Could you meditate for a month?

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Every year, Buddhafield holds the Total Immersion retreat, a month of silent meditation in nature, with the option to stay for only two weeks. It’s one of the most beloved events on the calendar. There is meditation teaching, ritual, silence and wood-fired hot tubs, and everything takes place under canvas or the open sky.

 

For most people, the idea of sitting quietly in a lush meadow as birds chirrup in the trees, is a pleasant one. Something you could easily spend a day doing, but the notion of doing that for a month, in silence, can be daunting.

 

The silence at Total Immersion is deep, but not cold or restrictive, there are other ways to communicate and the wonder which unfolds as your vocal chords, and then your mind, quiet down can be astonishing. Thoughts become clearer; things and people often become more beautiful; you may notice sounds you wouldn’t have, like the timbre of a stream as it chuckles over rocks. The silence can become a quiet contentment and warm appreciation that you share openly with others.

 

Laura came on the retreat last year, for the first time and said, “I was initially anxious about going into silence, but I actually found it took away a weight of anxiety around speech. I felt far more connected with myself, with those around me and with nature. It certainly also gave space for difficult emotions to surface, which needed to happen.”

Total Immersion

It is true that, given some space, the emotions we prefer to avoid will probably take their chance and emerge but this doesn’t have to be a horrible experience. The team are highly experienced in creating supportive, joyful events with real spiritual depth and many people find being in nature to be instinctively supportive; for our bodies it can feel like coming home. This, along with the positive, welcoming atmosphere, helps create a safe place for any pain or sadness to arise, without being too overwhelming. It often flips and can be greatly freeing, growing into an expansive feeling of love. There are also regular meditation reviews which offer guidance, support and more personalised teaching.

 

Arthabandhu, who has been on the retreat many times, said, “I love all the elements of the Total Immersion Retreat: one whole month of practice out in the open air, silence, community, and rituals in the midst of nature. By the end of the month I feel wonderfully refreshed, enlivened and inspired. The whole thing puts me in touch with something magical that helps me go back to day-to-day life with a greater sense of purpose and meaning.”

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This year, the theme of the retreat is Mindfulness: Bridge to the Beyond, based around one of the Buddha’s primary teachings on the subject, the Satipatthana Sutta. Both meditation teachers have decades of experience on the subject. Vajradevi has been meditating for 31 years, and studying this particular teaching for 15 years – much of her practice is based around cultivating mindfulness. Kamalashila has been teaching meditation for over 40 years and led the very first Buddhafield Total Immersion retreat 10 years ago.

 

Mindfulness may appear simple but has incredible richness, particularly when practising in nature. Moksatara, from Sheffield, said, “The simplicity and freshness of being outdoors and camping was so revitalising and grounding, and very much informed the meditative states and quality of awareness that I was looking to tune into.

 

“Bathing in the brook (post-hot-tub!) and watching the steam rise up from the water whilst the sunlight streamed down; meditating under a tree by the Buddha and seeing a kestrel hopping about the grass just metres away are just some of the moments I’ll never forget.”

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Are you tempted? This retreat is open to all experienced meditators, all you need to do is book. First-timer Laura’s advice is: “Bring layers! I’d encourage any meditator with Triratna to go for it.”

 

Total Immersion runs from Saturday 6 May-Friday 2 June, with the option to attend 6th-19th May. Book here.
New to meditation? Find other Buddhafield retreats and events here.

Words: Sarah Ryan, with thanks to Arthabandhu, Laura Harrison, and Moksatara
Images: Saccavicaya and Padmapani
Poster: Liz Verde


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Best of Buddhafield 2016: Jayaraja’s review

Buddhafield Chair, Jayaraja, gives a review of his 2016 Buddhafield season


18 December 2016

The trees bare except for a solitary leaf, perhaps reluctant to let go, the rest fallen and turning to mulch, I sit in an oak wood in the border lands of England and Wales. It is three days until the solstice and I have some time alone, to be still, to reflect and to wonder. More vivid than many, the seasons this year have been rich and colourful.

