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.
You can visit as a volunteer, helping on the land, in the gardens or on the buildings. You can visit local places of interest as the area is full of medieval villages. You can attend retreats and events. You can have informal contact with the resident teachers and other practitioners.
Amida France will be open most of the time from late March 2011 and throughout the summer. When there are no programmes, visitors are welcome through much of the spring as working volunteers or for individual retreats or eco-therapy intensives. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The following programme shows events throughout the spring and summer. If you would like to know more about any of these, do email us on email@example.com. You may also contact us on this email address to book. At times when the centre is open you can phone us on +33 (0)2 48 60 70 19. It is advisable to book in advance though we can usually fit in latecomers. Hope to see you this summer!
ECO-THERAPY RETREAT: The Elements
April 21-25: Five days with Caroline Brazier and Sundari Clayton
Spring in France, the countryside is at its most beautiful. New growth is everywhere. Our bodies long to throw off winter lethargy and reconnect with the source of life. This five day group, a combination of therapy and retreat, will focus on our most basic connections to nature and to life through the traditional meditation and reflection on the elements. We will enjoy immersion in nature, exploring the 30acre site here at Amida France. We will use activities and contemplative practices to deepen our sense of engagement. We will celebrate our experience in group sharing. This workshop is scheduled shortly before the publication of Caroline's latest book: Acorns Among the Grass: Adventures in Ecotherapy.
Cost of event: €100 plus accommodation
Sesshin: Entering the Silence
July 4-8 with Dharmavidya David Brazier
It has become our custom to begin the summer programme in France with an intensive retreat in the first week of July. Sesshin is a time to focus upon the heart. The retreat involves extended periods of silent reflection, relinquishing the noise of our habitual life. An Amidist sesshin is fundamentally about love and devotion. There is no difference here between meditation and comtemplative prayer. The practice is to sit in the presence of the sacred, enter the mystery of silence and experience a place of immediacy and mystical vastness that puts ordinary life into a new and saner perspective. It may lead to insights and an enhanced and pervasive deep tranquility. It is sometimes hard work overcoming the habitual flurry of the mind and practice together in a group sustains us giving us the chance to touch something greater than ourselves.
Cost of event: €150 plus accommodation
Connecting with Others: Becoming more alive through words and movement
July 11-15 with Kaspalita Thompson & Fiona Robyn
We often get stuck into particular ways of being - moving the same way day after day, and telling the same stories about ourselves and others over and over again. Looking at the world through the eyes of other people, both real and imagined, can help us see the world more clearly and respond to life with more flexibility. As a result, we become more alive.
During this five day workshop we will use a variety of exercises involving writing and movement. The programme will remain flexible. Participants will be taken on a journey together, creating and developing characters as the week progresses.
We will work towards creating something that can be shared with other participants at the end of the workshop.
Kaspalita is ordained in the Amida Order and has led the drama programme at Amida France for the past two summers. He studied drama at Aberystwyth and has directed plays with community theatre groups and led theatre workshops with young people and adults. He is currently training in Buddhist psychology.
“Kaspa's remarkable ingenious directing to produced a complex and moving piece... We learnt a lot... I certainly did.”
Dharmavidya on the 2010 Amida France theatre workshop
Fiona Robyn is a novelist and blogger and has written novels and ‘A Year of Questions: How to slow down and fall in love with life’. She works as a therapist in private practice. She is an Amida-Shu member. She is interested in how we can use writing to become more engaged with the world, and writing as a spiritual practice.
“Fiona’s writing is at once grounded, imaginative, humorous, gentle and gracious.”
Peter Stephens of Slow Reads
Kaspa and Fiona live together with their cats in the shadow of the Malvern hills and run the Malvern Sangha.
Cost of event: €150 plus accommodation
Summer Teachings: Mindfulness and Pureland Buddhism
July 18-22 with Dharmavidya David Brazier & Prasada Caroline Brazier
Nembutsu is the practice of holding ‘Buddha in mind’. Remembering Amida Buddha, we call out to the infinite source of love and transformation. It can thus literally be understood as a practice of mindfulness. How does this practice relate to the practices of mindfulness which are found in other Buddhist traditions? And, conversely, how does the current popularity of mindfulness practices drawn from various Buddhist sources, and practiced in both religious and therapeutic settings, fit with a Pureland outlook? As in previous years, this five day teaching period will include a full practice schedule and daily Dharma talks, given alternately by Dharmavidya and Prasada, which will take the form of a dialogue exploring this important topic. There will be opportunities for discussion and questions. Talks will explore and address popular notions of ‘being present’, the meaning of mindful awareness and the role of non attachment as they relate to mindfulness. It will look at the practical and spiritual implications of these teachings and at ways in which the various interpretations complement or compete with one another.
