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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Help Wanted!

If you want a new challenge, an experience of right livelihood and community, or if you have wanted to be part of the Buddhafield team, get in touch now.

We need people throughout the spring and summer to be part of the team that makes Buddhafield happen — building the spaces, creating the community, running the events and cooking the food. If you have any experience that’s great; if not we can train you in first aid, cooking, building structures and more at our Team Retreat April 24th to 29th 2015.

For more information email volunteer@buddhafield.com


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Welcome to the 2015 Buddhafield Programme!

Fanfare and Flourish … Let the Ceremony Begin!

Buddhafield Festival: Awakened Awareness

Wednesday 15 — Sunday 19 July 2015, Blackdown Hills, Somerset

The Buddhafield Festival is back! 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.

Save £17 per adult by buying one of the limited-availability Earlybird Tickets, now on sale through the Buddhafield website.

Green Earth Awakening: Transform, Sustain, Thrive

Thursday 21 — Monday 25 May 2015, Blackdown Hills, Somerset

Connect with the land, learn vital skills and explore pathways towards a sustainable future. Featuring a range of green crafts, social change and ecology workshops. There will be meditation and Dharma talks, giving us the spiritual context to empower us to change. Plus dance, yoga and live music giving us the movement and play to connect as community and engage together. Tickets now on sale.

Buddhafield Retreat Programme

1 — 8 May, Ashdown Forest Retreat: Spinning Yarns, Telling Stories in the Forest

5 — 12 June, Women’s Retreat: Eyes of Love

15 — 21 June, Men’s Retreat: Lightning from the Earth

1 — 6 August, Family Friendly Village Retreat 1: Mind Reactive, Mind Creative

8 — 15 August, Family Friendly Village Retreat 2: Mind Reactive, Mind Creative

25 — 30 August, Big Summer Retreat: Awareness is Revolutionary

7 September — 3 October, Total Immersion Retreat: Meditating with the Trees

So there it all is! You can see the complete retreat programme on the website. Alternatively, you can book using the forms in the printed programme which will be winging it’s way to you (if you are on our mailing list) or to a Triratna Buddhist Centre near you in the next few weeks.

See you in a field!


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GEA 2014 Workshops Update 2: Daily Timetable

Wednesday 16 – Sunday 20 July 2014: booking is still open. You can contact us about the GEA.

Daily Timetable

  • 6.30—8am, Kundalini yoga, Workshop Space 1.
  • 7.15—8am, Meditation, Meditation Space.
  • 8.15—9am, Meditation, Meditation Space .
  • Beginners Meditation, Dharma Dome.
  • 8—9.30am, Hatha Yoga, Workshop Space 1.
  • 9—10am, Qi Gong, Workshop Space 2.
  • 7—11am, breakfast in Buddhafield Café.
  • 10—5pm, workshops (check info boards for what’s on).
  • 11.15—12.45, talk, Dharma Dome.
  • 12—3pm, lunch in Buddhafield Cafe.
  • 3.45—5.15, talk, Dharma Dome.
  • 5.30—6.15, Meditation, Meditation Space.
  • Yoga, Workshop Space 2.
  • 5—9pm, dinner in Buddhafield Café.
  • 7.30pm Ritual .
  • Evening: live music; dance; cinema in the Buddhafield Café.

Additions to the programme

Communicating Across the Species Boundary with Jo Goldsmid. An exploration of self and other in the more-than-human world using body, speech and mind. Also known as earthwhispering or a little nature tête à tête.

ScrapMonkey Recycled copper jewellery, scrap copper bangles and recycled notebooks out of reclaimed lino.

Permaculture, Nature Connection and Foraging with Klaudia Van Gool.

Permaculture Workshops with Aranya; Patterns in Permaculture Design with Aranya. Nature abounds with beautiful patterns, but why do we see the same forms repeating over and over again? Discover how we can use these patterns to most effectively perform specific functions, such as conserving energy or distributing resources. This workshop will show you a new way to see the world. Permaculture Design: Step by Step; Permaculture offers so many great possibilities, but with so much choice where do you start? Determined to figure this out for himself, Aranya ended up writing a book to make sense of this. In this workshop he shares the key things he has learned along the way to help you create great designs for yourself. Real Wealth and Wiser Money; the current money system may be the reason why our beautiful Earth is being so dangerously exploited, but exchange is not only natural but essential to a strong community. Come along to discover how we can do this so much better & how you may have more to offer your community than you realise.

