June 2018  -  Meditation Newsletter

from Vipassanā Fellowship

"There will come a time when communication will be instantaneous, but people will have nothing to say.”

- Kierkegaard

Meditation Newsletter

Flower image by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash


Our summer online meditation course begins on the 16th June. We hope you'll join us.


Vipassanā Fellowship's meditation course has been offered online for over 20 years.


The course runs for 10 weeks and our next session begins on June 16th 2018. It is a great way to explore the joy of a steadily developing meditation practice. Do join us.


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 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.


Meditation can be joyful! It is sometimes approached as a heartless, mechanical, activity - a daily chore to be endured at all costs through gritted teeth.This is simply the wrong approach. On this course we take the middle way and integrate what might be called both "heart" and "head" practices directly from the advice given in the Pāli Canon.


The course offers daily material for each of the 10 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 June 16th and ends on August 24th. Application details and further information is available here:




2018 Courses Announced



Each month our Parisā 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. Parisā is a dispersed community of dedicated meditators around the world who have come together through engaging in one of Vipassanā Fellowship's 10 or 12 week meditation courses. If you recently finished one of our courses this is an excellent way to nurture your ongoing practice.




The Thorn in the Flesh & the Thorn in the Heart


Once there lived twelve monks in a forest, devoted to meditative effort. One day when at sunset the gong had been sounded, one of the monks, an Elder, had left the ambulatory and, for shortening the way, he went across a grassy patch. A thorn hidden in the grass pierced the sole of his foot. The thorn was very long and sharply pointed, and caused severe pain as if a heated iron rod had pierced the foot.


The Elder thought to himself: “Now, shall I pull out this thorn or that other thorn that constantly pierces our heart?”


And he thought further: “When pierced by an external thorn, there is no fear of falling into the states of woe; but there is such danger from that other thorn that always hurts us inwardly.”


So he ignored the pain and, walking the whole night up and down on the ambulatory, he did his meditation.


At daybreak he gave a sign to a monk who passed. When that monk came near and asked him what he wanted, he said: “A thorn has hurt me, friend.”


“When did it happen, venerable sir?”


“Last evening, friend.”


“But why did you not call, venerable sir? We would have come and extracted the thorn and treated the wound with oil.”


“I have striven, friend, to pull out that other thorn that constantly hurts us deep within.”


“And did you succeed, venerable sir?”


“Partly, friend.”


Source: BPS Wheel 59 (excerpt), Kandy, Sri Lanka. Translated by Nyanaponika Thera from the Commentary to the Samyutta Nikāya. For free distribution only.


Truth Within


Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise

From outward things, whate’er you may believe.

There is an inmost centre in us all

Where truth abides in fullness; and around,

Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,

This perfect, clear perception—which is truth.

A baffling and perverting carnal mesh

Binds it, and makes all error: and to know

Rather consists in opening out a way

Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,

Than in effecting entry to a light

Supposed to be without.


Source: From 'Paracelsus' by Robert Browning

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Image: Flower photo by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash (edited for this newsletter)

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