Buddhism & Meditation Areas

Buddhafield Festival 2018 | That’s All Folks!

Two men seated in meditation facing a shrine with Tibetan-style iconography.

Afternoon sit in the Meditation Space | Image © Charlotte Baxter 2012

I value the connection with Buddhists from other traditions and the opportunity to attend workshops that explore the challenges facing Buddhists in the west.

Buddhism: The Dharma Parlour

‘Dharma’ means teachings of the Buddha. In this area you’ll find talks, workshops, study sessions, meditations, addiction recovery meetings, and a theatre show. All welcome, of any spiritual path or none.

The Programme

Sessions in the Dome and Yome are workshops or groups, ie participative. In the Marquee are talks and theatre performances (plus Kids Meditation).

Check at Info Point for last-minute changes.

Buddhafield Festival 2018 – Dharma Parlour:

Under the Dharma Parlour Parasol (in the centre of the area).

Informal sharing space Thurs to Sat, 7.30 – 9.30pm, Braziers and chai, all welcome. Come and talk with Buddhist practitioners about how you’re finding the festival, about the festival theme, about the burning issues in your life and the world, and what the Buddhist teachings can offer.

Dharma Parlour Marquee (mainly talks)

Thurs to Sun 9am

Kids Meditation Club with Daisy Bruce. For kids 4 - 12 yrs + bring your parents so you can show them how it’s done! A great way to start the day with fun breathing, stretching & relaxation exercises.

Thurs 12 noon

Contemplating our Mortality

Reflecting wholeheartedly on the reality of death clarifies what is important, opens our heart to all beings, and invites letting go into freedom beyond death. Yanai Postelnik. Yanai teaches around the world in the Insight Meditation Society tradition, in the UK at Gaia House retreat centre in Devon, where he is a member of the Teacher Council. https://gaiahouse.co.uk/

Thurs 2pm

Three short talks:

Surrendering to Life, Surrendering to Death.
Learning to let go and be in the flow of life and death, we move from striving to surrender. Buddhafield administrator Sarah Boak.

Dark Reveals the Light.
Dayajoti talks about the inseparability of the painful and the beautiful, and how the Tara Sanctuary and Natural Burial Ground project embodies this. See http://www.tarasanctuary.org.uk and https://www.facebook.com/TaraSanctuary/

Happy Dying, Happy Living.
Undesirable Truths: facing what we fear the most can free us to experience what we want most deeply. Sanghadhara, Chair of Clear Vision Trust, a Buddhist right livelihood business creating media resources.

Thurs, Fri and Sat 4pm

Taste of Freedom: Introduction to Buddhism.

A three-part series, come to one or all. Thurs: Ethics. Lokabandhu Fri: Meditation. Moksatara. Sat: Wisdom. Danaraja

Fri 10.15am

Encounters with Fear, Death and Beauty

Amalasiddhi explores Spiritual Practice as preparation for death. Drawing from the recent birth of his daughter and other moments of fragility and vitality.

Fri 12pm

The Fires and the Black River of Loss

Being human in the Twenty-first Century. Jayaraja.

Jayaraja is Chair of Buddhafield. At the festival he also leads workshops in NVC (Non-violent Communication).

Fri 2pm Three short talks:

Funerals, Death and this Buddhist’s Life

Debbie Jones talks about how the dharma is central in her ‘soul work’ as a celebrant, writing and conducting funerals.

The Grateful Dead

How the artwork and music of this American band launched me onto the Buddhist path, and reflections on that inspiration today. Kamalagita

Journeying Towards Death: a Buddhist's progress report

We know nothing about when, or how, we will die, or what's next. Angels? Terror? Eternal nothingness? A car crash, or slow decline? How to prepare for something so unknown? Lokabandhu

Fri 6pm

On Being the Broken Bucket

Falling apart offers a gateway into something new – rebirth into awakening. This talk is inspired by the enlightenment poem of Zen Abbess Chiyono. Acharya Kaspalita is a Buddhist psychotherapist and priest in the Amida Shu Pureland tradition.

