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.

Skill Sharing at EcoDharma

The EcoDharma community are looking for skill-sharers to help develop resilience in:
• Food growing.
• Wild food foraging and preservation.
• Traditional stone building.

They are looking for people to go and stay at their community in the Catalunyan Pyrenees in Spain for up to 3 months. They are particularly interested in people with experience and/or interest in skill-sharing. In return for helping them develop these aspects of their land-based learning centre and community you will benefit from the opportunity to learn new skills and be nourished by spending time living in our wild and remote community setting.

They are hoping to be able to cover your travel costs and some pocket money (and additional finance is negotiable for skilled builders) — pending funding.

Traditional Stone Building

When? September—November 2013, or end of March—July 2014.

What? They are looking for up to 8 skill-sharers to join their building team to renovate a traditional Catalan stone building. The work will be focused at Cal Victor, an old peasant Catalan farmhouse abandoned since the early part of the last century.

This is a vital piece of work in terms of the future of the Ecodharma community as it will provide the main communal space for the community including; a living area, kitchen, office, herb drying room and accommodation.

The project will involve renovation using traditional building techniques and materials, integrated with eco-building and other contemporary elements.

Who? We are looking for people who either:
• have general building experience, or
• are experienced or interested in learning about building with stone, or
• are experienced with carpentry.

Food Growing

When? Mid-August to mid-November 2013 or April—July 2014.

What? They are looking for 3 skill-sharers to support Liam who has held responsibility for growing our food since autumn 2013.

EcoDharma’s organic annual garden was established as four raised beds (each some 30 metres long) four years ago. The long term vision is for it to become a perennial system with vegetables growing below the existing fruit trees. Their forest garden was very recently planted by a wonderful team of volunteers who planted 100 fruit and nut trees this March.

You will be supporting Liam to produce as much food as possible from the annual garden using organic techniques and permaculture principles. There will also be work helping to establish and maintain the fruit and nut trees in the forest garden.

Who? We are looking for people who:
• have plenty of practical common sense
• have some basic gardening skills and experience
• are physically able.

Wild Food Foraging and Preservation, Bread Making and Creative Cooking

When? Mid-August to mid-November 2013 or May to July 2014.

What? They are looking for 2 skill-sharers to join them foraging for and preserving the abundance of wild foods growing in their wild and remote mountain valley.

Throughout the summer and autumn they are blessed with a wide variety of wild fruits, berries and herbs as well as the food they are cultivating ourselves. They need help to preserve as much as they can for the coming year, which will include:
• Harvesting and transforming an abundance of damsons, mulberries, elderberries, figs, pomegranates and blackberries into jams, chunteys and other culinary delights and medicinal tinctures
• Foraging for, for example, rosemary, thyme, sage, yarrow, nettles, lavender and savoury to make teas.
• Baking sour dough bread and experimenting with other baking
• Using produce in the garden creatively, for example green tomato chutneys, pickling vegetables for saur craut etc.

You will join Claire and Nikki who have been wandering the valley discovering the rhythms of the land and turning them into culinary and medicinal delights; and Lou who has held responsibility for the kitchen, food preservation and baking for past 3 years.

Life at Ecodharma

Life at Ecodharma is very communally spirited and is largely shaped by a collective yearning to move more and more towards simplicity, low impact living and just being with the land. All this provides the context for a rich and nourishing learning environment and a strong sense of being very much alive …


Depending on your skills, experience and/or future aspirations you may be eligible to apply for funding to pay for your travel and some pocket money and to reimburse Ecodharma for your food and accommodation costs. There may also be scope for additional finance for skilled builders. We will discuss possible funding with you on receiving your application.

How to apply

Please email claire@ecodharma.com for more information and to request an application form. Please state which role/s you are interested in and please be sure to meet the deadlines below. These deadlines have been set to ensure you are able to meet external deadlines for funders in good time – which vary depending on the placement period.


30 April 2013 for placements starting in August.
30 May 2013 for placements from September 2013-July 2014.

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.

