 24th January
March 27th - 28th, April 24th - 25th,
June 26th - 27th, July 24th - 25th,
October 16th - 17th and November 20th - 21st.

Retreats at the Orchard

With so much uncertainty it will be difficult to know for sure what The Orchard will be able to offer this year in terms of retreats.
Hopefully though the situation will have brightened up sufficiently come May. 
I will keep you updated throughout the year.

 

Stillness in movement; movement in stillness

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


 

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.

Be grateful to everyone

Thursday 20th (6pm) - Thursday 27th (2pm) May
Thursday 9th (6pm) - Thursday 16th (2pm) September

picture of "be still and know"

The theme for these retreats, “be grateful to everyone”, is the title of a series of audio teachings by Pema Chödrön, an in-depth guide to the practice of Lojong which will be our main focus for this year’s retreats.

Lojong is a thorough Tibetan system of mind training and of awakening the compassionate heart through 59 pithy practices or slogans, such as “be grateful to everyone”.

In our exploration and practice of these slogans we will guided by the commentaries on the Lojong practice as given by Pema Chödrön* as well as by zen teacher Norman Fischer*.

The Lojong teachings invite us to see our difficulties and problems not as obstacles but as the raw material necessary for awakening genuine uncontrived compassion. “We start where we are”, making friends with who/what we are and developing trust in our awakened heart.

Some of you may remember that we worked with the slogans a few years ago. Listening recently to the audio teachings of Pema Chödrön I was struck again by how profound and nourishing these slogans are despite their challenging nature. Challenging yes, but creating at the same time a spacious and tender mind.

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering

Through the Lojong practice we direct our gaze inwards and look deeply with compassion into the root causes of our pains and our happiness and realising on a deep level that they are experiences we all share. By seeing the causes and their consequences clearly we can let go, get unstuck from our habitual patterns and views, lighten up and simultaneously awaken to the pain of others and open our innate compassionate heart.

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

The slogans are lifelong teachings and companions and I am looking forward to sharing them again this year with you.

I aim to create a supportive space as possible enabling participants to fully engage with the practice without having other responsibilities. I intend to have a server meditator 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 and with a minimum of three days and nights.

Course fee:
For the full seven days' retreat: £ 315
5-days will cost £ 250; 3-days: £ 180

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

Participants need to have previous experience with the practice of mindfulness and be familiar with observing silence throughout the retreat.

* You may find it helpful to introduce yourself to the Lojong teachings through either of the following books:
Norman Fischer: “Training in compassion – zen teachings on the practice of Lojong.
Pema Chödrön: “Start where you are”
They are both beautifully written and in an easy accessible language.

Weekly and Monthly Practice at The Orchard

Weekly meditation sessions via Zoom.
Sundays from 6 - 6.30pm (UK time).
Starting on Sunday 24th January.

 

If you would like to join these sessions, please let Ad know by email and he will post you the required ID and Password.

I am running these meetings free of charge as an offering of gratitude for the teachings I have received myself over the years.
If however you wished to give dana, I will receive that with gratitude.

Looking forward to seeing you.

 

 

water lily

 

Monthly practice weekends in 2021

As it stands there is unfortunately no guarantee that these events can go ahead as planned, especially the ones in March and April. 
Hopefully though the situation will have brightened up sufficiently come May. 
I will keep you updated throughout the year.

March 27th - 28th, April 24th - 25th,
June 26th - 27th, July 24th - 25th,
October 16th - 17th and November 20th - 21st.

"Starting where you are"

These weekends offer an opportunity to come back to our true home and dwell with ease in wisdom and loving-kindness. With gentleness, generosity, patience, loving-kindness and compassion we come to accept ourselves and others as “we are”.

As in the long retreats we will be guided by the Lojong teachings – a thorough system of mind training and of awakening the compassionate heart. The Lojong teachings introduce us to 59 pithy practices, or slogans and each weekend we will choose a few to explore in more depth so that we will be able to take them home as meaningful guides in our daily lives.

“Starting where we are” is the title of Pema Chödrön’s book on the teachings of Lojong and we will be guided by her commentaries on these ancient teachings.

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: £10 per day plus £20 for overnight stays.
The teachings are given on the basis of
dãna.

Participants will need to bring food to share.

The Practice 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.

Cost:
£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".

Weekly meditation sessions via Zoom.
Sundays from 6 - 6.30pm (UK time).
Starting on Sunday 24th January.

 

After having received the many positive responses to my offer to run meditation and t’ai-ji sessions via the zoom medium, I realised it would indeed be helpful for me to know beforehand who are interested in joining.
So, for those of you who are interested and haven’t yet done so, I would appreciate it if you could let me know. That way I can create group e-mails and send weekly invitations for the sessions only to those interested and not to everybody on my database.

NB: showing your interest does not mean that you have to join a particular meeting.

Some of you did ask about costs. I am running these meetings free of charge as an offering of gratitude for the teachings I have received myself over the years.
If however you wished to give dana, I will receive that with gratitude.

 

 

water lily