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
16 thoughts on “The Dhamma Shed”
Hi. I want to go to the dhamma shed. Please could you send me directions to firstname.lastname@example.org I have sat a few vipassana 10 days and am looking for a place to practice in London. Thanks
The Dhamma Shed is at this address:-
8 Elrington Road, London E8 3BJ
You can just turn up. We never cancel.
Group Sittings are held every day 7pm to 8.15
Also every Sunday morning 10am to 1pm
Also every Thursday morning
9am to noon.
Detailed directions are on the webpage http://dipa.dhamma.org/os/groupsits_hackney_details.html
Oops! That link is wrong. It should be
Sorry about that.
I’d like to come to the shed on Sunday but when I click on the link it asks for authentication.
I’d just like directions and also to find out if I can arrive later than 10?
Im a old student, looking to come on thursday, is that possible?
Hi Ritesh. Yes of course. You are very welcome. All details are at http://www.dipa.dhamma.org/os/groupsits_london_hackney_details.html
Yes you need the “old student login” – its the same one for everyone on all the Goenka Vipassana websites.
Dear Anonymous – could there be a reason for not publishing the password on the internet ?
Hi Victor. Yes there could be a reason but the curious thing is that no-one can agree on quite sure what it is. The original purpose of the password is lost in the mists of time. I have heard various explanations but none of them are very convincing. However on the other side, there are very good reasons for publishing the password. It is very obvious that many old students, for example Claire, do not know it. There is no secure way to contact all old students to tell them. And they really do need it for their Dhamma practise — for example in order to know where the group sittings are etc. Im not the first person to do this. It has been published lots of times on the internet and it has been fairly easy for many years to find it by persistent googling. Obviously this diminishes its purpose (if it ever had one) but as a security device it was always a very trivial one to crack. Furthermore I never heard anyone complain that dissemination of the password has caused the slightest problem.
hello! Can I just say thank you so much for posting this password. I did a 10 day vipassana retreat myself and then forgot the password and wanted to revisit the site. I hope it doesn’t steer anyone wrong because it was very helpful for me. Thanks again.
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When i lose my way with my practice I know that the dhamma sheddi is there. The group meditation experience helps me to stay in my seat too. If I were at home there are thousands of other things I could be doing than sitting mindfully. So thank you to Colin and the crew for making this possible. With metta Sarah x
I have done a 10 day course in Herefordshire in November and would like to know if there is a group meeting in london to feel supported. I find it hard to fit evening meditation and feel I may losing the concentration. Do you do 1 day refreshers ? Looking forward to heat from you