August 2016 Meditation Newsletter from Vipassanā Fellowship

"There is a relationship between silence and faith. The sphere of faith and the sphere of silence belong together. Silence is the natural basis on which the super-nature of faith is accomplished." - Max Picard

Meditation Newsletter
Water offering


Just a few weeks until our next online course

A recent participant from India wrote:

"To say Thank-you would be totally inadequate... I have learned so much over the past months and also realized that theres so much more to learn... This was a wonderful course."


Vipassanā Fellowship's next 12 week session of the well-established online meditation course begins on September 10th and registration for standard places is available. The course is an opportunity to learn to meditate or to refresh and deepen an existing practice. We focus on developing a fruitful and sustainable meditation practice inspired by over 2,500 years of tradition but appropriate for today's lives in many cultural contexts. Many people have found it to be an inspiring and supportive way to begin a new year of practice.

The courses have been offered since 1997 and serve as a practical introduction to samatha (tranquillity or serenity) and vipassanā (insight) techniques. Intended primarily for beginners - of any faith or none - the course is also suitable for experienced meditators who wish to explore different aspects of the tradition. The emphasis is on building a balanced meditation practice that is compatible with home life.

The course offers daily material for each of the 12 weeks, interaction between participants and support from the tutor. Participants also have access to audio guided meditations and chants to support the text. The course will be led by UK based meditation teacher Andrew Quernmore, a meditator with more than 35 years' experience.

The course begins on September 10th and ends on December 2nd. Application details and further information is available here:




Each month our Parisa members focus on a particular topic from the tradition. Over the year we cover practical meditation, cultural background and philosophical topics to help nourish our ongoing daily meditation practice. Parisa is a dispersed community of dedicated meditators around the world who have come together through engaging in one of Vipassana Fellowship's 12 week meditation courses.


Freedom Within


Freedom Within

By Sayadaw U Pandita


NEW BOOK - Freedom Within: Liberation teachings on the Satipatthana meditation practice.

Sayadaw U Pandita, the renowned Burmese meditation master, passed away earlier this year. We're pleased to make available the latest book with valuable teachings drawn from his meditation retreats in the USA.

"The taste of food can be experienced on the tongue when we eat, as we chew the food, grind it with our teeth and come to know whether the taste is sweet, sour, bitter, hot or salty.

For close accurate observation of bodily acts, ardent and brisk effort must be applied, continuously, and without delay. Continued application of energy is necessary for repeated observation of the object, so that the mind reaches the object in time. One shouldn’t be cool or casual in noting and must apply energy continuously, so that sati is firmly established on the object.

Developing steadfast mindfulness is necessary for correct, distinctive and complete observation, for knowledge to arise, and knowing (sampajañña) becomes possible when ardent effort is exerted, continuously. When effort is aligned, sati sticks to the object, the mind does not wander. When the mind is collected, one comes to know the true nature present at that time. "

Freedom Within is available as a free download in PDF format here:




By Thich Nhat Hanh


Someone might well ask: Is relaxation then the only goal of meditation? In fact the goal of meditation goes much deeper than that. While relaxation is the necessary point of departure, once one has realised relaxation, it is possible to realise a tranquil heart and clear mind. To realise a tranquil heart and clear mind is to have gone far along the path of meditation.

We should remember that the mindfulness of one’s breath is a wondrous method at all times. It isn’t only a method for beginners. In the third century, Zen Master Tang Höi wrote in his commentary on the Anapanasati Sutta: “The mindfulness of one’s breath is Buddha’s great vehicle to save all beings caught in the cycle of birth and death.” Measuring, following and taking hold of the breath are the wondrous methods to take hold of your own mind.

Of course, to take hold of our minds and calm our thoughts, we must also practise mindfulness of our feelings and perceptions. To take hold of your mind, you must practise mindfulness of the mind. You must know how to observe and recognise the presence of every feeling and thought which arises in you. Zen Master Thuong Chieu, near the end of the Ly dynasty, wrote: “If the practitioner knows his own mind clearly he will obtain results with little effort. But if he does not know anything about his own mind, all of his effort will be wasted.” If you want to know your own mind, there is only one way: to observe and recognise everything about it. This must be done at all times, during your day to day life no less than during the hour of meditation.

During meditation, various feelings and thoughts may arise. If we do not practise mindfulness of the breath, these thoughts will soon lure us away from mindfulness. But the breath isn’t simply a means by which to chase away such thoughts and feelings. Breath remains the vehicle to unite body and mind and to open the gate to wisdom. When a feeling or thought arises, one’s intention should not be to chase it away, even if by continuing to concentrate on the breath the feeling or thought passes naturally from the mind. The intention isn’t to chase it away, hate it, worry about it or be frightened by it. So what exactly should one be doing concerning such thoughts and feelings? Simply acknowledge their presence. For example, when a feeling of sadness arises, immediately recognise it: “A feeling of sadness has just arisen in me.” If the feeling of sadness continues, continue to recognise “A feeling of sadness is still in me.” If, for example, a thought like ’It’s late but the neighbours are sure making a lot of racket,’ appears, recognise that this thought has appeared. If the thought continues to exist, continue to recognise it. If a different feeling or thought arises, recognise it in like manner. The essential thing is not to let any feeling or thought arise without recognising it in mindfulness, like a palace guard who is aware of every face that passes through the front corridor.

If there are no feelings or thoughts present, then recognise that there are no feelings of thoughts present. Practising like this is to be mindful of one’s feelings and thoughts. By practising in this way, you will soon arrive at taking hold of your mind. One can join the method of mindfulness of the breath with the mindfulness of feelings and thoughts.


Source: BPS, Sri Lanka, Wheel 234, 'The Miracle of Being Awake' (excerpt).

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