Women’s Weekend at Easterbrook

>On the last weekend of October at Trevince House there was a men’s study weekend. The women of the household had to vacate the premises and decamp to Easterbrook Farm where we have an allotment space, which Trevince House has recently taken responsibility for.

Easterbrook farm is owned by a friend of Buddhafield and there Buddhafield stores, in one of the barns, all of Buddhafield’s tents and equipment. Vans are also parked there over the winter. We use the loft as a space to mend our canvases for the forthcoming season and it is where we hold the annual team retreat. Easterbrook, with its beautiful surroundings, is an important resource to us.

Both of us, Rosie, Alice, Liz and Abie were all present at this weekend and it soon became clear that we all share a passion for growing vegetables following permaculture ideals and using herbs for their culinary and medicinal properties. The garden’s creator, Dharmamrta also shares these same values and took us on a guided tour of what is planted where.

Dharmamrta started this garden as a right livelihood business, supplying the festival and cafe with specialist salad leaves through the season. She built a poly tunnel, creating the entire garden from a patch of grass. She is now doing other things but lent her time to us to show and explain what is in the garden and her reasonings for planting what she did.

Alongside Dharmamrta, Abie has been it’s nurturer for the last year or so, growing flowers at Easterbrook from April 2010. Previously, she had an allotment in Norwich on which she grew flowers on for a year, using them to make bouquets as gifts. This, being her main success, made her decide to buy lots of seeds, and she approached The Greenhouse in Crediton as a place to sell locally grown cut flower bouquets. They were delighted and very supportive in giving it a go. Dharmamrta had grown Echinacea and Rudbeckia ‘Black Eyed Susan’ and Abie planted alongside those Calendula, Centaurea Cyanus ‘Black Ball’, Blue Cornflowers, Ammi Majus ‘Bishops’s Flower, Ammi visnaga white, Zinnias, Dahlia’s, Sunflowers, Sweet peas (though the deer ate all of these) Salvia Patens and Achillea. You may have seen some of these flowers which so beautifully decorate some of the shrines at the retreats. Abie brought with her an amazing number of books on Buddhism and gardening, which were laid out ceremoniously next to our modest shrine amid exclamations of excitement! As the weather was very wet and the sewing loft cold, us resilient women spent time drinking tea whilst looking at books and discussing what our future plans for the garden may be, and touching on subjects that concern Buddhism and our gender such as abortion, feminism and being a parent. Many times a cry of ‘Hey! listen to this!’ was heard as we individually discovered little gems of knowledge to do with herbs, the earth or Buddhism.

On Saturday night Abie led a simple three-fold puja, her first time leading one, which was really beautiful. We both felt really touched to be present at this, as Abie has been really instrumental in furthering our understanding of Buddhism, helping answer our questions and trying to point us in interesting and fruitful directions on where to look for answers. Abie has been really enthusiastic and supportive about both this blog and us taking on the garden. She has been really generous with her time and the gathering at Easterbrook would not have been the same without her! Big sadhu!

 Late Sunday morning the rain eased off and we bumbled round the garden in our wellies and water proofs, taking pictures and making notes on what plants and herbs were in the garden, what needed to come out and what spaces were available for developing. Dharmamrta visited us on Sunday afternoon, and we collectively worked in the garden. Rosie and Dharmamrta cleared a bed in the polytunnel, digging up the sunflowers which had been there, and whose heads now hang from a light fixture on the wall in the living room at Trevince, waiting to dry so their seeds can be harvested. Ruth and Alice cleared a small bed outside and replanted lambs lettuce that had self seeded, for a mid winter green feast. Lou cleared out old cucumbers and the smaller self seeded lambs lettuce in another bed whilst uncovering more and more hibernating slugs. The whole bed was mulched with a thick layer of Elecampagne leaves that grow elsewhere in the garden. Abie cleared behind the shelves that edge one side of the poly tunnel and Liz cleared out the basil that had been prolific and had now died off and did some general weeding.