 

Winter

Visit to Frog Mill
On a Buddhafield men’s study week we take a day out to visit Frog Mill where we are joined by Mike, Rupadarshin and Beth. The flooding had washed the bank away, the river now strewn with fallen trees. Fortunately, the bridge, which had been lifted from its site was wedged close by. Working together we heaved the bridge back into place. We cleared some areas of the wood, dragged the carcasses of substantial tree trunks out of the water and stacked them to dry, ready to heat the hot tubs and showers in the summer.

Work week
Sleet blew fiercely as a small crew worked in a dilapidated old barn mending canvases, and preparing new ones. The wind was whistling under the tin roof and rattling the huge barn door wedge closed with heavy rocks. I felt a tad guilty as the hardy team got on with their work I was passing through on my way to a planning meeting. Though a few weeks later I was in the fields by the barn as we setup a make shift camp for the winter work week. I was impressed by the number of volunteers who ventured from the warmth of their homes or vans to join us, cleaning kit, waterproofing tents, painting vans, and repairing the horsebox sauna our mobile hot water unit.

 

Team Retreat
The team retreat at Frog Mill, with ice still on the tents in the morning, was a mix of training, planning, land work and just gathering the clan, as well as welcoming new crew, to prepare for the months ahead. We built up the banks by the bridge, weaving willow into them for strength and to hopefully avoid losing the bridge in future floods. More wood was fetched, cut and stacked, repairs to the domes and training in how to put them up. We had a day’s training on food hygiene and safety, our professional trainer excited to be in a field, having spent 20+ years in the military, more commonly he was in restaurants and corporate settings.

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Team Retreat at the start of 2016

 

Spring

Yatra sacred landscape walking retreat
We met by Southampton train station, loaded our bags into the freshly painted (though frankly still quite battered) van affectionately known as Peggy. We walked down to the harbour and caught a ferry over the estuary to Hythe, and began our walk through the New Forest. Each day we would walk between 10 and 16 miles. Meantime the team drove ahead with our kit and set up a kitchen and toilet facilities. On the first day of walking the forest was still in its bare winter guise. Each day as we progressed, the buds on the trees and the bluebells opened a little more. We walked in silence stopping every hour or so where we formally ended the session and sat enjoying conversation, quiet reflection or the beauty of the land. After a few days, I noticed my relation to the land changed and I felt more a part of it, part of life on earth, not separate from it and a kinship with our ancestors who have walked this planet and heard in their hearts a sense of mystery and awe. I felt connected to the refugees walking to escape the horrors of war. I felt a sweet sadness imagining them with children and the elderly and little of the comforts we enjoyed, like suitable clothes, footwear and warm food waiting for them. We walked the ancient paths to Stonehenge and then on to Avebury stones. By now the buds had become fresh green leaves. On the final morning, as we gathered in our traditional circle amid the stones to check out, two buzzards soared above and were soon replaced with a paraglider who came to land right next to us.

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Silent walking on the Sacred Landscape Yatra, under majestic trees


Total Immersion
There was a short break after the Yatra as we set up for the Total Immersion retreat, a month-long silent retreat and one of the highlights of the Buddhafield season. In amongst the trees at Easterbrook we sat in meditation, or sat in silence watching the trees and stars. We held rituals in the woods. The teaching from Kamalashila and his team was excellent. It is hard to find words for the beauty and richness of quiet mind.

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The Buddha rupa in the field at Total Immersion 2016

 

Summer

Glastonbury Festival
I had never been to Glastonbury festival before. Much as I love the Buddhafield festival I didn’t imagine Glastonbury was my kind of thing. Two hundred thousand people in muddy fields: yes it was muddy, the worst on record some say. I was going as it is part of Buddhafield’s main activities. We have been there for over twenty years, teaching mediation and serving vegan food. It did make me think our modest festival of 3,500 is a small undertaking. Whilst there, deprived of sleep, we managed to serve around a thousand meals a day and taught some four to five hundred people to meditate in our cramped space. I recall seeing people with tears in their eyes after meditating and expressing their gratitude.

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Buddhafield Cafe at a muddy Glastonbury 2016

 

Buddhafield Festival
From Glastonbury we drove to our own festival site, green fields and a good night’s sleep. In the morning, having packed the tents away wet we had to immediately get them up again to dry. Two weeks before the Buddhafield festival we were a dozen people most recovering from the challenges of Glastonbury. Gradually more crew and volunteers arrived. Each evening we would have an activity, a couple of short talks on the values that had brought people to these fields, perhaps meditation or a ritual or sitting around the fire singing and talking. This year’s festival was one of my favourites, the site looked fabulous, the music was great and I loved having so many people come to my workshops both Mindful Communication and Skilful Flirting, I look forward to 2017.

