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 2018

with ad brugman



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


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 2018

The philosophy and Training

31st (6pm) Aug. - 14th (2pm) Sept.
with Ad

Practice Days at The Orchard

Daily Practice ~ All welcome
7 - 8am and 5 - 6pm
February 24th - 25th, March 25th - 26th, April 21st - 22nd
June 23rd -24th (see also Going for Refuge retreat)
July 21st - 22nd, Oct. 20th - 21st,
and Nov. 24th - 25th

Retreats at the Orchard

Going for refuge in wisdom, compassion and non-clinging awareness

June 21st (6pm) - 24th (4.30pm)

lotus flower


Wanting to grasp the ungraspable you exhaust yourself in vain.
As soon as you relax this grasping, there is space
open, inviting and comfortable”   (Gendun Rinpoche)




The Buddha once told his followers “be islands unto yourselves, be your own refuge, having no other” and not to rely on the external world for their happiness and ease.

All too often do we take refuge in objects and people around us, in views and in thoughts about the past or the future.

Going for refuge means going to a place we can rely on, we can trust, a place of safety and protection. Through the practice of mindfulness we start to see the unreliability of an external refuge and experience the presence of an always available, true refuge within ourselves.

This retreat will focus on the skilful means of gentleness, generosity, patience and loving-kindness towards ourselves and others.

Cost: £ 120 for the 3 days

Cost includes accommodation. Participants need to bring food to share and dãna for the guidance and teachings.

This retreat also offers an opportunity for newcomers to be introduced to the practice of satipatthana – mindfulness

Experienced practitioners can join for just the Saturday and Sunday as a practice weekend.


stone circle


"As we inhabit our body with increasing sensitivity, we learn its unspoken language and patterns, which gives us tremendous freedom to make choices. The practice of cutting through thoughts and dispersing negative repetitive patterns can be simplified by attending to the patterns in the body first, before they begin to be spun around in the mind ". (Jill Satterfield, from Meditation in Motion").


Insight through mindfulness

Two two-week retreats

10th (6pm) - 24th (2pm) May
31st (6pm) August - 14th (2pm) September


picture of "be still and know"These two-week long retreats offer an opportunity for sustained and continuous practice based on the Buddha’s Four Foundations of Mindfulness as taught in the Satipatthana Sutta. The emphasis will be on the insight aspect within the practice of mindfulness deepening the paramis of concentration, wisdom and loving kindness. Ultimately, these are the only reliable refuges.

Retreatants will have one hour a day of karma yoga and silence will be observed throughout the two weeks.
Participants need to have previous experience with the practice of mindfulness and be familiar with silence.

Daily bodywork sessions will be included in the programme.

We aim to create a supportive space as possible enabling participants to fully engage with the practice without having other responsibilities. A server meditator will be 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.

You can attend for shorter periods but to keep disruption to a minimum, you will have to join at the beginning of the retreat. Only experienced practitioners may join halfway, i.e. on the change-over day of Thursday the 17th May or 6th September respectively.

Course fee:

For the full two weeks: £ 559
For shorter stays a sliding scale applies, e.g.: 7-days will cost £ 301

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

hands of stone buddha holding yellow flower

A reduced fee, for the full two weeks only, of £ 509 , will be available for students who will not be able to afford the full rate. Please, apply beforehand if you wish to make use of that as it will only be available for a limited number of students.


Practice days and weekends at The Orchard

Monthly practice weekends in 2018

February 24th - 25th, March 24th - 25th,    April 21st - 22nd,
June 23rd - 24th (see also the Going for Refuge retreat),
July 21st - 22nd,   Oct. 20th - 21st,   Nov. 24th - 25th


Happiness cannot be found through
great effort and willpower, but is already there, in relaxation
and letting-go.   (Ven.Gendun Rinpoche)

Each weekend offers an integrated whole of insight through mindfulness practice and the skilful means of the Brahma Viharas - loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. The Brahma Viharas are a natural manifestation of wisdom, while their cultivation is also a path leading to wisdom.

The Saturdays will focus on the practice of mindfulness; the Sundays on the practice of Loving-kindness. There will be teaching sessions and guided meditations related to the Brahma Viharas.

Each weekend starts at 9 am on the Saturdays and finishes at 4.30 pm on the Sundays.

Cost: no fee will be charged apart from £ 30 for overnight stays. Bring food to share plus dãna for the teaching and guidance.

Newcomers are welcome.
It will also be possible to combine these weekends with some extra days of personal practice time.

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.

£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".

The way of mindfulness - weekly classes
with Jane Sethi


jane sethi

Introductory sessions to mindfulness of the body and breathing through gentle body movement, walking and sitting meditation are held weekly on Wednesdays from 5 – 6.30pm at the Orchard. Cost: £5 per session.

Please contact Jane on or 07949 432555 for more information

Mindfulness is a way of being, a way of taking care of ourselves.
By gently bringing our awareness to the simplicity of the present moment, we can come to a place of stillness that can support us in our daily life.



water lily

Jane began practising meditation in 2000 when she first came to the Orchard and met Sonia Moriceau who became her meditation teacher. Over the years she has become increasingly involved at the Orchard, attending and supporting retreats, and has been resident there for the past few years. Last year she began to teach a weekly mindfulness class, deepening her own practice, and will continue to offer them in 2015.