Mindful Living — Meditation on the Move. Binley Farm and Wake Up Uk are sister communities practicing mindful living; a residential retreat centre and a community of young engaged mindfulness practitioners. Join us in exploring and experiencing how mindfulness can be practiced off the cushion and into society, relationships, and everyday tasks. See also Wake Up London.

Barefoot Running with Matthew Adams. Exercises to get in touch with and listen more deeply to how our bodies want to move and run when we take shoes away; how our bodies are naturally designed to move and run.

Embodied Feminine Way. What is your authentic feminine expression and your gifts to this world? Landing in your womb, finding your truth as woman. Performance-the Gift of You; working with presence and expression in spontaneous, personal sharing of your self. Exploring giving and receiving of attention, play, coming forward with your unique gifts. Agata Krajewska is a Bodymind Therapist and group facilitator, working with the Deep Feminine and Personal Expression. She brings new perspectives and an invitation to self-compassion. See Soul in the workplace.

Hindustani Singing A beginners’ workshop in Hindustani (North Indian) classical singing.

Barefoot Books celebrate art and story that opens the hearts and minds of children from all walks of life, inspiring them to read deeper, search further, and explore their own creative gifts. Amelia, Barefoot Books Ambassador from Devon, will be sharing some of these wonderful books.

Contact Improvisation Alistair Edmunds has been dancing CI for over 6 years, with a diverse range of movement backgrounds, Martial arts, Climbing, Yoga, Tango, Qi gong. Interests in BMC (body mind centring). CI is an improvised dance form involving connection to a least one other person and improvisation around that point of contact, It is an open ended exploration into movement and space, where each individual is invited to find their own way and follow their own curiosity. See Bristol Contact Improvisation.


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GEA 2014 Workshops Update 1: Land Skills & Green Crafts

Oak Clan Forge

photoTake a journey back to the iron-age and learn the ancient arts of metal work with blacksmith, Simon Summers. Hand craft your own tools and pendants, and use the technique of “repoussé” to create Celtic copper bangles and sacred offerings. With a charcoal fired clay forge, powered by leather bellows, Oak Clan Forge invites adults and children to sit by the fire and explore their hidden potential to create ancient treasures.

Milly Peds

Repairing, recycling, adjustments and all things bicycle. Hands on workshops to show how to adjust/repair gears including hub gears, brakes and most other parts of the bicycle, info given on disability cycle issues, electric bikes, safe cycling, recycle of parts for re-use and checking for faults.

downloadMilly Peds came into creation seven years ago, developing on from my many years of mechanical experience. Among my offerings I deliver repair courses, cycle training, working with disadvantaged youth and setting up and running events. I have 20 years experience in the entertainment, environmental and educational sectors.

Milly Peds will offer an info point with literature on most aspects of cycling, such as what type of bike to buy for what use, female specific issues, building crazy bikes, employment, and much more, also a small selection of recycled folding bikes, normal ones, and even vintage for sale.

Milly Peds promote and encourage cycling for all abilities. “We aim to take as much from the waste stream to put back to good use, so saving on our carbon footprint, and enable others to be aware of the opportunities to recycle a very large number of bicycles thrown away every year.”

www.millypeds.co.uk

Wild Stoves


Burning Wood Efficiently: Principles of Rocket and Woodgas Stoves.
Come and learn about the holy trinity of wood combustion: “time, turbulence and temperature”! We’ll be lighting up various rocket and woodgas stoves and discussing the simple, but ingenious principles used to harness more heat from wood (or even generate electricity!). The workshop will also touch on DIY methods and materials.

