Thinking Out Loud: Conversations on Early Buddhism (Continued)

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  • 31st May - 28th June 2020
  • 4 Sessions - Sundays 4pm BST UK
  • 4 Q&A's - Following Thursdays 7pm BST UK
  • During the weekend ending 21st June, there will be a day long webinar on Saturday 20th June instead of the Sunday session, you will need to register separately for this here.
  • Once you register for this event, you will not be able re-register for further sessions. If in doubt register and let us know if you are unable to attend.
  • This programme is offered on a Dāna basis (pay what you can afford, payment link here, in your confirmation letter)


Stephen Batchelor, Jake Dartington, Martine Batchelor, Jenny Wilks, Christina Feldman, John Peacock, Akincano Weber, Christoph Köck, Robert M Ellis. 


  • Please find detailed information on each session below
  • If you are unable to attend the live sessions, recordings we'll be made available via a separate event here

A continued opportunity for dialogue and reflection with the Bodhi College faculty.

We, at Bodhi College are offering our sangha a weekly opportunity to connect, and continue the process of study and practice together with our teachers. As our retreats this Spring are not able to go ahead in person, we realise how important it is to continue to resource ourselves at a time where it’s never been more needed.

With this in mind, we have picked themes for the sessions that will continue to support you and your practice in coming to terms with the new reality of our daily lives. Each session is led by two of our teachers, focused on a particular topic with a follow-up discussion later in the week.  Please find detailed information on each session below.

Please join us for these weekly sessions, offered on a dāna basis (pay what you can afford)


A Weekly Two-hour Zoom Broadcast on Sundays at 4 pm BST / 17:00 CEST (2 hrs)

Two teachers of Bodhi College will present reflections on a chosen theme related to Early Buddhism. They will give their responses to each other’s presentations, and participants will be invited to engage with the topic in break-out groups. There will also be a period of silent reflection, and an opportunity for questions and comments from the audience.

The session will conclude with suggestions for deepening one’s practice and contemplative inquiry in the days ahead.

(No Zoom account is needed to participate).

Follow-up Session on the following Thursday 7 pm BST / 20:00 CEST  (1 hr)

One or both of the teachers will discuss with each other and the audience their insights into the theme presented the previous Sunday. They will explore further ways of interpreting the material, while offering practical advice to help us embody its content in daily life.

A day long webinar on Saturday 20th June from 9:30 to 12:00 and 14:30 to 17:00 CEST, will replace the Sunday seminar this week, you will need to register for this webinar separately here.

Additional information:

  • Once your register for this event, you will not be able re-register for further sessions. If in doubt, please register and let us know if you are unable to attend, nearer the time.
  • If you are unable to attend, you will have the opportunity to sign up for the recordings after the event. Links to register here.
  • The link to donate Dāna will be in your 'Further Instructions' Letter with your Course Instructions email.
  • An email reminder with all essential information will be sent to participants on the day of each session.

Event Details

Session 9:

31st May at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 4th June at 7pm BST
What is Enlightenment?

With Jake Dartington and Stephen Batchelor

In this session we’ll explore a range of ways of thinking about enlightenment and awakening. We’ll consider how we can move on from more simplistic views of enlightenment without undermining the aspirations that inspire our path.

Session 10:
7th June at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 11th June at 7pm BST
Knowing how it feels: an exploration of mindfulness of vedanas

With Martine Batchelor and Jenny Wilks

We would like to explore mindfulness of feeling tones, which is the second foundation of the practice of mindfulness. We will define feeling tones and how to be mindful of them. The Pali term vedana refers to the affective tone of experience. When we come into contact through one of our six senses with the environment, we experience a pleasant, unpleasant or neither pleasant nor unpleasant feeling tone. It is important to see that feeling tones are constructed, they are not a given, they do not reside in the object we come in contact with. It is vital to be aware of feeling tones as they arise extremely fast and have a profound impact on our behaviour.

Session 11:
14th June at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 18th June at 7pm BST
The Factors of Awakening

With Christina Feldman and John Peacock

The Buddha maintained that there were factors that already dwelt within our minds that could be harnessed to guide us towards the process of waking up. So, instead of having to develop aspects of our minds that were not present we engaged in the cultivation of seven important factors Already present that acted as a counterbalance to the destructive tendencies of mind. The factors to be identified and cultivated were those of mindfulness, investigation, energy, joy, tranquillity or relaxation, concentration and equanimity. We will examine the importance of these factors and their liberating qualities.

