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This post contains resources for Triratna Parents, especially those seeking to form ‘parent sanghas’ to support one another in the work and practice of parenting.
Best place to start is probably the new Facebook ‘Triratna Buddhist Parents Network‘ page, created by Kamalanandi from Sheffield. There’s a printable A4 poster attached to this post (you can share a link to it here - it comes in two versions spread over two pages – choose your favourite!)
FreeBuddhistAudio have a small but useful collection of talks on parenting as a spiritual practice; and Windhorse Publications have published A Path for Parents, by Karunagita.
Buddhafield have created a thriving ‘Family-Friendly Village Retreat‘ sangha focussing on their large annual retreat of the same name. Here’s a few words about it from Amaragita, taken from the April 2013 Shabda:
“This weekend I will be at a retreat for the team leaders of the yearly Buddhafield family-friendly retreat. Last year was its 13th year. The last 5 years I have been leading it with Devapriya. It is the high light of my year because it captures an experience of community which is multi-generational, arts and land based. I’ve written about it before but want to say a few words again, mainly as a tribute to Devapriya’s vision. He will be greatly missed he was always available on the retreat to listen and offer cups of tea and chocolate! His willingness to be in communication with people meant he brought many people into a strong connection with the retreat and with the dharma.
There are three principles we hold to every year. First a commitment to create an environment where householder practice is recognised and supported. This involves a ‘little and often’ mantra, where we create small pools of practice rather than holding out for the ‘real thing’. It also means a commitment to engaging with the children of all ages. Last year we had 120 children, about 300+ total on the retreat. Many of the children have been coming since before they were born! (my son). Devapriya’s vision was that this was in embryo a Buddhist school. We have had strong teams of excellent people running activities, puppet shows, (padmousesambhava!) bushcraft, plays etc. It has been on the whole very harmonious. It is our vision that within the next 5 years the majority of the retreat teams will be staffed by these children who will be young adults!
The Second principle is the mythic journey, and third sacred landscape.
The retreat has a strong team of people committed to it and each year there are 20-30 Order members there. In 2013 we will be having a stricter cut-off point as numbers grew too large last year [to over 300! – ed]. But next year our intention is to run two back-to-back events. We will need to build capacity – people able to be part of running the event, so if you are interested in learning how a retreat like this can work please come and get involved. Last year we had 20+ teenagers. And the person who normally is team leader for them is not coming. So if you have some experience or interest in working with teens in a dharmic context do get in touch. This year the retreat will start August 19th, all information on Buddhafield website.“