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Jayaraja (and Ellis, aged 7 and a half) leading a Mindful Communication workshop at Buddhafield Festival

 

Autumn

Green Earth Awakening
I was away in August, so missed the Village retreats and the Summer Open. I returned for the Green Earth Awakening Camp. It was magnificent to once again be in a field with a team of people creating something of significance and beauty. Feeling the wind and hearing the trees standing beneath the stars. Wow, what an event! I was responsible for the rituals and was supported by Ruth who helped create a magical central shrine. The Green Earth Awakening is all my favourite bits from the festival brought together. Lots of spontaneous and interesting conversations, brilliant workshops, play, singing, dancing, discussion, idealism and crafts. If I had to pick a moment from the year, it was doing the main ritual on the Friday night, in a large circle, we danced, we chanted mantra, made offerings and we watched in awe as a beautiful full moon rose through the trees. Once again I felt a kinship with the ancestors as we try and rekindle a sense of the sacred, a deep sense of connection and reverence for life.

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Shrine at Green Earth Awakening Camp

 

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After three years of wandering I have now moved into a house, a modest rented place in Devon, to help establish a new Buddhafield community. The vision is to create a strong base to enable us to do more and to also go deeper in our own work and transformation, to live more fully with respect for each other, and the planet.

2016 may not go down as a great year for humanity or the planet, the loss of great artists and performers, atrocities in Syria and further afield, the election of a demagogue in America and continuing exploitation of the earth’s resources. I am reminded of lines from Auden’s poem September 1939:

 

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

 

May your life be blessed with friendship, meaning and love. May you heart unfold to its great potential. May I see you in a field in 2017, and may we cultivate the roots and buds of transformation both of ourselves and this suffering world.

Metta

Jayaraja

 

Buddhafield Retreats and Green Earth Awakening Camp are open for booking for 2017 


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Best of Buddhafield 2016: Green Earth Awakening

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2016’s Green Earth Awakening Camp was a huge success. We had fantastic talks from Mac Macartney, Satish Kumar, the Ecodharma team, Kamalamani and Mindfulness4Change to name just a few, some of which were recorded for you to enjoy again.

Members of Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement joined us and here is what they had to say

“Following a very generous invitation to be part of this annual convergence of engaged Buddhism we had four precious days of exchange and exploration. This was an amazing opportunity to share our work, to make new connections, network and hatch new plans.”

The atmosphere was perfect with sunny days, cosy nights and fire side dancing to a full moon. We had Hedgespoken provide their unique traveling theatre stage with story-telling and beautiful music.

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There were powerful rituals such as building a life cairn memorial to extinct species and our closing ceremony. For this, we joined together in a vast circle to close the event while Oak Clan Forge blacksmith Simon Summers buried a sword forged from metal found on the land as a gratitude to past and future resources.

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Next year’s Green Earth Awakening will take place from 20th to 24th September 2017, with the theme ‘Embracing Simplicity’. Bookings are now open – see you there!

Text by Rosie Lancaster, GEA Coordinator
Photographs by Sagaravajra


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Total Immersion Retreat – Interview with Kamalashila

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Image: Padmapani 2011

On 20th May 2016 Buddhafield are holding the annual Total Immersion month-long silent retreat, ending on 17th June. I caught up with Kamalashila to ask him a little more about what the retreat is all about.

How did Total Immersion retreats come into being?

The original Total immersion retreat was held at Dhanakosa [Retreat Centre in Scotland] led by myself, Vessantara and Viveka in around 2005. I thought it would work in Buddhafield and we started the following year. I have led them ever since.  Some years ago Paramananda got interested and we started alternating years. 

What are the benefits of retreats that are held in a natural setting?

If you live in nature, nature teaches you how to be natural.   We come out of a highly artificial world into retreat. There are few straight lines and flat surfaces in nature, and it is not designed for convenience.  This means we have to be much more aware even to live a simple life.  There is an element of freshness and spontaneity that is unique.  All these things generate the very best conditions for meditation reflection and generous behaviour – with the right teaching setup I think retreats in nature can even be better than a dedicated retreat centre. 