A “stove anorak”, Jonathan Rouse works as a scientific advisor on efficient stoves across the developing world. Wild Stoves was founded by Jonathan Rouse in 2010. After a decade spent working with wood energy in developing countries, he thought it was about time his friends here in the UK got access to some of the fabulous devices on offer. Jonathan continues to work as an advisor to organisations ranging from the UN to small charities in Africa and Asia. The Wild Stoves Foundation was established in 2011 to raise money for select projects.

www.wildstoves.co.uk

The Travelling Tuffeteer, Joanna Vosper

Create your own tuffet. Eco-friendly and lightweight to enjoy for the festie and beyond!

The “tuffet” — a wonderfully comfortable seat pad made entirely of woven wool. After in-depth research I discovered the secret of this wonderful experience of “bottom heaven”. It seems selfish to not share this comfort with friends and other like-minded people and so begins the creation of The Travelling Tuffeteer and the slogan “Bottom Heaven since 2011”. The tuffet is organic, water resistant due to the natural lanolin and is deliciously sheepy!

thetravellingtuffeteer.blogspot.com

Windy Smithy

Blacksmithing and copper bowl making with the Windy Smithy. Owned and operated by Jon Snow, who has been working with metal since 1996, the Windy Smithy operates on a semi-mobile basis from the Blackdown Hills in Devon. Originally inspired by the desire to make quality hand tools for developing communities, he went on to study Blacksmithing and Metalwork at Hereford College. The first incarnation of the Windy Smithy was a forge made from a gas bottle, powered by a wind generator.

“I provide all that I can for a wide range of craftsmen, who have been having difficulty in finding the hand tool for the job, and I am happy to research a particular tool and to produce it, using either the traditional techniques, or modern methods, saving time and effort. I have travelled extensively in Scandinavia, learning relevant skills with a wide variety of toolsmiths, with many thanks to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust for inspiration and support.”

www.windysmithy.co.uk

Wayne’s Woods

wayne 2Spoon Carving, shave-horsing and pole lathing. Wayne’s workshops are popular at festivals across the country and include “I love the way that giving someone the chance to experience something that is closer to where I believe we need to be can have a massive influence on a person and help them to see life in a more sympathetic, realistic way. Skills such as shave-horsing, pole-lathing, weaving and carving help a person connect to something more primeval within them and also allow time for reflection within oneself. Spoon carving is amongst these empowering activities and needs to be promoted in as many ways as possible….”
www.wayneswoods.co.uk

Living Willow Lincoln


Earth Loom Weaving and Willow Dome Construction.
Earth loom weaving is a peaceful and creative way to connect with each other. By weaving a beautiful outdoor tapestry we are symbolising the interwoven nature of community and the world around us.

Living Willow Lincoln builds willow structures, mainly in schools and run workshops in willow weaving, green woodworking, woodland skills for children, and art based projects with the earth loom.

Our earth loom is a large, outdoor wooden structure, strung and ready for us to weave on. We gather natural materials from our surroundings and combine them with recycled materials that when woven together create a beautiful tapestry. We are passionate about weaving as a powerful and ancient art that symbolises the intention of weaving together the fabric of community in a peaceful and creative way that deepens our connection to nature.

www.livingwillowlincoln.co.uk

Make a Cob Rocket Stove

Practical session of cob work — learn how to make a cob mix and construct a rocket stove for cooking with at Peasants Lunch Box Cafe.

Woolly Umbrella

Spinning, Felt Making, Natural Dyeing, Weaving and general sheep based products.

Willow Plant Holders and Basketry


Kim Creswell creates willow sculptures, hedgerow crafts & willow weaving courses. Generally made from Dorset hedgerow materials and willow cut herself, sometimes combined with willow grown on the nearby Somerset Levels. You will find that all workshops are natural crafts which do not rely on the use of fossil fuels and are appropriate to the area in which they are held.

www.kimcreswell.co.uk


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Interview: Rosie Lancaster

Rosie Lancaster is Green Earth Awakening Workshops Co-ordinator. Interview by Satyadarshin

