Last month Buddhafield hosted the 18th Buddhafield Festival - in fact their 18th in a row! The Buddhafield Festival, founded in 1996, is Triratna’s largest and most diverse event, and a much-loved part of the annual calendar for many in the Sangha. This year almost 3,000 people enjoyed five days camping in glorious Somerset summer sunshine, a rare occurrence in the UK! The theme was ‘Fire in the Heart’, which took as its inspiration a quotation from the Buddha, found in the ‘Ittivuttaka’ in which he says “None of the means of spiritual practice has a sixteenth part of the value of loving-kindness. Loving–kindness, which is freedom of heart, absorbs them all; it glows, it shines, it blazes forth…” Coincidentally, this will also be the theme of the riratna International Urban Retreat, coming up later this year.
Central to the Festival are the meditation teaching tent and the Dharma Parlour, which sees a rich programme of Dharma talks from a range of speakers drawn from Triratna and other traditions. Over the years this has become a significant meeting-place for Buddhists from a variety of traditions and Triratna, the Thai Forest tradition, Pure Land, Soka Gakkai, the secular mindfulness movement, Dzogchen, were all represented this year. ClearVision were in attendance throughout and most of the presentations are now available on their VideoSangha website. Or click here for direct links to talks by Advayasiddhi, Dhivan, Kulamitra, Lokabandhu, Maitridevi, and Shantigarbha. Or just enjoy the photos!
This year’s Festival seemed particularly sweet, perhaps because next year the Buddhafield team plan to take a well-earned break from running the Festival. They will however be back in 2015 and next year their retreats programme will be running as usual: check the Buddhafield website later in the year for details. This year’s seemed to get rave reviews: here’s a couple found on Facebook. Jewels, one of the few who’s been to… wait for it… all 18 Festivals! says - “Thank you to everyone who made Buddhafield so special this year. It felt like the old magic was back. The rituals seemed so rich and full and somehow included the whole site and the festival, there is nothing in the world like this festival, truly unique, I feel blessed to live on the same piece of land as it”. And Dreamweaver says - “Buddhafield- you are radiant shining light in this world, THANKYOU for initiating me into your family a decade ago, and may I be blessed enough to continue onwards in Loving, tribal communion with you all….. I pray to pass onto each and every person I encounter, the Grace and metta that you have taught me, through direct experience. Humble Gratitude.”
For sheer exuberance, however, we can’t beat Will, who proclaims “What an epic journey of transformation! Thank you Buddhafield for such ridiculous love, beauty, unrelenting power and magic. Everywhere I went there we’re stunning goddesses & nymphs, warriors & elves, bards, healers & visionaries with clear eyes and hearts warm with fire & desire to grow & express profound Beauty. I fell in love a hundred times! The weather gods were with us constantly offering hot sun and clear skies to reveal a shower of stars each night. I’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotion, grief and ecstasy, still riding the waves as I return home to the true self I thought I had abandoned. Danced naked in the thunderstorm and sang til my voice cracked, like my heart. I am grateful. I am alive.” SADHU Buddhafield! And roll on 2015!