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 Glastonbury, Wildheart, 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.