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!


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.


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.


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

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.


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.

Back in the Midst of Blood Sweat and Tears

Buddhafield seems to exist as a separate entity, a thing of beauty that no matter how much the people that work for her fall apart, she still manages to appear before our very eyes to provide people with an inspiring context in which to meet like minded people and forge connections that will last a life time. It is now that the few people that arrived on empty fields start to swell and expand to welcome more bodies who want to help create our own little temporary community, with its own little lovely niche.

I have come back to my mum’s house to rest my body after working in the Cafe at Glastonbury Festival and catch up with computer work. Glastonbury was the first event that I have worked this year and it was delightful! I have realised that it doesn’t matter how much or little I do for Buddhafield in a year, Buddhafield still requires my blood, sweat and tears and I give these things without a fight because I know that Buddhafield will provide me with compost, warmth, inspiration, love and this year fingers-crossed, some glorious sunshine in which to lay on the grass and gaze upwards to the heavens.. allowing it’s love to permeate my being.

Because essentially that is what we all need right now, I know for myself and for many others upheavals are abound. The Buddhafield team agreed to announce that there will be no festival next year which breaks my heart but I believe it is necessary. Buddhafield is at this time a very frail thing that needs much nourishment from it’s core and all it’s core need to be nourished by the love and appreciation that so many people have for this slightly large and cumbersome child. To strip something back to its core and see what its looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feels like.

That doesn’t take away from the celebration of the lives we have been given and the choices that we make within this time we have all been allocated. I know that regardless of how much I cry, how much I sweat and bleed I am glad that my year rotates around the Buddhafield festival. Going back onto site tomorrow will be a blissful experience and I will watch with a curious awe how it all grows, how I grow, shrink and expand and how everyone moves around each other.

So to my dear Buddahfield sangha, I am glad to be home with you again and I eagerly await with open arms the sharing of magnicient and tender stories.



A Break in the Cycle

Buddhafield has been able to continually reinvent itself because it’s a collective. We’ve been able to seamlessly adapt to changes in personnel because, as one person’s inspiration has naturally moved on, another’s has flowed towards us. This has led to a series of cycles in the shape of the collective that have occurred naturally and steadily, keeping the project fresh and fluid.

We’re now at the end of one of the biggest cycles in our evolution, but this time the transition can’t be seamless. For the first time in 17 Festival years, we feel the need pause, get back in touch with who we are and what we’re about, and from within that space invite a new generation to join the collective. In order to achieve that, we think the wisest move is to not run our Festival in 2014.

Buddhafield only exists and functions because of the ongoing generosity of hundreds of people. Many of the Festival organising team annually give up considerable amounts of their spare time to plan and organise their Area, even going so far as to work at the Festival in their own holiday time.

Clearly this is done from a great love – a fire in the heart – for Buddhafield and we’d like to thank everyone who’s given so much, especially the crew and workshop leaders. This year’s programme of workshops and music is a terrific one, so if you’re at all moved or inspired by Buddhafield, want to know what we’re about, maybe get involved in the future, please come and join us at this year’s Buddhafield Festival.

Festival 2013: Programme Update 2

Come to the Buddhafield Festival by Bike or by Foot!

To reward your green credentials we have some great prizes to give away, courtesy of Permaculture magazine.
• A copy of Glennie Kindred’s new book Letting In The Wild Edges and a year’s subscription to Permaculture magazine
• A copy of Ben Law’s The Woodland Way (new edition) and a year’s subscription to Permaculture magazine
• A copy of Aranya’s Permaculture Design: A Step By Step Guide and a year’s subscription to Permaculture magazine
• Plus 50 copies of Permaculture magazine for runner’s up.
Come to the Land and Permaculture Area at Festival (see the site map in your programme) and write your name, and distance travelled, on our “Fossil Fuel Free Travellers Notice Board.“ Winners will be selected at random and announced on Sunday July 21.

More about the Land and Permaculture Areaon the Areas & Spaces page of the main website.

Taking a well earned rest at the Permculture Space
Photo by Charlotte Baxter 2012

Spread the Lurve!

We know how much many of you love Buddhafield, so we’d really appreciate some help with spreading the word. This is a link to an A5 copy of the 2013 Festival flyer: if you know a noticeboard that can squeeze on in, you could even go all the way to A4! Pin one up at a cafe near you! ThankYouThankYouThankYou x

What’s On

Those Area Co-ordinators that book workshops are starting to send me their programme information, so I’ll be sharing some highlights via the blog over the next few weeks. Today I’d like to tell you about something from the Live Arts, Theatre and Play section of the Workshops programme, the Shadow Puppet Show and Workshop run by Liz Dever and Jack Glover called The Handless Maiden. I’d also like to introduce you to Hornman, one of the live music line-up you can find on the Music, DJs & Cabaret page.