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What effect does spending such a long time in silence have?

There will still be verbal teaching, questions and ritual chanting, so the silence is not absolute.  But… Peace. Clarity. Confidence. Love.  Silence doesn’t mean we don’t communicate or look at one another.  We get to know one another deeply by relaxing in each other’s company. 

Are there teaching elements to these retreats? How do the retreat leaders support people’s own self-reflection process?

There’s a main daily teaching and question-answer session, as well as smaller, more off the cuff teachings throughout the day — plus of course one-to-one practice reviews for everyone. 

 

Do you have any advice for people who are considering coming on the retreat but haven’t done a silent retreat before or haven’t spent such a long time on retreat before?

For most practitioners, longer retreats are easier, simply because there is more time to settle in and to relax with everyone in the community.  But it’s also possible to come for just the first two weeks.  

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Image: Seán Quigley

What surprises you the most about the Total Immersion retreat?

That every year, Padmapani manages to upgrade even further his already incredible Naga Shrine. When we first started it was a little booth on a plank next to the stream. Last time I was there it was big enough for the entire retreat to do a puja right in the river itself – and the shrine itself was extraordinary. Perhaps not actually surprising (I know Padma very well) but definitely amazing.  

Even after all this time leading these retreats, and with so much meditation experience, do you still benefit yourself from the Total Immersion retreat?

I always learn new and deep things about the Dharma from being in a fully natural environment over time.  Nature is humbling and grounding as well as being incredibly beautiful, and this shifts your whole perspective — first on the elusive ‘self’, and then on the nature of existence. Getting to that takes time though. You need to be living in one place long enough to be part of the environment — then you start to understand.  Usually we are external observers and that doesn’t teach us much that’s useful. What one learns is not information – which we already have plenty of – but about what we are and what our place is. 

You’ve said a little about the difference between Buddhafield retreats and retreats at Centres – can you say any more? i.e. What does Buddhafield do differently and why is it worth people engaging with this different approach?

I think the previous answer applies here too. It is about being immersed in nature to the point where you realise you are part of it. And Buddhafield crews know from long deep experience of living on the land how to support everyone to do that. Their expertise and ingenuity is very impressive.

What do people tend to experience moving from the Total Immersion retreat back into daily life? What benefit does an extended period of meditation such as this have on people’s day-to-day life in the modern world?

People will vary but most will experience a lasting boost to their clarity and confidence. Leaving the beauty of retreat may be a bit challenging for some, but even that is educative and in the long term will make our lives more authentic, natural and real. 

Bookings are now open for our Total Immersion retreat for both two week and month-long options.
The retreat starts on 20th May 2016, with the two week option ending on 3rd June and the whole retreat ending on 17th June.


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February 2016 Newsletter

Happy New Year to all our Buddhafield friends!

Though it’s cold outside, it’s time to start thinking about warm times and friendship, so here is a little update on our exciting plans for the coming year!

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Buddhafield Festival – Tickets now available
We are very excited to let you know that booking is now open for this year’s Buddhafield Festival! The Festival runs from Wednesday 13th to Sunday 17th July, near Taunton, Somerset. The theme for this year’s festival is Courageous Compassion.
Early Bird Tickets have now sold out, but it’s a great time to get in early and bag your festival ticket – at £140 for the whole five-day festival, it’s a steal.

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Festival Workshop Applications – Now Open
We want to let everyone know that applications to offer a workshop, a talk or an independent space at the Buddhafield Festival are open from the 18th January to 28th February 2016.

If you have ever thought that you wanted to share your skills in a workshop, give a talk on your experiences or create a unique space at the festival, here is your chance to offer it. If you know someone who you think would be a great workshop leader, let them know too. Just go to the website for more information or click on Workshop Leaders and tell us all about what you want to do.

We are really looking forward to hearing from you and co-creating another wonderful festival together in 2016.

If you are interested in applying to offer treatments or a therapy, please note that applications for the Healing Garden open on 1 April 2016.

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Volunteering at Buddhafield Festival and Buddhafield Retreats
Buddhafield is supported by a wonderful team of volunteers, whose generosity and warm-heartedness breathes life into all our events. We are looking for volunteers for our Retreats programme and for our Festival.