Sat 10.15am

Buddha and the Crisis of Belonging (Workshop)

How can we contribute to creating generous inclusive communities and face the rise of 'cruel and exclusive ones'. Please come and be ready to participate, collaborate and share. Amaragita and Karunagita This workshop follows on from last year’s ‘Buddha on Trump’, and the previous year’s ‘Buddha on Brexit’: all focus on developing participative insight into major controversial issues.

Sat 12pm

Facing the Demons

Parami explores how through allowing the death of our egos we can face the demons of these troubled times and break through polarisation.

Sat 2pm

Three short talks

Entering Nature’s Mandala of Emergence
The living world is an interconnected alchemy of transformation and emergence. By letting go of our ‘stories’ emergence can transcend the limits of our imaginings. Sagaravajra Sagaravajra is the creator of Hridayabija, forest garden permaculture site and retreat centre See https://www.hridayabija.com/

Dying to Love
Seeing the impermanence of all things can open our hearts to love and compassion. Carunalaka

Diamond Geezer to Diamond Sutra
Satyadaya describes Spiritual Death as loss of identity.

Sat 6pm

Dead Happy

A one-man play about life, death and transfiguration. Mild-mannered Funeral Director Francis Putlock has a violent past. Can he discover true equanimity? Written and performed by Vidyadhara (55 mins).

Vidyadhara – aka Simon Lovat – has worked as an actor and playwright since the 1980s.

Review excerpts:

‘What I really admired was Lovatt’s ability to manage a delicate balance of humour and sadness; one moment you’re laughing, and the next you want to cry. He completely inhabits Putlock, a brilliant creation…’

‘An engaging and moving one-man show, performed with a beautiful lack of theatricality, Dead Happy is a carefully structured musing on death; a fictional autobiography...’

‘Catch it if you can. Brilliant and captivating, a very special evening’

‘This is fantastic theatre. From the moment he comes in the door and sits down in the chair you know you are in for a real theatrical treat. The acting is superb, and the script takes you across the world and back again to some beautiful evocations of the cemetery. He manages to show the beauty and the wisdom of his experience and it is never morbid. When he walks out of the door at the end of the show you will be breathless.’

See also: https://www.yamatheatreproductions.com/dead-happy.html

Sun 10.15am

Stardust Dancing

How can philosophy help us prepare to die? Dhivan will share Buddhist and Greek philosophical ideas and methods for looking death straight on and for dancing towards the mystery. Dhivan

Sun 12am

Love and Loss

Having lost his father and a close friend in the past year, Vishvapani reflects on how faith, love and the Dharma can help when someone dies.

Dharma Parlour Dome (Participative sessions – workshops, meditations)

Thurs to Sun 7.45 – 8.35am

Dance of Life and Death: led meditation for experienced meditators. Different each day.

Thurs to Sun 10am

Work that Reconnects

A workshop to connect with what we care about, and find inspiration to act. Marisa Goulden and team. The Work that Reconnects, as developed by root teacher Joanna Macy and her colleagues, is drawn from deep ecology, living systems theory, and spiritual traditions. It grows courage, resilience, and solidarity for the healing of our world. http://waysofcouncil.net/joanna-macy/

Thurs and Fri 2pm

Insight Dialogue: Awakening together

Exploring how the experiences of calm and insight cultivated in solitary meditation can extend into the complexities, challenges and changes of our relationships. Rosalie Dores Insight Dialogue is a practice developed by Gregory Kramer.

Thurs and Fri 4pm

Meditation Posture Workshop

With Lucy Ascham, using Alexander Technique. Change your thinking, emotions and posture with Alexander's discoveries.

Thurs, Fri and Sat 9.15pm

Kiss the Earth

A candlelit walking meditation with the Wake Up! community. Gathering together as dusk falls to weave our way silently around the festival site, discovering the richness of each moment and the simple joy of being alive. Children welcome – accompanied by an adult. Wake Up! is the youth wing of the Order of Interbeing. Their inspiration is the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. https://www.facebook.com/WakeUpUK/

Fri and Sat 12.15pm

Wilddharma: Introducing Dharmadruidry

Dharmadruidry as a window onto the Dance of Life and Death in the wilds of nature, mind, heart and body. Two workshops, come to one or both. Ratnadeva

Fri 6pm

Meditation for Recovery.