The Handless Maiden

The show is an adaptation of the Brothers Grimm classic tale of a young woman’s journey to adulthood, complicated by the wily trickery of the Devil. Of course, there’s a prince and a good deal of magic to help her on her way, but its her own resourcefulness that wins the day! This poignant tale features beautiful handmade shadow puppets, great live music and is suitable for children (7+) and adults. Jo Bedford, Education Producer, Opera North said, “The Handless Maiden is a haunting and enchanting theatrical experience. Storytelling at its magical best.”

Liz Dever is a puppeteer, drama practitioner and a musician. After an initial introduction to Javanese and Balinese Wayang Kulit through a Javanese artist, Ted Setya Nugraha, with whom she worked for 5 years, she went on to form her own company, Shadowdance Puppet Theatre. She has worked with various theatre companies and arts organisations including Welfare State International, Horse and Bamboo, Darts, Lawrence Batley Theatre Outreach Team, Artists in Schools and Opera North. She has performed and facilitated puppetry/drama workshops in schools and at festivals throughout the country.

Jack Glover is a musician and composer. He was musical director for Interplay Theatre Company, Heads Together, Alive and Kicking and Major Road Theatre Co. He has composed many large-scale choral pieces for Koros and other community choirs, which have been performed in venues throughout Yorkshire. He has worked with Welsh National Opera’s librettist, Martin Riley, for many years, composing and directing community musicals and oratorios in conjunction with venues and production houses such as Brewery Arts Centre, Countersthorpe College, Leicester, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds City Varieties and Opera North.


Formed in 2011, and featuring Carl Davies who helped found the Festival, Buddhafield Retreats and our land at Broadhembury. Hornman are based in the vibrant Dalston and Shoreditch area of London. They mix electronic bass and beats, live on stage, with riff-driven electric guitar and a phat horn section that their audience loves to dance to! They’re a distinctly catchy festival sound and like nothing better than an up for it crowd that wants to play!

More about the Festival and how to book tickets and the main Buddhafield website.

No Love Hearts Here Please!

This year’s Festival theme is Fire in the Heart. It sounds simple, effective as a theme but, to be honest, I have struggled with the concept, feeling that I haven’t had any fire in my own heart for what seems like a long time. This, in turn, effects my faith in my capability, as the Festival Decor Co-ordinator, to convey this theme visually to a festival full of people without just falling back on the obvious symbols of love hearts and flames. I can see that these do have their place, but there is much more underlying this theme and that is what I have been struggling to connect with. Intellectually I see inspiration, passion, determination, beauty and these are all ideas that I try to put very solidly at the forefront of my life. However, I feel that lately I have had a lack of emotional connection to these qualities. I have wondered why and have come up with two possible reasons:

1, I am scared of realising the full power of this theme to launch me into the stratosphere of emotional, spiritual, physical understanding.

2, I am not giving myself enough credit for how far I come in the last year and the lack of obvious moments of passion or inspiration make me feel that I have had no inspiration or passion. Which simply is not true.

It’s only now, after having been able to gain some valuable perspective over the shifts in my life, that I have realised there has been fire burning in my heart throughout it all. The determination not to be beaten, the pockets of inspiration that I come across all feed this fire that gently warms me and guides me to places and activities that will feed it further.

During this time I have had on my own I have faced many aspects of myself that I don’t like, have had many people reflecting things back to me in compassionate and not so compassionate ways. For much of this year I have felt like I have been walking through a thick fog only being able to see my hands in front of me. The more the fog lifts, the more curious I am in testing my strength to see what I am capable of. I watch others unfold as well, blooming more and more vibrantly in the promising sunshine.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Metta Bhavana, it is a practice of cultivating loving kindness for all beings including yourself, which for many people is the hardest aspect. It is the practice that I find most difficult because of its honest undoing of dark as well as light, accepting it all as something that is a part of who I am. The practice isn’t about trying to convince yourself that you are good or pure or to try to convince yourself that you don’t have an issue with someone you are having difficulties with. It is about bringing awareness around a situation, understanding how it is making you feel and what is behind that feeling so that you can move forward with a greater understanding. I get jealous often, it can be debilitating, drawing me into a world of not being good enough, not getting to a place, state of mind, quickly enough. What I have come to understand is that this is the reaction, when I get jealous it is because I am not meeting a need of my own. There is something that I have been neglecting and as soon as I go towards that need, the jealousy is diminished.