Volunteering is a wonderful and rewarding way to experience Buddhafield Festival, and we would love to hear from you if you are considering volunteering. We will be looking to put together a set of effective teams, working in a spirit of friendship to put in place everything necessary to make the Buddhafield Festival happen. This will include volunteers for the Festival Cafe, as well as all other practical parts of the festival. Please look at our Festival Volunteers page for further information.

Buddhafield also runs a full programme of retreats through the year, which are an opportunity to take a break from everyday routines and to experience oneself anew in the stillness and beauty of nature. On our retreats we look for inspiration in the Buddha’s teaching and in the natural world, while living simply and kindly in a supportive communal environment, and volunteers are a key part of this. If you would like to volunteer at a retreat please go to our Retreat Support page.

Wishing you many blessings for a wonderful 2016!

The Buddhafield Team


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May 2015 Newsletter

Buddhafield Festival 2015 15-19 July

This year Buddhafield will be basing its programme around the theme of “Awakened Awareness”. Programme details are starting to emerge; check out the highlights below and book tickets on the Buddhafield website!

The Dharma Parlour


Without the Buddha and his teachings there would not be a Buddhafield Festival, and there certainly would not be a Dharma Parlour. But what exactly did the Buddha have to say and how do his teachings apply to us, in our time, with its highly demanding conditions? The Dharma Parlour aims to offer answers in the context of a lively, varied and abundant programme of talks and events by experienced teachers from the Triratna Buddhist Order and other traditions. Hightlights from this year’s programme will include:

  • Kamalashila, What on Earth is Awareness?
  • Chris Cullen, Chocolate, Pandas and Electric Shocks: the Mindfulness in Schools Project.
  • Caroline Brazier, Whose World Are You In? The mindfulness practice of awakening to others.
  • Billy Frugal, Awakening Awareness In Community.
  • Kids Mindfulness with Daisy.
  • Kamalanandi, Parenting as Dharma Practice.
  • Amaragita, The Power of Enquiry.
  • Study with Dhivan.
  • The Work that Reconnects.
  • Jayaraja, Mindfulness, Sex and Drugs.
  • Vimalasara, 8 Steps to Recovery.
  • Dharmashalin, Awareness is Revolutionary.
  • Upayavira, Meditation for Parents.
  • Yashobodhi, Maitridevi, Bhutan Nuns, Eco-Dharma, Kara Moses, Huw Wyn, Amida Trust, fireside Dharma storytelling.

Workshops

We are proud of our rich programme of workshops, available for nearly 12 hours every day in at least 5 venues. Access to all workshops is included as part of a ticket price and there’s a workshop to interest everyone! You could try:

Ecstatic dance and Living Love workshops with Jewels Wingfield. Talks from Mac Macartney, founder of Embercombe, on indigenous wisdom. Soulful Singing with Mahasukha. Danceitation from Jayagita. Comedy via The Edinburgh Fringe: “Kindness” from Sam Brady. Earthdances, pan-African dance with Denise Rowe. Sweat lodge. Biodanza. Tai chi and qi gong. Silent Disco 5rhythms in the woods. Archery. How To Talk to Kids. Conscious Speed Dating. Laughter workshops. Shamanic journeying. Queer Tea Party. Beat boxing. Barefoot running. Wild writing. 5Rhythms. Hugging workshops. Adult games. Hula hooping. Naked Rhythms dancing.

Land and Permaculture Area

In this year’s Land and Permaculture Area we will have fantastic permaculture teachers, gardeners, smallholders, and community dwellers sharing a host of skills for living off-grid, low impact and in tune with the seasons. We’ll have foraging, fire lighting, bird language interpretation and natural beekeeping, to name but a few. Plus a wide range of green crafts showing you how to carve wood, metal, stone, glass, and weave willow, fleece, and flax.


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April Newsletter

Just 7 Weeks To Go Until Our Green Earth Awakening Camp!

Thursday 21 — Monday 25 May 2015. More information and booking on the website, but check out the workshop line up so far:

* Jamie Catto * The Mindfulness Exchange * The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research * Landworkers Alliance * The Permaculture Association * Schumacher College * Tinkers Bubble * Landmatters * The RSPB * The Woodland Trust * The Really Wild Forest School.

