For those of you who couldn't join us, I wanted to give you all a taste of our two weeks of retreat in Bessait-Le-Fromental at Dharmavidya's hermitage, Eleusis. We were an international bunch - the group was Ganendra (Spain), Modgala, Kaspa, Satya, Adam and Caroline (UK), Prajna and James (Canada), Jan (Hawaii), and Maitrisimha, Annetta, and Floor and Jnanamati (the Hague).
Our first week was a Nei Quan retreat and Dharmavidya asked us to pay attention to any thoughts and feelings which arose during practice or times writing in our journals, chasing them and examining them rather than letting them go. We gave daily 'reports' of our findings to Dharmavidya in front of the group which was helpful for individuals and stimulated thought for the rest of the group. Many of us felt great personal shifts, held by Dharmavidya, the daily practice, the group and the beautiful setting.
The second week was the Order retreat which coincided with a heatwave and so we held most of our meetings in the shade under the walnut tree rather than in the stifling attic room! We heard reports of Amida sanghas in India, Malvern, London, Canada, the Hague, Belgium and Spain. The Order retreat is also a time when those who run groups can get support from others in a similar position, and share ideas and experiences.
We were cooked delicious food by Jnanamati, Adam and Floor, and enjoyed much good conversation over the washing up table, going on walks and gathered by the wall in the evening with a cup of chicory. We also enjoyed a swim!
Maybe we'll see you next year... If you'd like to visit before then to volunteer for Dharmavidya in the house or garden, get in touch with Jnanamati for more information.
Namo Amida Bu. Reverend Satyavani, secretary for the Order *****
Dates for your Diary - retreats led by Dharmavidya
There are three opportunities to attend a retreat led Dharmavidya over the coming year - do put them in your diaries.
Tues 8th - Sun 13th December 2015 - Bodhi Retreat, Malvern (12th - all day chanting, 13th - ceremonies) For more information, look here
***** Tues 31st May - Saturday 4th June 2016 - Retreat in Malvern (you can attend part or all of the retreat)
Tues 28th June - Sat 2nd July Mon 4th July - Fri 8th July 2016 Retreats in Dharmavidya's hermitage, France
Monthly Amida Hawaiʻi sangha gatherings/practices and the Bodhi Buds youth group: Sangha Gatherings 4th Friday of month - 6:30 - 7:00 Tea, Treats & Talk Story, and 7:00 - 8:30pm Pureland Buddhist practice. Bodhi Buds youth group meets from 9 - noon, on the 4th Saturday, every other month. :: website :: facebook
Amida London, UK Sangha meetings: Tuesday evenings 7 - 9 at "Zen in London", Basement Flat, 486 Caledonian Road N7 9RP For further details of meetings contact Reverend Padmaghosa
Amida Mandala, Malvern, UK After much hard work and activity during the last couple of months, the temple is now up and running and offering a wonderful variety of events.
Tomorrow morning (Wednesday) I'll be driving down to London with Kuvalaya. We'll stay at Sukhavati. Then we'll set off in Padma's car, with Modgala, on Friday morning, via the ferry and off to Amida France, taking a couple of days so the journey is part of the fun. Then, a week with friends and an opportunity to meet members of the team that I only know via skype, phone and email - so looking forward to this
Gosh, it's a long time since I was there - the summer of 2005, the summer of the London bombings - I was overwhelmed by text messages when I was finally able to get a signal on my mobile, to tell me that my son Simon was safe. Safe from what? I hadn't heard the news, so rushed to the landline for clarification. (Like many Londoners, Simon has a history of being nearby bombings - IRA, Al Qaeda. London commuters are used to the Underground being shut because of bomb warnings. I lived in London through the 70s, when we were all on high alert and no journey was undertaken without vigilance.)
It was also the year of the death of the sister of one of my Order, so she and I travelled to Ottawa together. It seemed so long ago, but casting my mind to those days, I could almost be back there.
So much has happened in the intervening years, both for me and also Amida France - I wonder what changes I'll see when I get there!
Come and share our vision. Come and join us in creating a Pure Land.
Amida France is set in 30 acres of beautiful French countryside. It is in the heart of France in an area which you have probably never heard of because it is off the main tourist routes. Beautiful and undiscovered.
Amida France is a place to unwind, to encounter nature, to heal, to find your creativity, to deepen your practice, to discover the rich spirtuality of Pureland Buddhism. It is a friendly place where there is often lively discussion over meals or shared time working on building or arts projects. It is also a place for discovering silence in the woods and fields.