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 2019

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 2019

The philosophy and Training

29th (6pm) Aug. - 12th (2pm) Sept.
with Ad

Special Event

19th (5pm) - 23rd (3pm) June
with Simon Michaels and Ad

Practice Days at The Orchard

Daily Practice ~ All welcome
7 - 8am and 5 - 6pm
February 23rd - 24th, March 23rd - 24th, May 25th - 26th,
July 27th - 28th, August 24th - 25th,
October 19th - 20th and November 16th - 17th

Retreats at the Orchard

Stillness in movement; movement in stillness

A four-day meditation and T’ai-Ji retreat
with Simon Michaels and Ad Brugman

Weds June 19th 5pm – Sun 23rd 3pm, 2019 at Herefordshire


When we develop tranquillity in meditation, we find that within the stillness there is movement; movement of the breath and the heart beating, movement in sounds and sights around us. Then, when we move mindfully, we can experience a sense of stillness in the movement.
After an orientation in Wednesday evening, the retreat will intersperse tranquillity meditation exercises with Tai J’I practice, and with quiet times for personal practice inside and outside.

Whilst his teaching is secular, Simon has been a committed meditation practitioner in the Buddhist tradition for over 20 years, and was ordained in 2017. He continues to study the subject intensively, and has been teaching mindfulness and meditation since 2011, with a focus on workplace stress reduction.

Ad started his T’ai-Ji training in 1975 in The Netherlands and has been studying under Chungliang Al Huang since 1991. His approach to T’ai-Ji is a unique blend of mindfulness meditation and T’ai-Ji as evolved over a period of more than 30 years’ experience as a meditation and t’ai-ji teacher in the UK and abroad.

Simon will lead the retreat and the meditation sessions, whilst Ad will guide the T’ai Ji sessions. This retreat is designed for those with some experience of meditation and mindfulness, not for complete beginners.



Cost for accommodation, food and teaching will be between £295 and £365 depending on numbers attending.

Secure your place with a deposit at

Insight through mindfulness

9th (6pm) - 19th (2pm) May (10 days)
29th (6pm) August - 12th (2pm) September (2 weeks)


picture of "be still and know"These 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 and a half hours a day of karma yoga and strict silence will be observed throughout the whole duration of the retreats.

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.

It will be possible to 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 Tuesday 14th May or Thursday 5th September respectively.

Course fee:

For the 10 day retreat: £ 430
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 flowerA reduced fee, for respectively the full 10 days or two weeks only, 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 2019

February 23rd - 24th, March 23rd - 24th, May 25th - 26th,
July 27th - 28th, August 24th - 25th,
October 19th - 20th and November 16th - 17th


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.

These weekends are open to all levels of experience and offer an opportunity for newcomers to be introduced to this practice.

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.