* Peg Loom Weaving * Wayne’s Woods Spoon Carving * Wood Turning * Blacksmithing * Basket Weaving * Willow Domes * Drop Spindle * Felt Making * Clay Play, Pottery & Pit Firing * Primitive Crafts * Rocket Stoves.

* Earth Dances with Denise Rowe * Contact Improvisation Dance * Qi Gong * Partner Yoga * Rhythms & Body Percussion * Harmony Singing * Mbira * Storytelling * Rumi Poetry * Nature Writing * Focusing.

* Permaculture Design with Aranya * The No-Dig Allotment * Orchard Management * Forest Gardening * Foraging * Planning for Low Impact Development * Harvesting & Preserving * Skills for Setting Up Co-ops, CLTs & Land Projects * Mac Macartney of Embercombe.

* The work That Reconnects * Nature Connection * Growing Self Love * Compassionate Communication * Eco-Feminism * Art and Activism.

Phew! All this in 5 days … plus a daily timetable of meditation, Buddhist teachings, body work and healing area. And don’t forget to unwind in the wood fired sauna, hot tub and hot showers. Oh, and of course there is the fantastic collection of acoustic musicians and storytellers that will be gathered by the fire every evening. And the solar cinema showing inspiring films for our current times. Plus delicious organic food from the Buddhafield Café, The Outer Regions Café and The Peasants Lunch Box Café

Total Immersion: Meditating With The Trees

Paramananda & Maitridevi; Monday 7 September — Saturday 3 October 2015 (first two weeks Monday 7 September — Saturday 19 September). More information and booking.

A retreat for lovers of meditation, and for those who want to learn to love meditation. We invite you to join us in creating a silent meditation community in the magical meadows & woods of Easterbrook, Devon.

This month-long retreat is a unique opportunity to deepen practice intimate with the beauty and teachings of the natural world.

Living a life stripped down to its essentials we become sensitive again to the language of the birds. As our inner chatter falls away, our minds and hearts open to each other.

Paramananda has been leading retreats for thirty years and has a distinctive style that stresses body and heart as keys to opening to the nature of reality. He is the author of several books on meditation.

Maitridevi has spent 20 years living communities & working in team-based right livelihoods She has a love of meditating in nature, and of engaging the imagination through myth & ritual.

Dharmamrta will be teaching Scaravelli yoga. The ethos of this way of working is to soften and open into a greater sense of relaxation and ease.

Women’s Retreat: Eyes Of Love

Dayajoti, Maitridevi & Sukkhasiddhi; Friday 5 June — Friday 12 June 2015. More information and booking.

How we regard ourselves and the world determines what we see. Looking with eyes of love we can live with a sense of connection, openness and clarity. The programme for this retreat will be full of exploration through meditation, ritual, movement, myth and storytelling as we seek to bring the insight of love into our gaze. There will be plenty of silence too.

We will be holding this retreat in the magical woods of Broadhembury, where we will be living, practising, and working together as a community. (This site does need a level of fitness that can cope with uphill walks to the shrine area).

Two New Events In Sussex

Buddhism and the Path of Parenting

Weekend 5 — 7 June, open to adults and children at Spoods Farm, Sussex. With Ketuhridaya, Tejomala and team. More information and booking.

Join us in the beautiful fields and woodland of Sussex for a Buddhafield family weekend retreat. We will explore and celebrate the path of practising Buddhism and parenting. We will engage in Dharma practice, talks, and discussion as well as physical games for all ages, green craft with woodwork and other activities. This gathering offers a real opportunity for us to connect with the beauty of the land and each other practising together with our families.

The Mandala of Deep Purpose

Week 8 — 14 June 2015, open to all adults at Spoods Farm, Sussex. With Indrabodhi, Sagaravajra, Panya and team. More information and booking.

Direct experience leads us to encounter life in its fullness. When experience is filtered through personal ‘stories’ rooted in fear, anxiety and resistance we are no longer alive to the present moment. When our decisions come from an awakened awareness we begin to live a life that aligns with our ‘deep purpose. ’ Come and join us as we turn towards our experience through meditation and a symbolic journey to the centre of our personal mandala, supported by spiritual friends and the healing power of nature.


