Final online meditation course of the year begins this week. Join us.
year's final 12 week session of the well-established online meditation
course from Vipassanā Fellowship 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.
is our 19th year of offering online courses and this session serves 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
The course begins on September 10th and ends on December 2nd. Application details and further information is available here:
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.
Meditation Reveals and Heals
By Thich Nhat Hanh
we sit in mindfulness both our body and mind can be at peace and total
relaxation, and this state of peace and relaxation differs fundamentally
from the lazy, semi-conscious state of mind that one gets while resting
and dozing, which is like sitting in a dark cave, far from being
mindful. In mindfulness we are not only restful and happy, but also
alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter
with reality. The person who practises mindfulness should be as awake as
the driver of a car: if he is not awake he will be possessed by
dispersion and forgetfulness, just as the driver who is not awake could
easily cause a grave accident. You should be as awake as a person who
walks on high stilts—any misstep could fling him to his death. You
should be like a mediaeval knight walking weaponless in a forest of
swords, or like a lion, going forward in slow, gentle and firm steps.
Only with this kind of vigilance can you realise total Awakening.
beginners, the method of pure recognition is recommended. I have said
that this recognition should be done without judgement: both feelings of
compassion and irritation should be welcomed, recognised and treated on
a absolutely equal basis, because both are us.
When we are
possessed by a sadness, an anxiety, a hatred, or a passion, or whatever,
we may find the method of pure observation and recognition difficult to
practise, in which case it is helpful to turn to the method of
Meditation on a Fixed Object, using our very state of mind as the
subject of meditation, as this meditation reveals and heals. The sadness
or anxiety, hatred, or passion, under the gaze of our concentration and
meditation, reveals its own nature. That revelation leads naturally to
healing and emancipation. The sadness, or whatever, having been the
cause of pain, can be used as a means of liberation from torment and
suffering. We call this using a thorn to remove a thorn. We should treat
our anxiety, our pain, our hatred and passion gently, respectfully, not
resisting it, but living with it, making peace with it, penetrating
into its nature by the meditation on interdependence. A thoughtful
practitioner knows how to select subjects of meditation that fit the
situation. Subjects of meditation like interdependence, compassion,
self, emptiness, non-attachment, all these belong to the categories of
meditation which have the power to reveal and to heal.
on these subjects, however, can only be successful if we have a certain
power of concentration. We get this power of concentration by the
practise of mindfulness in everyday life, by the observation and
recognition of all that is going on. The object of meditation should be a
reality that has real roots in yourselves; it can’t be just a subject
for philosophical speculation. It should be like a kind of food that
must be cooked for a long time over a hot fire. We put it in a pot,
cover it, and light the fire. The pot is ourselves and the heat used to
cook is the power of concentration. The fuel comes from the continuous
practise of mindfulness. Without enough heat the food will never be
cooked, but once cooked, the food reveals its true nature and helps lead
us to liberation.
Source: BPS, Sri Lanka, Wheel 234, 'The Miracle of Being Awake' (excerpt).
For free distribution only.
by John Andrew Storey
ingathering of crops—which in many countries gives rise to harvest
celebrations—is an occasion not only for rejoicing but for sober
reflection. At this time we are powerfully reminded that the law of
nature is that whatsoever seed a man sows, the harvest that he will reap
must be of like character to the seed. As in the vegetable kingdom, so
also in the life of man:
That which ye sow, ye reap. See yonder fields!
The sesamum was sesamum, the corn was corn.
The silence and the darkness knew!
So is man’s fate born.
So writes Sir Edwin Arnold in “The Light of Asia,” while in his poem “Childe Harold” Byron says:
The thorns which I have reaped are of the tree
I planted—they have torn me—and I bleed:
I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed.
thoughts as these are both arresting and sobering, and the harvest
unerringly brings them to mind. It is a source of regret when one has to
look back on past years when little, or even nothing, of true good is
to be shown as the net result of living—no fruit gathered, no harvest
stored. Worse still is to reap a bitter harvest from our own foolish
sowing. How true the old saying: “Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he
also reap.” How true the words of the old jingle:
Sow a thought, reap an act;
Sow an act, reap a habit;
Sow a habit, reap a character;
Sow a character, reap a destiny.
the glory of autumn is what has been well described as “the glory of
decay” this need not be a season of sadness. The decay appears to be but
a peaceful time in which nature rests, storing up strength for a fresh
output of energy when springtime comes round once more. Autumn is never
fully an end; for nature does not know the meaning of utter cessation
from movement and growth. In a way, this golden season is part of the
preparation for a new beginning. Those of us who live in the cooler
regions of the world cannot help looking ahead beyond the approaching
winter to the greening season of springtime and the colourful warmth of
summer. In the dark days of winter we can recall in gladness the wonder
of the good days that are now past, and then look ahead in hope to the
future. Such musings can lead us on from what Shelley speaks of as “the
deep, autumnal tone, sweet though in sadness,” and regard it as “the
trumpet of a prophecy” asking with him:
If winter comes, can spring be far behind?
Even autumn’s decay and winter’s sleep speak to us of the operation of the law.
… Nothing dies to die for good
In clay or dust, in stone or wood,
But only rests awhile to keep
Life’s ancient covenant with sleep.
Wheel turns, bringing each season in its time. Day gives place to
night, and night to day. Birth gives place to growth, growth to decay,
and decay to death, and in due course from that which seems to be dead
there springs forth new life again. So too does the Wheel turn for us,
mirroring nature in our lives. We sow our seeds of wisdom or folly, and
we reap our fruits of joy or despair. But beyond our present period of
sowing and reaping, beyond that “winter’s sleep” which will come to each
one of us, there is the promise of a new beginning, for, “as when the
day’s work is ended, night brings the benison of sleep, so death is the
ending of a larger day, and in the night that follows, every man finds
rest, until he returns to fresh endeavour and to labours new.”
Source: BPS, Sri Lanka, BL66, 'The Twin Pillars' (excerpt).
For free distribution only.