What we offer
The Samatha buddhist meditation techique has its roots in the Buddhist Theravadin tradition.
This form of Samatha breathing mindfulness meditation (anapanasati) was introduced to England in 1962 by Nai Boonman, a Thai meditation teacher.
Samatha means calm. Samatha meditation is an effective but gentle way of training the mind to develop inner strength and freedom from turmoil. This produces a happier and more unified state of mind, leading on to clarity and understanding. This path from calm to insight (samatha to vipassana) was followed by the Buddha himself and is a central tradition of Buddhist meditation.
By regular daily practice the chattering, unruly mind gradually becomes calmer and clearer. The way our mind works becomes less confusing to us and we begin to understand the habits of mind that hold us back from happiness and freedom. We become kinder to ourselves and those around us. Meditation is a practical matter: increased peace and awareness bring an ability to make the most of ourselves in our daily lives.
There are many kinds of Samatha meditation technique. This one is based on attention to the breath. Its form is particularly suitable for those looking for a way to develop meditation practice and the benefits it can bring, whilst continuing with the challenges of everyday life.
Samatha meditation is given freely to anybody wishing to learn. There is no charge for the teaching. Samatha activities are funded by donation.
To find your nearest class or select a residential course choose from the menu above or on the right.
There are occasional opportunities for meditators who have some experience in other Buddhist traditions of jhana meditation practice (for example, Pa-Auk and Ajahn Brahm) to join periods of practice taught by samatha teachers - email napaul(at)tiscali.co.uk if you are interested.
Whilst Samatha meditation can benefit most temperaments, a weekend or week-long retreat may not be appropriate if you have significant mental health difficulties, particularly if you are new or relatively new to the practice. The intensive nature of these courses can bring unresolved thoughts and feelings to the fore and if strong these may be difficult for you to deal with on the course. It may be better instead to develop meditation or mindfulness in a setting where there are more possibilities for active external engagement for the mind and where there is easier access to one's usual support. A number of mindfulness based therapies are also now more widely available. Meditation should not generally be seen as a substitute for psychiatric treatment and we recommend that those with significant psychiatric disorders should approach meditation practice cautiously and inform the teacher of their condition prior to starting practice.