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Green Earth Awakening Camp 2015: Transfrom, Sustain, Thrive

Thursday 21st — Monday 25th May 2015, booking: www.buddhafield.com/gea

In just 10 weeks Buddhafield will bring you its third Green Earth Awakening Camp on the Blackdown Hills. The crew are preparing to welcome the volunteers that will help build and nurture this unique platform for creativity, community and insight.

Site Crew Needed

This is a community building exercise, not just work, work, work. We will spend nine days setting up, but you’ll be able to enjoy the event while it’s on. More information on the GEA volunteering page, or just drop us an email.

The Programme

What is it? A five day camp exploring how Buddhism can help us along the path towards community and sustainability. With green crafts, engaged dharma, social change, forest school, healing area and a daily timetable of workshops, talks, meditation, yoga, qi gong, dance and music. An intimate gathering to deepen into ourselves and a wider awareness. Tools for the mind, skills for our future.

What’s it about? Faced as we are by the threat of climate change, dwindling resources and violent conflict, it is important that we take to heart the need to transform ourselves and engage with the significant problems of the world, not from a reaction to them, but from a higher perspective of insight and love.

The theme for this year: Transform, Sustain, Thrive. By awakening our awareness we can engage in the world with a deepened presence and can begin to mindfully sustain ourselves in our daily lives, in community and in the wider world. By feeling the benefit of sustaining all life, we can become empowered to thrive.

“Fantastic — small, intimate, with rich variety of workshops both creative and informative.”
“So much on offer from fantastic, knowledgeable people.”
“Felt so safe to bring my daughters here and allow them free range.”
“The meditation area (on top of the hill) is the best site I have experienced at any festival /camp. Profound stillness.”

Here is a little taster of some of the delights to come …

Jamie Catto | www.jamiecatto.com

“We’re on a mission to make self-reflection hip for just a moment, just long enough to save us. If we can all collectively acknowledge our insanity, shrug and roll our eyes at each other at how nuts it is being a human, let alone having to pretend every day that we’re normal, the amount of energy we’ll inherit that has been wasted on the mask will be enough to creatively solve any global crisis.”

Jamie Catto, creator, producer/director of the multi-award winning global 1 Giant Leap films and albums and founder member of Faithless is now leading uniquely transformative workshops and one-on-one sessions. Drawing from the richly diverse wisdom, techniques and processes he has encountered during his ground-breaking filming, recording, philosophy voyages across all 5 continents, he is weaving these creative techniques and exercises to spark both Professional and Personal breakthroughs.

“Jamie Catto is a human icebreaker with a prow of determination and a motor of love, slicing through the frozen seas around us.” Tom Robbins

Heike Schroeder from The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research | www.tyndall.ac.uk

Dr Heike Schroeder is a Senior Lecturer and Course Director of the University of East Anglia’s MSc in Climate Change and International Development in the School of International Development. Heike teaches widely in the areas of climate change politics, globalisation and the environment, sustainability, environment and business, cities and climate change, natural resources and the environment, and forests, and co-leads a research theme of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Heike’s research examines how national boundaries can be bridged to solve trans-national or global environmental problems, and how local, national, and international decisions differ in their abilities to solve environmental problems.

Mark Leonard from The Mindfulness Exchange | mindfulness-exchange.com

Before working with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre (OMC), Mark’s career explored means to manage natural resources sustainably. Around ten years ago he came to the conclusion that wisdom from Buddhist tradition would provide the means for achieving sustainable development if it could be applied in contemporary society. Through his involvement with the OMC, he has been able to realise his vision, applying the scientific understanding of mindfulness developed in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), to mindfulness training in the workplace with The Mindfulness Exchange.

Denise Rowe with Earthdances | www.earthdances.co.uk

Earth Dances arises from a fertile meeting ground between traditional and neo-traditional pan-African dance and non-stylised and environmental movement, drawing also on threads from Shiatsu, Aikido and Shamanic traditions.

These dance and movement forms share an implicit commonality: They are dances in connection with the cosmos, they are the awakening of the whole being in relation with environment and the awakening of the body-in-movement’s wisdom, a wisdom that arises when being is awake to itself.

