Meditation for Challenging Times

1.30-3.30pm Sunday 6th August, 2017
@ the little Bangkok Meditation Centre, Ekkamai


Finding Refuge in Times of Uncertainty: Where can we place our trust, faith and hope? –

This is the fifth meeting in this series. The first ones have gone well, with group discussion deepening our understanding of the role of our practice during challenging times ….

THIS IS: A monthly group for meditators who want to use their practice and understanding of the Dharma to help them respond wisely to the many challenges – personal, political, environmental and social, currently confronting us. Facilitated by Buddhist psychotherapist Mary Pipes and Denise Tomecko, yoga teacher and long-time Tibetan Buddhist practitioner in the Mahamudra/Dzogchen traditions. The group explores a different topic each month.

  • 1:30-3:30pm @ the little Bangkok Meditation Center, Ekkamai.
  • Arrive from 1pm onwards.
  • The session starts at 1.30pm,
  • Free of charge and no need to book in advance 


Topic this Month:

As Buddhist practitioners we take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. But what do we understand by this and in what ways can we seek refuge in them in dark and difficult times?

Are the Refuges helping us, as we are confronted by uncertainty at every level? Can they provide a reliable framework to live well within regardless of what is happening? Do they continue to stand firm when the world we thought we knew, seems to be falling away? 

At our last meeting we explored what Sangha means to us. In this session we are going to be looking at Dharma.

This article by Barbara O’Brian shows the concept of dharma is hard to pin down. It can be seen as both the essential nature of reality and the teachings and practices that point to that realization. 

Ajahn Chah described it as a journey of deepening, discovery and finally becoming:

“First one learns the Dharma, but does not yet understand it,
Then one understands, but has not yet practiced,
One practices, but has not seen the truth of Dharma,
Then one sees Dharma, but one’s being has not yet become Dharma”

The Tibetan tradition points to something similar when it talks of the three wisdoms of listening and hearing, contemplation and reflection and meditation and application.

And Aviv Tatarsky, a member of Tovana Insight Meditation and Engaged Dharma Israel explores how the Dharma challenges us to take wise action in the world

Each of us will be at different places on the journey that Ajahn Chah points to, and we are hoping that our sharing and discussions will reflect that and the different gifts of each stage. Some of the things we’ll be asking ourselves are: what is Dharma to me? How do I relate to the Buddha’s teachings on the Three Marks of Existence – Annica (Impermanence), Anatta  (Non-Self) and Dukkha (Unsatisfactoriness/Suffering)? 

What aspects of the teachings and/or practices have really helped me in difficult times? What teachings and practices are helping me at the moment? Is it possible to see the truth of the Three Marks of Existence in what is happening in the world? 

This is a useful link if you need to revise the Three Marks



Arrive from 1pm onwards for a 1.30pm start.

  • 1.30 pm Welcome and Introduction to the theme of the afternoon
  • 1.45 pm Tonglen Meditation. Each meeting we deepen further into the Tibetan Buddhist practice of “sending and receiving.” A practice that works directly with difficulty and transforms it into spacious compassion and kindness.
  • 2.15 pm Questions and feedback
  • 2.30 pm Theme of the Meeting. This varies from meeting to meeting. The topic of one meeting may lead on to the next, or group members may make suggestions. It always involves the shared exploration of a topic.
  • 3.30 pm Tea and cakes.  Please bring some to share. It’s very important we take care of ourselves at all levels.


About Meditation for Challenging Times:

 This group grew out of the concerns of members of the Little Bangkok Sangha who found themselves feeling angry, overwhelmed, scared, sad, grieving and hopeless in the face of what is happening in the world and wanted to use the Dharma to guide their response. 

It provides an opportunity for meditators to come together and to enquire how their practice and understanding of the Dharma can help them to respond, both internally and practically to the challenges of the current times with wisdom and compassion.

Our intention is to practice with what disturbs us, so that rather than let it divide us, it becomes a bridge that unites us – with ourselves, with others, with the world and with the Dharma. Although the focus of each meeting will be different, our overall aim is to take steps towards:

  • Using the events of the current time as an encouragement to deepen our practice;
  • Heal inner divisions by owning, welcoming and holding disturbance with compassionate wisdom;
  • Increase our ability to be with what feels hard and thereby reduce our tendency to blame and project our distress on to others;
  • Acknowledge the universal nature of both suffering and the enlightened mind;
  • Support each other;
  • Discuss ways we might engage constructively at a practical level.

We don’t expect these meetings to provide instant solutions. However, we hope that by practicing together and sharing with friends, we’ll develop a trustworthy and reliable place from which we can respond to the world around us, and help lessen any contributions we might make towards the destructive forces currently being unleashed.


Everyone who has meditated before is very welcome. If you have any short teachings that are relevant and that you would like to share, please bring them along. They don’t need to be Buddhist or “spiritual” – just wise. Also if there are any topics you would like to explore or to lead, please let us know. 



Our regular facilitators are Mary and Denise. But other group members and teachers with particular expertise, knowledge and leadership also contribute.

Mary Pipes has worked as a counsellor and psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer for twenty years in Asia and the UK. For over half of this time, she worked in a Buddhist-based psychotherapy tradition in the UK. For the last five years she has been living in Bangkok.

Denise Tomecko is a yoga teacher who has also trained in several healing modalities. She is the author of two books and a long-time Tibetan Buddhist practitioner in the Mahamudra/Dzogchen traditions.  She took refuge with HH the 16th Karmapa and was the student of HE 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, as well as Ven Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche.  She has lived in Bangkok for over twelve years.



‘APARTMENTS’ Meditation Centre

The center is a 4 minute walk from Ekkamai BTS Station.

We are 9/37 Thana Aket, Ekkamai Sukhumvit 63.

Enter Ekkamai (Sukhumvit Soi 63). Turn left into the second soi (lane). Bourbon street restaurant is on the corner. We’re the third building on the right, in the ‘APARTMENTS‘ building. Go up to the top floor. See the excellent map – it is very precise!little-bangkok-meditation-center-ekkamai

One reply on “Meditation for Challenging Times: Dhamma as Refuge”

  1. Happy to see this. I’ve been out of country for a while and plan to attend. Thanks to all who are organizing and leading. Tonglen is medicine for all. Will be good to come back to Little Bang.

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