The Samatha Trust
The Samatha Trust is a charity (no. 266367) that was established in England more than 50 years ago in order to practise and teach a traditional form of Buddhist breathing mindfulness meditation. It is now an organisation with approximately 500 members taught in small classes throughout the UK and some areas of North America. We have a meditation centre in Manchester and a retreat centre in Wales. We have just bought the house at 1 Gatcombe, with the intention for it to become a place to learn about and practise meditation. We plan to offer meditation days, occasional residential weekend courses, and evening classes for local groups of typically six to eight people.
What is Samatha meditation?
‘Samatha’ means calm, and the meditation we practise uses one of the oldest traditional forms of breathing mindfulness to develop this. This form has been developed specifically for Western meditators as a powerful tool to calm one’s mind in the context of busy family and work lives. This has an effect that lasts well beyond the meditation itself, so this form of meditation is particularly suitable for those who wish to gradually develop increased calm and mindfulness in daily life for the benefit of themselves and those around them. Although we teach within the tradition of Buddhism, there is no expectation that anyone learning the meditation has to adopt any form of Buddhist belief. The teaching is offered to all those who wish to calm and clarify their minds.
Recently there has been a great deal of research and discussion around the benefits of mindfulness, and it is recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence as an effective way of improving some mental health conditions. We believe that the Samatha Association, with its more than 50 years of experience of teaching mindful meditation, has a real contribution to make.
A brief history of Samatha meditation in the UK
Samatha is a traditional Buddhist form of meditation was introduced by a Thai meditation teacher in London and Cambridge in the 1960s. The Samatha Trust and Association were formed shortly after, as a British lay organisation to develop this traditional meditation and other aspects of Buddhist practice. As a lay organisation, the people who practise and teach the meditation lead ordinary work and family lives, with a commitment to develop this practice themselves and share it with others.
The Samatha Association is formed from a very diverse range of people from all walks of life.
Among the current group of Trustees are teachers, administrators, a nurse, a clinical psychologist, a consultant psychotherapist, a financial adviser and leading academics.
Our centre in Manchester, the Manchester Centre for Buddhist Meditation in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, was established about 40 years ago and runs many local evening classes and groups for beginners and more experienced meditators as well as a range of other events, including days and non-residential weekends. The national Samatha Centre is based near Knighton in mid-Wales. Originally a Welsh hill farm, it was bought by the Samatha Trust in 1987 as a residential retreat centre with courses for both experienced meditators and beginners. It has 88 acres of hills, woods and streams, providing a beautiful and peaceful setting which supports mindfulness and meditation.
The development of the Samatha Meditation House in Great Holm, Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes is a very suitable location for the teaching of Samatha. It is centrally located with good facilities and pleasant open green spaces. Gatcombe is also well located, being easily accessible from all parts of Milton Keynes and within a residential community. It is also within easy walking distance of the main station and on two bus routes from the centre.
The house is large enough to comfortably accommodate small groups of people with some space for visitors to stay. We are hoping to offer meditation days at the weekends and occasional residential weekend courses. The meditation practice is taught in gradual stages so is very suitable for those who want to learn to meditate while maintaining a work life balance.
For more details about Samatha meditation and the Samatha Association, explore www.samatha.org.