I see that this theme has brought into my awareness the things that do inspire me. Inspiration is the first step into making something in life a reality. Initially fire in the heart evokes a great image of a captivating blaze but a blaze will not last unless it is fed and as there is so much change and heartache going on in so many peoples’ lives, it is worth learning how to utilise those inspirations, practise the things that bring you joy and see that there is new life everywhere, all the time. There is a fierceness inherent within this theme, something much deeper then just a simple visual interpretation, it is an opportunity to turn the love, that is so easily bestowed on to others, inwards and let passion and beauty bring you guidance.

FInd out more about the Festival, and how to book on the main Buddhafield website.

Festival 2013: Programme Update 1

Dharma Parlour 2013

The Dharma Parlour is an Area of the Festival dedicated to exploring the teachings of the Buddha and how it applies to us in the modern world. It has a full programme of activities over the weekend including a series of talks, study and workshops. You can see the whole Dharma Parlour programme as well as an outline for the Meditation Space on the main Buddhafield Website.

Highlights include:

From the Triratna Buddhist Order we have Lokabandhu, Shgantigarbha, Kulamitra, Maitridevi and Dhivan giving talks on topics from 10 Ways to Misunderstand Buddhism to The Buddha Broke my Heart; Theravadin monk the Venerable Amaranatho will be talking on the topic of The Listening heart and later leading a panel discussion on The Impact of Mindfulness; Dr. Tashi Zangmo and Marie Thesbjerg will be giving their own series of talks around themes arriving from their work with the Buthanese Nuns Foundation.

TBO members Dhivan and Mahabodhi will be leading daily study over the weekend where you can investigate two themes from the Buddha’s teaching, love as a means to Enlightenment and the Buddhist perspective on feelings and emotions.

The Dharma Parlour has it’s own workshop programme, and there’s something for everyone, from meditation for parents with Upayavira, to an introduction to Buddhism with Advayasiddhi, and an exploration of traditional “elements” meditations with Caroline Brazier.

Recordings from the 2012 Dharma Parlour

Lokabandhu giving a talk
Thanks to Free Buddhist Audio for hosting the talks recorded at last year’s Buddhafield Festival. Dharma Doorways and Deadends: not all that glitters is gold. Lokabandhu explores the fascinating Buddhist notion of “near enemies”, those seductive but misleading lookalikes to authentic spiritual qualities. Living in an Illusion … Dying to Escape: Khemasuri talks about everyday experience as virtual reality, focusing on death to turn towards the truth, and “thin moments”. Embracing Love: Vajrasara explores the joys and challenges of love, empathy, passion and compassion on the spiritual journey. Doors to Freedom: the Buddha’s Psychology of Liberation with Dhivan, author of This Being, That Becomes: the Buddha’s Teaching on Conditionality, talks about some of the historical Buddha’s ideas on how conscious awareness can influence unconscious patterns that keep us imprisoned in a fixed sense of self.

Buddhafield Festival: video by Clear Vision

Thanks to Graham Dellow of Clear Vision for making this short documentary video about the 2012 Buddhafield Festival.

The Clear Vision Trust is driven by a passion for Buddhist values and the possibilities of modern media. A tiny Buddhist audio-visual media project, from one room in the Manchester Buddhist Centre they make Buddhist video available free, worldwide. As well as the Clear Vision Vimeo channel, you can find more videos from them on the VideoSangha website.

Festival 2012: Photographs by Mim Saxl

We were blessed by having two Official Photographer’s at this years’s Buddhafield Festival and I’d like to share the work of one of them, Mim Saxl. You can see a gallery of her 2012 Buddhafield Festival work on her mimsaxl.photography website.

Mim is an Oxford based photographer who specialises in natural light work — no light rigs, no studios. She has a great sense for capturing the personality of a subject and especially in drawing out connection and the magic of the moment. Buddhafield Festival 2012 photographer Mim Saxl She’s caught the evolving warmth between people: people lost in a hug, sometimes a bit shy or curious. I particularly like those people caught in a playful moment: I remember watching the naked dash across the Long Field when I was having tea in Pachamamas on Saturday afternoon! Mim has captured what I recall of the joyous absurdity of the moment.

There are many fleeting details in her work — raindrops from bunting, huge bubbles, children leaping the labyrinth path — and lush colour in others — a family in bright raincoats and a evening inside Small World.

Mim says she took the image in this page just as they were leaving site. She asked her partner to hold his hands up to the sky: “It was how we felt, leaving such a wonderful and fulfilling weekend.”

Mim also has a blog and a Facebook page.