Online Buddhist


How the course works

Internationally available Individual and group online learning

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Online learning

The course uses Moodle, an easy to use open source virtual learning platform.

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Individual tuition

Weekly, individual meetings with your meditation teacher on Skype.

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Learning content

Each week a new stage of the meditation practice is explained using written text, images and audio.


Group interaction

Meditators ask questions and share experiences using online discussion forums

About the course

While it is best to learn this practice by attending a local class, many people live far away from such a class. We therefore offer an online course, taught by Peter Harvey and a small group of other teachers, using written and recorded material that Peter has developed over many years of teaching traditional face-to-face classes. This is supplemented by online written forum discussions and individual weekly Skype meetings with your meditation teacher. The aim is to have a group of people reflectively learning the practice, stage by stage, together, as in a non-online class.

The Samatha Trust is happy to acknowledge that Peter Harvey is a teacher of meditation within the tradition of practice initiated in the UK by Nai Boonman Poonyathiro in the 1960s, which is now taught in classes across the UK, in the USA, in Ireland and elsewhere. At the same time, both the Trust and Peter would wish to make clear that neither these writings, nor any others, are to be regarded as a ‘definitive’ expression of this tradition. They represent one person’s experience and understanding which he has chosen to make available to others in this way.

The  online Buddhist Meditation Course begins in October each year and runs through to the end of June. 

Participants can download a week's teachings at any time during a week.

A particular feature of this online course is the weekly one-to-one discussion that each meditator has with their teacher using Skype, a free video-link, about how their practice is going.

About the meditation practice

The meditation technique we use is based on mindfulness of the breath. It was introduced to the UK from Thailand in the 1960's and has been taught here ever since. It is developmental and is taught in stages over several months.

Classes are normally held weekly and provide an opportunity for group practice, discussion, talks about the Buddha's teaching and individual discussion with a teacher. We have tried to replicate these conditions online by developing a weekly stage-by-stage development through the practice; group discussion using online forums and, most importantly, weekly meetings with your teacher via Skype.

The Samatha meditation technique has its roots in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, and was introduced to England in 1962 by Nai Boonman, a Thai meditation teacher.

Samatha means calm. Samatha meditation is an effective but gentle way of training the mind to develop inner strength and freedom from turmoil. This produces a happier and more unified state of mind, leading on to clarity and understanding. This path from calm (samatha) to insight (vipassanā) was followed by the Buddha himself and is a central tradition of Buddhist meditation.

There are many kinds of Samatha meditation technique. This one is based on attention to the breath. Its form is particularly suitable for those looking for a way to develop meditation practice and the benefits it can bring, whilst continuing with the challenges of everyday life.By regular daily practice the chattering, unruly mind gradually becomes calmer and clearer. The way our mind works becomes less confusing to us and we begin to understand the habits of mind that hold us back from happiness and freedom. We become kinder to ourselves and those around us.

This form of meditation is particularly suitable for those looking for a way to develop meditation practice and the benefits it can bring, whilst continuing with the challenges of everyday life.

Samatha meditation is given freely to anybody wishing to learn. There is no charge for the teaching. Samatha activities are funded by donation. To find out more about how funding works click here.

Meet the team

Meditation teachers and course organisers


Peter Harvey

Peter has taught Samatha meditation in the UK since 1977, mostly in Durham and Sunderland and now in York, where he now lives. Before retiring, he was Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Sunderland, where he ran an online MA Buddhist Studies (now taken over by the University of South Wales, using his course materials).


Deborah Raikes

Deborah has practised Samatha meditation for 23 years and has been teaching Samatha meditation since 2003. She runs a weekly meditation class in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. She is also a science teacher and high school leader.


Robert Adkins

Robert - a meditator for more than 40 years - teaches a samatha meditation class in Wilmslow, Cheshire, UK and theory groups in Manchester. In his professional life he was an English teacher and high school leader.


Claire Burns

Claire lives in the North East of Ireland and has been practising meditation for 30 years and teaching for about 10 years although she does not take a local group at present. She works work as a speech and language therapist.

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Tod Olson

Tod began practicing Samatha meditation in Chicago and has been teaching since 2011. Professionally, Tod is a librarian and technologist at the University of Chicago.

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Deven Patel

Deven has been practising Samatha for 20 years and currently teaches in Philadelphia.

Tina Fitzpatrick

Tina Fitzpatrick

Tina’s contact with Samatha began when she took a course in Buddhist Philosophy with Lance Cousins at Manchester University in the 1980’s. After taking up regular practice, She has since taught groups in Tottenham and Hackney in London. She is still based in London teaching Philosophy part-time with the Open University.


Eileen Windridge

Eileen lives  in Southport, a coastal town in NW England, where she teaches a weekly meditation class. She first learnt meditation at the Manchester Samatha Centre and has been practising for almost twenty years. Before retirement she was an equality and HR consultant working mainly in the public and voluntary sectors.

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