 This is our second GEA; what have you changed this year?
I think last year worked quite well having spaces in the programme where people could be together outside of the workshops. But I’d like to see more of that: last year it was still quite tight; lunch was a narrow window in relation to time slots for the programme. I want more crafts, more independent spaces, more transferable skills; someone should be able learn something at the GEA, go home and do it. That feels like more of a life changing experience: they have that wow! moment, where they walk away and feel that they’ve accomplished something. People could feel that they’re going on a journey through the event, rather than “Oh! I’ve got a slot now; lets get to the blacksmith!” I’m aiming to pull it all together with a bit more of an emphasis on the theme. The Dharma talks are what will underpin it, really good speakers that embrace the theme.

rosieTractor

Rosie, GEA Workshops Co-ordinator

What do you see the difference between the Buddhafield Festival’s Permaculture Area, and the GEA?
I’m actually trying to make a connection more obvious. At the Buddhafield Festival we have the Dharma Parlour over there and Permaculture over here. In my view they should be in the same space. So trying to to get that link in, that it’s not about doing your green crafts, then trying to get your meditation in. The two are so fundamentally linked, that the only way change can happen in the future is that people recognise that we are so fundamentally linked.

We’ve talked about linking the theme to this year’s Triratna International Retreat: The Bodhisattva’s Reply; I suppose we’re training our Bodhisattvas aren’t we?
Yes, yes I think so. Individual input into the world, so to speak, in relation to other individuals. It links in with the prophecy of the Shambhala Warrior: “The Shambhala workers go into the corridors of power armed with the only tools that the barbarians don’t understand, and for which there is no defence. The tools of the Shambhala workers are compassion for all, and knowledge of the connectedness of all things. Both are necessary.” The Bodhisattva vow came up quite a lot last year and just hit the spot for me: this is about all of us standing up and facing the world for each other, that it’s all our responsibility. One person can make a difference; believe in that. It’s not a question of feeling a horror of what’s going on in the world and needing to do something about it, of feeling responsible and therefore we “should”. It’s to do with the sense of deep ecology, that we’re so interconnected that there’s no way of standing outside from it, we are part of it. You’re breathing, so you have to do something. And that was the root of it for me, the notion of deep ecology , of it being so obviously Dharmic.

Horrified anxiety isn’t the fuel for the future, then?
No. A love and a compassion, and a will, and a “wow! I’m part of this!”. Protests, activism and the need for social change, can really emphasise the devastation … but the connection, that’s got to be the compassion of moving forward. So that’s why the Dharma Parlour and Permaculture Areas are moving forward together. In the Buddhafield Festival Permaculture Area, we’ve got Green Crafts and we’ve got Social Change, so in a sense the GEA is an extension of that, but a lot more in depth.

The GEA is increasing the sense of intimacy?
Yes, at the Buddhafield Festival people do become ships passing in the night; you’ve got your timetable, you jot your workshops down on the back of your hand, you’re running to the next thing. Whereas with a structured timetable, you’re eating together, you have a chance to network and I think that’s really important; like-minded people, people who feel the way you do, get into groups together and that brings a sense of community. You’re doing it together. You go to one workshop and feel really moved, go to the next one and it might be the same group of people. And I think in that sense you’re not alone. I think that can be quite powerful. So I’m hoping that that’s different from a Permaculture Area at the Festival.


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Interview: Ratnadeva

Ratnadeva was ordained by Kamalashila at Guhyaloka retreat centre, Spain, in the summer of 2013 .

So, the 2014 season is upon us. How’s it going so far?
Well, we’ve got a full retreats programme, ten events, and we’ve also got the exciting Triratna International Retreat. This year we’re collaborating with Adhisthana for the first time. It’ll be fun trying out a new site, having got used to working with Taraloka, which was a delight. It’s also going to be a delight working with Adhisthana because there’s a sense that we’re very much at the centre of Triratna when we collaborate on this event. For us it’s an opportunity to get better known throughout the movement. It’s kind of a shop window for Buddhafield.

ratnadevaFor me, one of the big flavours of the coming year is the word “change”. We’ve got a lot changing within Buddhafield in terms of people involved and we are in the process of reorganising, so as to make the best use of the limited resources. I suppose it’s a challenge and an exciting opportunity this coming year in terms of reorganising, finding a structure and a way of working that means we can put the events on that we have planned and people don’t get worn out. People don’t have to overdo it. And that probably means trying to involve the circles of people that are interested in Buddhafield and have been helping us over the years … I think we need to reach out more. That’s one of the main themes of the coming year, find ways to reach out; tell people that we need them and provide the opportunities for the people out there to get involved. I have this sense, this image in my head, of concentric circles around Buddhafield, of different levels of involvement, it may be hundreds, it may be over a thousand of people that, at some point in the last few years have been involved, been inspired by their involvement with Buddhafield. And that’s a resource, their interest in helping us, their interest in getting involved is what we need to tap into.