Saturday 20th June (NB: no Sunday session this week)
This week’s Sunday session will be replaced by 1 day webinar
Pleasure Liking and Craving

With Akincano Weber and Christoph Köck

Please book separately for this webinar here.

Session 12:
28th June at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 2nd July at 7pm BST
The Buddha's Middle Way

With Stephen Batchelor and Robert Ellis

How can we go about reconciling polarised debates between entrenched opponents, or intractable conflicts within ourselves? The Buddha's Middle Way, illustrated by his early life, offers a universal approach to such conflicts that is not based on claims about the universe, but on a principle of judgement. Robert M. Ellis will introduce the argument of his recent book, 'The Buddha's Middle Way', that the Middle Way offers a key to interpreting Buddhism in practical, universal, terms that can also be applied in any other tradition - terms that can also be supported by psychology and neuroscience, but have been obscured by appeals to authority in the Buddhist tradition.


STEPHEN BATCHELOR is a translator, teacher, artist and writer known for his secular approach to the Dharma. A co-founder of Bodhi College, his books include Buddhism Without BeliefsLiving with the Devil, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist and After Buddhism. His most recent publication, The Art of Solitude, was published by Yale University Press in 2020. He lives in southwest France with his wife Martine.


JAKE DARTINGTON has practised Buddhist meditation since 1995. After training as a Dharma teacher with Christina Feldman, he started teaching in 2007. He has a background in Philosophy and Buddhist Studies and has trained as a teacher of MBSR/MBCT. Jake lives in Nottingham where he teaches mindfulness and Insight Meditation. 



MARTINE BATCHELOR author of Meditation for Life, The Path of Compassion, Women in Korean Zen and Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits. Her latest works are the The Spirit of the Buddha, What is this? and The Definition, Practice and Psychology of Vedana.  She is a member of the Gaia House Teacher Council.  She teaches meditation retreats worldwide and lives in France. Recently she has been involved with the Silver Sante Study, teaching meditation, mindfulness and compassion to seniors in France to see if this could prevent ageing decline.

jenny-wilks1JENNY WILKS has practised in various Buddhist traditions since the late 1980s, and has an MA in Indian Religions. She has taught for several years at Gaia House, the Barn Retreat near Totnes in Devon UK, and local meditation classes. She trained in clinical psychology and works as an MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) therapist and trainer at Exeter University.


CHRISTINA FELDMAN is a co-founder of Gaia House and a guiding teacher at Insight Meditation Society, Barre, Massachussetts. The author of a number of books, she has been teaching insight meditation retreats internationally since 1976. She is one of the teaching faculty of the CPP programme, dedicated to the study and application of the early teachings of the Buddha and is engaged in teaching the Buddhist psychological foundations of mindfulness to those training to teach mindfulness-based applications in England, Belgium and the Netherlands. Her most recent book Mindfulness: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Psychology, written with Willem Kuyken, was published in the summer of 2019. 


is both an academic and a Buddhist practitioner of nearly fifty years. Trained initially in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition in India, he subsequently spent time in Sri Lanka studying Theravada. After doing a doctorate in philosophy, he taught Buddhist and Western philosophy and then Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol. He went on to be Associate Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, co-direct the Master of Studies programme in MBCT(Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) at Oxford University, and teach Buddhist psychology on the same course.  John is now retired from academia and continues to teach meditation, as he has done for more than thirty-five years.

AkincanoAKINCANO M. WEBER is a Swiss Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist (MA). A former monk, he has lived and practised for 20 years in European and Thai Forest monasteries. Particular interests are early Buddhist texts, stillness and contemplative psychology. He is the guiding teacher of Atammaya Cologne, Germany, part of the CPP programme and of several Mindfulness teacher training courses, and teaches meditation and Buddhist Psychology in secular and traditional contexts in Europe and overseas. 


CHRISTOPH KÖCK was born in Vienna, Austria, and spent 17 years of his life as a Buddhist monk in the Theravadin tradition. He lived mainly in monasteries connected with Ajahn Chah in Thailand and the West. Currently he lives in Vienna, working as a psychotherapist in a private practice. He teaches Buddhism and meditation internationally, and is trained to teach MBSR and MBCT. 


ROBERT M. ELLIS is the founder of the Middle Way Society and the author of a number of books on Middle Way Philosophy – including the introductory Migglism and the more detailed Middle Way Philosophy series. His most recent book, The Buddha’s Middle Way: Experiential Judgement in his Life and Teaching was published by Equinox in 2019, with a foreword by Stephen Batchelor. He has a Ph.D. in Philosophy, is an experienced teacher, and was formerly a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. He now regularly leads retreats for the Middle Way Society.