As the light failed Ruth went to put the kettle and started cooking dinner while the others finished up in the garden. We meditated and then had dinner and finished the evening reading aloud from ‘The Jewel in the Cabbage which draws parallels between cooking and Buddhism in very interesting ways, being mostly cafe crew it was something that we could all relate to. This marked the end of our gardening weekend at Easterbrook, later that evening we all returned to the warmth of Trevince House and had tea with our male counterparts.

Introduction to us!

>Lou: I started working for Buddhafield as a way of getting to spend more time at festivals. For me being at a festival is something that I have always loved, the bubble of contentment and madness that arises within the site boundaries is a wonderful thing and I have always wanted to be more involved in how festivals are put together. After setting up the Café at Glastonbury, a festival that is very familiar to me, I soon realised that not only do Buddhafield Café provide a safe and welcoming place for festival punters but it also provides a home, a sanctuary amongst the chaos for its team of volunteers. I am one of the café volunteers and this year I also got involved with the site décor at this year’s festival. What I didn’t realise is that I would fall sideways into being with a family all of whom are learning and trying to adhere to Buddhist principles. This is what the café, in a wider context is trying to do; to bring the Dharma, the Buddhist spiritual path, to a greater audience. I have learnt much about myself and my relationship to others in the last few months and now that my position becomes more and more established I look forward to bringing my discoveries to aid the creation of this blog to support Buddhafield in all it does.

Ruth: It started off as a one time visit last year to work for the cafe at the festival, a week of working later, I knew with the most certainty I’ve ever felt that I needed to become part of Buddhafield. Just over a year later and I have been job-free, house-free and volunteering for the cafe for nearly 5 months and have never been happier. Before joining Buddhafield I had no interest in Buddhism,  having been brought up a Jehavah’s Witness and left the faith I have quite a strong resistance to ‘religion’, I was interested more in living a life outside of mainstream society, that didn’t have as its main aim acquisition of objects or money, that promoted freedom of choice and personal responsibility. What I found was so much more than that. I have slowly come to think that what I was looking for seems to be embodied in Buddhism, and while I still have my doubts, the effect on me that Buddhafield and my increasing knowledge of Buddhism has had cannot be seen as anything other than good.

What is a Buddhafield?

A Buddhafield in the Mahayana Tradition is a place in which the conditions are perfect for spiritual growth, a place where there are no burdens or hassles, a beautiful place that exists to benefit all beings and is under the influence of the Buddha’s wisdom and compassion. The Buddhafield that we work for, in its various guises, creates a supportive space that holds many people on their own paths into Buddhism and the journey they choose to undertake to spiritual enlightenment.

In its most basic form Buddhafield can be spilt into three factions: Buddhafield Cafe, Buddhafield Festival and Buddhafield Retreats. The café which takes its delicious vegan food to various festivals over the summer including GlastonburyWildheart, Sunrise, Out of the Ordinary and many others. The cafe creates a perfect space for festival goers to relax and rejuvenate and also hold a space within which the Dharma is an ongoing concern. The festival, unique in its ‘no drink, no drugs’ stance, holds many free workshops that encapsulate awareness: from Dharma talks to all kinds of meditations and yoga, from rituals and pujas to beautiful acoustic music. The retreats team hold a number of different retreats throughout the year for those who wish to delve deeper into Buddhism.  All the retreats are held in stunning locations offering a chance to get closer to nature and yourself. The most popular of our retreats is the Family Friendly retreat, held at Frog Mill, a piece of  land in Dartmoor National Park which Buddhafield has bought, and that the Land Appeal, another offshoot of Buddhafield, is raising money to pay for.

The Festival, Café and Retreats are all working towards being as sustainable as possible. We use wind and solar energy to power the cafe and the festival, biodiesel in the vans used to transport us and all the equipment from site to site, wood fired hot water systems for the hot water in the cafe, (the excess heat goes into a sauna and shower for the cafe crew to keep them clean and happy!!) composting loo’s at retreats and at the festival and we also source our veg from local suppliers, in whatever part of the country we happen to be in. This caring for the environment we inhabit, in turn helps to create a safe space for people to confidently and comfortably grow at their own pace, so they can lighten their burdens and release the constraints of their mind and bodies and become enlightened (or near enough!). Truly a Buddhafield in action.