Groundspring Network and Landworkers Alliance | landworkersalliance.org.uk

Calling all starter farmers, urban veg growers, beginner beekeeping collectives, CSAs, emerging dairyers, meat producers, educator….

We are a collective of entrant farmers, growers, woodsmen, beekeepers, cheese makers, mushroom pickers, and more. We are a burgeoning community spread across the UK, finding a bigger voice and new energy in coming together. We come from many different “camps”; organic/biodynamic/permaculture/forest gardening, some of us don’t subscribe to any particular camp, we are above all non-denominational. We are young and old in years. We work in both urban and rural landscapes. As individuals starting out in sustainable agriculture we are not isolated and alone, hopeless and surrounded by endless fields of industrial agriculture. We are already acting to build a resilient food system for our future. We are braced and booted and seek to be united.

And here are just some of the other workshops on offer…

  • The Work That Reconnects
  • Permaculture Principles and Design
  • The Permaculture Association
  • Growing Self Love
  • Compassionate Communication
  • Co-ops and Community
  • Eco-Feminism
  • Eco-Psychology
  • Embodied Presence Contact Improvisation
  • Nature Writing
  • Building an Eco House
  • Focusing
  • Introduction to Buddhism
  • Harmony Singing
  • Storytelling
  • Rhythms and Body Percussion
  • Yoga
  • Qi Gong
  • Foraging
  • Peg Loom Weaving
  • Spoon Carving
  • Felt Making
  • Blacksmithing
  • Basket Weaving
  • Willow Dome Construction
  • Drop Spindle

Keep checking our Facebook page for more updates.


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The Hearth-less.

Good Afternoon Buddhafielder’s!

I firstly would just like to apologise for not writing anything on this bog for such a long time. I have ideas and things to say but then find that I don’t prioritise it in the way that I do for so many other aspects of the work I do with Buddhafield. If I am completely honest I think that quite a lot of this is fear based as well. Putting myself up on the screen is somehow massively exposing but what do I write for if it isn’t to reach at least one person heart?

I intend to be a bit more involved with this blog and my invisible audience this year and I want to do this to create some kind of hearth, or heart to draw all the people of Buddhafield together; through my stories of the glories of working for Buddhafield and the miseries of working for Buddhafield. It is nothing like sitting around a real fire but the storytelling element is something so necessary at keeping the idea of a hearth alive. I feel the lack of a hearth in my life, especially over the winter so this is for the follow hearth-less out there!

I have thought a lot about fire over this winter and interestingly I stumbled into a talk given by two women last week in Totnes. The talk was about there adventures of living a stone age life for 6 months last year in America.The spoke so deeply and authentically of what that experience meant to them, of what is it to be human and how humanity is losing it’s tender touch. I don’t know if anyone out there has had the experience of hearing a story and knowing it to be true, knowing that you already know that thing you are being told. This talk was like that. These two women were talking to an ancestral part of me and the ancestral part of me was delighting in being given a space to hear, see and integrate into my modern life.

The talk started with fire. They said that all creatures move away from fire except for humans that walk towards it, gather around it, use it, control it for warmth, light, comfort, dramatic effect! Of course!! It made so much sense to me in that moment. We as a species thrive with fire.

I believe that this is one of the fundamental things that our culture lacks these days, a place to gather to tell stories, sing songs, recite poetry and to practise all these arts. It is in this telling of ancient wisdom that, in my experience, makes us not feel so alone. We all need to feel more connected to our ancestral ways, we all need a hearth to tell our stories around and we all need to know how to make and sustain fire. These simple acts makes for a more unified society, more unified communities. I talk from a place where I cannot easily make fire in the winter months and it is one of the things that I look forward to more then anything else when the summer and the Buddhafield circus rolls into the fields.

Gathering around fire was the best thing about last summer, the songs the spontaneously arose during the Green Earth Awakening during the long July nights and at the end of the summer laying beside a roaring fire, wrapped in blankets in early October, after a month of focused inquiry leading to blissful understanding, underneath the clearest of night skies. The sense of completeness was unparalleled. I felt deeply connected to the land and humanity.

Last Summer is all a memory now and the coming season is getting more and more present as everything starts to gather more energy. Sitting around fires has never been such a real thing for me and I offer it to all wish to deepen the warmth in there hearts.

Becoming one with hearth and not hearth-less.

 

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