Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

The Dhamma Shed

By Ryanshelton7 @LivingVipassana

Maintaining daily practice is hard. Finding others in the area you live to practice with helps.

I count myself as lucky to have found a group of meditators in my area who gave me inspiration and a place to sit with others. Among them is Colin who I consider to be a major reason why Vipassana meditation is thankfully such a key part of my life.

At the bottom of his garden in East London is the Dhamma Shed. Big enough to sit thirty people, for the last 3 years it has given London based meditators a place to meditate. Recently he celebrated his 60th birthday, over chocolate cake we talked about the time before the Dhamma Shed existed when one of our main meeting places for group sits became threatened:

“It is not easy to find a really good place to rent in london – we had tried before. Then someone suggested an interesting idea – why not build our own shed in a meditator’s back garden? This would be a dedicated venue, only for Vipassana, and if it could be generally accessible. Perhaps we could host a Group sitting every day or even make it available for self courses.”

Fortunately Colin’s back garden proved the perfect site. Big enough to accommodate a structure that would not dominate, and accessible from the street via a side passage so it could function independently of his house.

“We were also very lucky to find that we had among us, a carpenter/joiner, who became the project director and a builder who became the site manager. In retrospect it seems crazy to start a project like that with almost no idea of who our workers would be. But somehow it all worked out. People turned up for service, whether building the shed itself or in the kitchen to feed the others – including people we had never seen before or since. Some were accommodated in the house; others came on a daily basis. At times we doubted that this would work but somehow we always seemed to have the right numbers and mix of skills. hey! – Dhamma works!”

Click here to watch the shed being built.

I asked Colin what advice he would give to other meditators thinking about setting up their own group sit?

“The difficult part of setting up a group is getting people to come. What I learnt is not to worry if people come or not.  I found this to be beneficial to my practice as it helped me look at my expectations and over time it helped me grow in equanimity.”


Colin outside the Dhamma Shed

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