Rachel Meban, Eight Step Recovery team. No experience of meditation needed. 1.5 hrs.

Sat 2pm

Am I Ready to Die?

Plan your final days and funeral to remove any guesswork for your loved ones in their grief. Document your parting wishes. Debbie Jones

Sat 4pm

Facing the Demons

A workshop with Parami investigating the themes from her talk earlier. (Open to all, whether or not you heard the talk.)

Sat 6pm

What Never Dies

Is everything impermanent? Satya will speak about what holds her steady and can hold you steady too. Satya Robyn is a priest in the Amida Shu community, in the Pureland tradition.

Sun 12.15am

Loss and Gain, Pleasure and Pain

The Buddha’s teachings on the Worldly Winds that constantly blow through our lives. We can’t stop them; but we can learn to sail them. How? Workshop with Taravandana

Dharma Parlour Yome

Thurs to Sun 10am

Eight Step Recovery Meeting

The Eight Step recovery programme draws on Buddhist teachings that help us address any addictive or compulsive behaviours that detract from our quality of life. Those already in recovery and newcomers are warmly welcome. Rachel, Nic and Lucy

See: https://www.facebook.com/eightsteprecovery/ And https://thebuddhistcentre.com/eightsteps

Thurs to Sat 11.30am

Topics for Frequent Reflection

Reflecting on ageing, illness, death and loss can open us to what is of true value in life. Study based on early Buddhist discourses with Dhivan. (max 15)

Fri 4.15pm

Loss, Gain, Pleasure and Pain

Dharma Study on the ‘Worldly Winds’ with Taravandana. (15 max)

Sat 1.45pm

What is EcoDharma?

Presentation with Q&A. Drew McCauley EcoDharma is a retreat centre located in a beautiful and wild part of the Catalan Pyrenees. Since 2008, it has offered courses and retreats that combine inner and outer transformation, bringing Buddhism into relationship with environmental and social activism. http://www.ecodharma.com/

Sun 11.30am

The Story of Kisagotami

Dharma study with Ratnadeva. Sometimes loss seems overwhelming and we are lost to the flow and rhythm of life. How do we find a place of peace and letting-go in the midst of the dance?

Meditation Space

Come and learn to meditate! It could just change your life. Meditation can help us relax and unwind, but it is much more than this: it can lead to radical transformation of our whole being and of our world.

Through increasing awareness of what is really going on in our minds, meditation brings insight into what truly matters to us. We also become far more aware of, and engaged with, the world around us: other people, the environment, and ultimately, the nature of reality itself. Through meditation we can come to know more and more deeply that we are not separate but interconnected with all life.

Following the success our much loved Pujas, we will be extending our tent this year. We are also very much hoping to have a large Stupa as part of the Meditation Space, which has been made by the team. A stupa is a symbol of enlightenment and also the 6 Elements. These holy monuments are the oldest and most widespread forms of Buddhist architecture and were designed to be deeply symbolic, using sacred geometry in order to contain Buddhist relics of great teachers, and other holy objects.

Main Shrine Space

Early morning: 7.30 and 8.20am: Open meditation sessions (no teaching, just bells) with a chance to sit on afterwards until 9.45am.
Late morning sessions: 10am, 11.15am, 12.30am. Teaching sessions for Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana (loving kindness meditation).
Mid-afternoon: 4.30pm. Meditation workshop to help deepen your practice, suitable both for beginners and those with more experience.

Walking Meditation

Afternoons. (See notice board for times and places).

Small Meditation Space (near the Dharma Parlour)

Open space to meditate and do your own practice (no teaching).

Devotional Practice

Buddhafield pujas are renowned!


Please come to the rituals in the Ritual Space, next to the Dharma Parlour, Owl Field. They are a chance for us to all come together as one big community, to explore the festival theme and express our shared values.

  • Opening Ceremony, Wednesday, (see the Notice Boards at Info Point)
  • Saturday Night Ritual (see the Notice Boards at Info Point)
  • Closing Ceremony, Sunday, (see the Notice Boards at Info Point)

During some of the rituals we’ll use mantras. A mantra is a chant which is a meditation in sound, expressing a particular spiritual quality.