Presence is the greatest gift we can offer

We had a wonderful last Sangha of the year last night, with Karen facilitating a winter solstice celebration. It was a very peaceful and connected close to this year honouring the darkness and the return of the light. We will take a break now for the festive period resuming on Thursday 7th January 2021.

Thank you to all those who have attended our Sangha gatherings during this eventful year and all our website followers. Our virtual circle on Zoom has become a refuge each Thursday evening and it has been lovely to see our connection deepen in this way.

Thay says “Presence is the greatest gift we can offer”. Are we present for ourselves and our family? Are we present with our meals? Are we present with the sunrise? May we continue to enjoy our practice during the festive season in order for that seed of presence to grow and to nourish those around us and the Earth.

Solstice blessings to all.

With a bow from all the facilitators x

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Poppy Seed Sangha now on Zoom!


Here are Poppy Seed Sangha we recognise how important it is for us humans to stay in touch, just like these beautiful gems of water on this spiders web, all intimately related and connected. So during this period of physical isolation, we are delighted to continue our weekly Thursday night gathering online on Zoom. Zoom is a free video-conferencing app easily accessible on your phone, tablet or computer. So far this has worked really well with up to 14 of us gathering together in the virtual world, some from further afield who had moved away and are now able to reconnect, all committing to nurturing & deepening our capacity for mindfulness and compassion at this challenging time. The session includes a guided mediation and time to share from the heart & listen deeply and is slightly shorter at 1hr 15mins. We would encourage you to give it a go and join us one Thursday soon!

Breathing in, we are blooming as flowers. Breathing out, we are fresh as the breeze.

A lotus to you all,

Poppy Seed Sangha

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Poppy Seed Sangha is going online!

Dear Sangha friends,

Following the Government’s advice last night to avoid any non-essential contact and travel, for the time being we have decided to move our Sangha to an online platform called Skype which is accessible on any digital device like a smartphone or computer. Recognising the importance of our practice, we wish to stay connected and continue to support ourselves and each other in a safe and sustainable way over the coming weeks. Please check your email inbox to find out how to stay connected in this way.

“During spring, thousands of different types of flowers wake up. Your heart can bloom too. You can let your heart open to the world. Love is possible – don’t be afraid.”  Thich Nhat Hahn


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The Other Shore

Deep gratitude to our friends at Wild Geese Sangha in Edinburgh for hosting a wonderful mid-winter retreat at Gorton House near Roslyn Glen. We spent time delving into the deep and beautiful Heart Sutra, enjoyed chanting, meditating, eating, working and walking together with much nourishing silence. Our hearts are full to the brim!


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No End, No Beginning

Dear all,

We had our last Sangha session of 2019 yesterday evening and enjoyed a focus on gratefulness and some poppy seed cake! We will gather again on Thurs 9th January 2020 for another year of breathing and smiling together.

In the meantime wishing you a joyous and nourishing festive season.

A lotus to you.

blue cliff buddhas in snow - phap hai

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5 Mindfulness Trainings Ceremony


5 MINDFULNESS TRAININGS TRANSMISSION IN SCOTLAND: A RARE OPPORTUNITY! At the February retreat at Newbold House, Forres there will be one of the rare opportunities to take the Five Mindfulness Trainings in Scotland. Senior Dharma teacher Murray Corke will lead a transmission ceremony.  The retreat is called “The Path to Happiness – Practices for an Engaged Life” and will happen 6-9 February 2020. Teachings will be on the Nobel Eightfold Path and the Mindfulness Trainings. The northern Sanghas are just finalising the last bits and booking will open very soon.

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Long Live Impermanence


Paloma & I thoroughly enjoyed joining together with other UK sangha brothers and sisters at the bi-annual Aspirant and Order Member retreat at Wiston Lodge near Biggar this month. We came together to practice with the theme of “impermanence” and this was deeply supported by the time of year and the autumnal landscape surrounding Wiston, leaves falling and decaying on the ground. There was a real sense of joy and family by the end and we all felt deeply grateful for the nourishing time there together.

November, 19

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Watering Seeds of Creativity & Joy

Join us on Saturday 5th October 2019 for a Mindfulness Day in the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and Plum Village with Dharma Teacher, Susanne Olbrich.


How can we meet the current global and national crisis with an open heart and mind? How can mindfulness and creativity help us to be the change that we want to see in the world? Through meditations and creative exploration we will nurture a sense of aliveness, awareness and connection with nature and each other – because what the world needs now is people who are alive, awake and connected!

We all have the seeds of creativity and joy in us and this day will be an opportunity to water them. Let’s come together for mindful breathing, sitting, walking and eating to slow down and reconnect with the source of peace and joy inside. By coming home to ourselves, relaxing body and mind, and allowing the senses to open up, we will embark on a journey of discovery with sound, music, words, colour and nature materials. Through simple creative activities, weather permitting outdoors, we will nurture awareness, openness, playfulness, curiosity, kindness and a spirit of adventure in ourselves and each other. You are invited to explore and experiment, to be receptive, to be. Everyone welcome!

Susanne Olbrich, True Ever-present Stability, is a musician, music educator and mindfulness teacher based at Findhorn, where she co-founded the Northern Lights Sangha. In 2016 she received the Lamp Transmission as a dharma teacher in Plum Village. She loves offering retreats and days combining mindfulness and creative expression.

Please bring:-
– A musical instrument if you have one (whether you can play it or not), crayons or pastels.
– Packed lunch. We will provide teas/ coffees.
– A meditation cushion/ stool if you have one, don’t worry if not, we have a few spare and some chairs (these are quite hard so a small cushion can be beneficial).
– A favourite blanket or shawl for warmth. Slippers or warm socks can also be nice.
– Outdoor shoes and coats

An opportunity to gently arrive and enjoy a cup of tea will be offered from 10am, starting the day fully at 10.30am.

There is no fee for the day but the opportunity will be there to offer dana (a voluntary contribution) to our visiting teacher.

To book a place please email

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One Buddha is not Enough

The monastic-led retreat on Holy Isle was a great success, so wonderful to gather together with friends, old and new, in such a beautiful setting.


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Love Will Take Us: A Day of Mindfulness & Stories (Sat 27th April)

Dear Sangha friends,

We can now can confirm details of our Mindfulness Day with Janie Ellen Combelic on Saturday 27th April, 10-3pm. Please see the FB link and info below….

The event will take place at our usual Sangha venue of Westbank in Strathmiglo.


“You are invited to a nourishing and relaxing day with writer, storyteller and mindfulness teacher Janie Ellen Combelic. Come hear stories from her recent book, No Coming No Going, about the year she – and her dog, Serafina – spent on a farm near Plum Village in southern France, studying with Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh. We will experience and discuss one of the most meaningful practices from Plum Village: deep listening and speaking from the heart, sharing that most precious of gifts, our presence. Everyone is welcome, from any faith tradition or none. Jane Ellen Combelic is a long-time student of Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, and former editor of his magazine The Mindfulness Bell. Originally from Colorado, she now lives near Findhorn in Scotland.”

If you would like to join us please let us know by emailing Orla at so that we can keep track of numbers. Thank you! On the day we would request a donation to cover the rental of the hall at Westbank and Dana for our teacher but please don’t let this stop you from coming along. Please bring a small amount of vegetarian food to share for lunch as well as your own plate/ bowl and cutlery. We will provide teas & coffees. Please also bring your own meditation cushion/ stool & blanket if you have them but not to worry if you don’t we have a few spare and some chairs.

We look forward to welcoming Janie to Poppy Seeds very much and hope you see you there!

With a smile of happiness, Poppy Seeds

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