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.

Total Immersion 2014: The Teaching Team

Vajrapriya, Maitridevi and Kamalashila have all worked together before on this retreat in different guises, and it promises to be a lively and substantial team. Introductions to the team below, but there’s  more about the retreat, it’s theme — The Foundations of Mindfulness — and booking on the main Buddhafield website.

Vajrapriya was ordained in 2002 and has lived in Cambridge ever since, but last year he went on retreat for a whole year. He’s been on a number of Total Immersion retreats, finds them elemental, and this time is looking forward to co-leading. That elemental quality suits his meditation style — embodied, direct and non-competitive. He has a very active mind and has to work to incorporate its energy without over-identifying with it.

Talk by Vajrapriya on Vimeo: Living a Meaningful Life

Vajrapriya takes the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path – rebranding it as the Meaningful Eightfold Path – and considers how it’s eight areas contribute to a meaningful life, and how following it eventually eliminates the whole problem of meaninglessness. Second of three talks in the series “Reality and what to do about it”, given at the Cambridge Buddhist Centre in November 2010.

Maitridevi, who co-led last year’s Total Immersion, is presently a homeless spiritual adventurer, having until recently been Finance Director at Windhorse:Evolution in Cambridge. She has a love of meditating in nature, yoga, swimming in rivers and hiding in forests, and her passion is exploring how to engage the imagination in her practice. She responds to exemplification far more than theory.

Talk by Maitridevi on YouTube: The Tender Gravity of Kindness

How to find depth in a superficial world — a talk about love and longing and the way that they pull us deeper into life. Given at Buddhafield Festival 2013 in the Dharma Parlour.

Kamalashila has been leading the Total Immersion retreat every other year. He’s in London nowadays, though for some years he lived as part of the Buddhafield collective in Devon. He enjoys more than anything else communicating his experience of Buddhism, meditation and mindfulness — something he’s done over many years. He has founded Dharma centres in London and Wales, written a best selling book on meditation, and lived four years in Wales as a hermit.

Talk by Kamalashila on YouTube: Mind full of passion

“Shouldn’t you be passionate in all you do? Probably, but how to distinguish between that and self-centred craving? A look at the issue of what we want.” Given at the Buddhafield Festival 2011 in the Dharma Parlour.

Buddhism and the Natural World: Deep Ecology, Deep Dharma

Kamalashila lives in West Hampstead, London, with Dharmacharini Yashobodhi. In 1974 he was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order by Urgyen Sangharakshita who gave him his Dharma name, “Kamalashila” — “He whose conduct (śila, Sanskrit) is like a red lotus (kamala)”. He’s the author of Buddhist Meditation: Tranquillity, Imagination and Insight (Windhorse Publications, 3rd Revised edition edition 2012) and leading this year’s Buddhafield Total Immersion Retreat, a month-long, silent meditation camping retreat in Devon.

He is by temperament rather shy, quiet and thoughtful, but he has been active for forty years teaching meditation, establishing communities, writing and leading Dharma study. In 1976 he founded the West London Buddhist Centre near Earls Court; he moved to Wales in 1979 and became a founder of Vajraloka Meditation Centre and later Vajrakuta, Triratna’s first residential Dharma study centre. He also has longstanding connections with Buddhafield and EcoDharma.

This is a talk he gave to members of the Triratna Buddhist Order (then still known as the Western Buddhist Order) in 2005. Some of the themes he covers are very relevant to Buddhafield’s Green Earth Awakening Camp (May 16–21 2014).

You can find this and many other talks by Kamalashila on Free Buddhist Audio.

1. Parami: introduction (3:15).

2. Kamalashila: environmentalism in the early days of the FWBO; Vajraloka; reactions in ’80s & ’90s; a contemporary shift (2:47).

3. A personal experience of participation in nature; nature and Buddha Nature; alienation from the natural world (4:52).

4. Deep ecology as a way to insight; changing our sense of identity and ownership; deep ecology and ethics (4:26).

5. Aldo Leopold; owning beings and land as unethical; the experience of being in the countryside; meditation and the “Four Great Elements” — “Mahabhutas”; nature and seeing beyond ego (8:40).

6. Transcending self & other; our limited idea of “all beings” and the experience of other creatures (3:07).

7. Not dismissing non-humans; relative separation from the natural world; anthropocentrism versus ecocentrism; awareness of non-human beings and ethics (5:33).

8. Communal living; single sex; the underside of the development of communities; mixed communities and the benefits of other mixed environments (4:31).

9. Sangharakshita’s book review on DH Lawrence and the Spiritual Community — four principles of spiritual community; sexual relationships and community living (7:17).

10. A personal vision of mixed communities; deep ecology and community living (2:27).