What is it that we need to do to keep people involved and motivated?
I think what we put on is inspiring in itself. We don’t really need to go outside of that because it’s already quite versatile. It’s versatile from the point of view of the events themselves; you look at the range we have in any given year. We don’t have a Yatra this year, but for several years now we’ve had a walking retreat; such a different experience to, say, the Total Immersion where we’ve had experienced meditators going deeper over four weeks, in silence. And then a very different event is of course the Family Friendly Village Retreat for up to 260 people, a third of them children, experiencing retreat-like conditions on a beautiful piece of land.

But having said that, there are alternative projects that might also inspire people, a bit leftfield. For example, this year we’re looking at the possibility of a co-housing project. Now that is perhaps an inspiring project that might attract people who otherwise might not try a camping retreat. But essentially I think what we put on is a very attractive package. The concept of getting close to nature, spending time, if you like, with yourself in a beautiful environment, being inspired by the Buddha’s teachings and having time out from your normal routine … experiencing oneself anew. I think that is in itself an incredibly inspiring prospect. And in fact I think that’s the core; for me that’s what inspired me to be involved with Buddhafield in the first place — an organisation that puts that sort of event on. I enjoy all the other events, like the Festival, but as far as I’m concerned they’re in service to putting on retreats. I come form a background where Im trying to get more immersed in nature, because I see that as a key expression of my own spiritual life. And I think it can be a key theme within the Buddhist tradition, breaking down that sense of separateness from the natural world.

It’s very related to your involvement with Druid culture?
Yes. I see it as quite seamless in fact. I think that immersing in nature can teach so much about impermanence. If you walk out on a bed of autumn leaf litter, and if you’re really aware when you’re doing that, that can be a lesson in impermanence. Better than any books about impermanence. If you’re involved with setting up a forest garden, or really into connecting with trees, even if its on a mystical level, that can teach us so much about interconnectedness, which is not that far away from non-self. The book of nature is so central to Buddhist teaching. For a lot of Buddhists who live in urban or sub-urban environments it’s not so much the case and I do think that’s a problem. And that is what Buddhafield is offering par excellence: offering people in those sorts of situations to escape and find a connection with nature that they don’t normally get, even if it’s only for a week.


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Engage, Explore, Play: Green Earth Awakening 2014!

Engage Now, Change the Future: 16 — 20 July 2014

Think there’s no Buddhafield Festival this year??

Well yes, the usual event isn’t happening… but there is a wonderful small festival/gathering happening at the usual Festival time (Wednesday 16 — Sunday 20 July). Quieter and more spacious, the first GEA last May had a wonderful heart-opening atmosphere and sense of community:

“The GEA was a shining highlight of my year. The connections between people, the openness and learning that occurred there were, for me, a perfect balance of significant engagement and enjoyment and laughter.”

“Extremely educational, cosy and most intimate event on the field I ever took part at. Food for the soul.”

“Lovely being back in that gorgeous field again, so many memories of festivals held there.  I didn’t think I would enjoy making a tuffet so much; loved going on a foraging walk as well as just hanging out and playing in the sunshine.”

Can you Help with Publicising the GEA?


If you feel an affinity for Buddhafield, if you have the time, and if know of a noticeboead near you that is lacking a striking image, please consider decorating it with our 2014 GEA poster! There are two versions:

We’re also looking for Secret Agents to help with flyering. If you’re willing to receive a pack of about 50 A5 flyers and arrange for them to appear in a venue near you, please email Lulu.

GEA programme information and booking on the main website.


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