Cost of event: €150 plus accommodation
Women Together / Familieweek met apart programma voor kinderen.(language: Dutch/English)
families welcome with separate activities for children
July 25-29 led by Annetta de Quaasteniet & Caroline Brazier
Women coming together share a special connection. Life stories, different family roles, the challenge of balancing different aspects of complex lives, creativity and nurturing, dreams and ideas; these all provide meeting points even when personal experiences may vary and we may be at different life stages and on different paths. This five day group will provide a separate space for women to come together and talk and share experiences, to relax together and enjoy closeness of mind and body through massage, swimming, and time out of doors in nature. We will dance and sing in the moonlight. We will rest in the warm sunshine. We will develop ceremony and ritual to celebrate our feminine connections and to enrich our shared experience. We recognise that many women have responsibilities for children and families are welcome to join us during this week, and we will have some time together and some alone as a group of women. Annetta de Quaasteniet is a heartwork-massage therapist and has many years experience working with women in community groups in Netherlands. Caroline Brazier, who is a therapist, writer and groupworker has also spent many years working with women’s groups in community and educational settings. Both are mothers.
Cost of event: €150 plus accommodation Reduced rates for families and those on low incomes
Familieweek met apart programma voor kinderen. Door: Annetta de Quaasteniet en Caroline Brazier.
Vrouwen komen samen en delen hun speciale verbinding met elkaar. Levensverhalen, verschillende rollen, de uitdaging om te balanceren tussen de verschillende complexiteiten van het leven, creativiteit en verzorgen, dromen en ideeën, dit al bevat ontmoetingspunten voor iedere vrouw, in welke levensfase je ook bevindt. Deze 5 daagse garandeert een speciale plek voor vrouwen om samen te delen en ervaringen uit te wisselen, samen ontspannen en genieten van de nabijheid van body en mind, massage, zwemmen en tijd nemen om in de natuur te zijn. We gaan dansen in het maanlicht, en uitrusten in de zon. Rituelen en ceremonie’s om ons vrouwzijn te vieren en onze ervaring te verrijken. We begrijpen dat veel vrouwen hun verantwoordelijkheid hebben voor het opvoeden van kinderen, daarom kun je de kinderen meenemen naar deze familieweek waarin ze een eigen programma krijgen aangeboden. Naast tijd doorbrengen met je kinderen is er tijd om met andere vrouwen te zijn en tijd voor jezelf. Annetta de Quaasteniet is heartwork-massagetherapeut en heeft vele jaren ervaring met vrouwengroepen, meditatietraining in Nederland. Caroline Brazier, is therapeut, schrijfster en werkt al veel jaren met vrouwengroepen als trainer in woon/leefgemeenschappen en andere educatieve programma’s. Beide zij zelf ook moeder.
Kosten: €150 plus accommodatiekosten, voor mensen met lagere inkomens is er gereduceerd tarief mogelijk
Arts and Family Week (languages Dutch/English/Francais)
August 1-5 hosted by Maitrisimha Kouwenhoven and Caroline Brazier
A week of arts events. This year we are excited at the prospect of having a number of resident artists with us through the week, who will be able to offer masterclasses and coaching for those interested in developing their skill in various visual arts media. At the same time there will be plenty of creative fun for children and dabblers. Full details of artists in residence will be posted shortly.
Cost of event: €150 plus accommodation; reduced rates for families
Buddhist Psychology Summer School
August 8 - 12 with Caroline Brazier & Jnanamati Williams
The Amida training programme offers a unique application of Buddhist psychology theory and therapy practice through other-centred approach, a method developed at the centre. The summer school provides an opportunity for those who wish to sample the approach to experience lectures, seminars and practical classes with staff from the course. It also provides an opportunity for registered students to complete some of their attendance hours whilst enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of our French retreat centre and its locality. Half credits bare offered to registered students for this event. Background reading (useful but not essential: Caroline Brazier: Other=Centred Therapy (O-Books 2009) and Buddhist Psychology (Constable Robinson 2003) David Brazier: Zen Therapy (Constable Robinson 1995)
Cost: €150 plus accommodation; Registered Amida psychotherapy students: two and a half days credit plus accommodation
Earth to Earth: Facing grief and finding healing in nature
August 15-19 with Caroline Brazier and Geske Glahn
When we experience loss, whether through the death of a loved one or through some other life tragedy, the resonances of the event often feel like a death within ourselves. Indeed a part of us has died, for it is so often in our connections to those whom we love that we find our living selves, and with their departure we learn to embrace unwelcome solitude. Often at times of acute pain and loss we turn to nature. Instinctively we reach out towards the healing and replenishment which being close to growing things provides. This week event will provide space for healing in nature. There will be group time for sharing, time for solitary and shared experience of the environment, and the possibility for finding new ways to let go of loved ones should we wish through ceremony and simple rituals in nature. This group is open to anyone who would like to explore personal experiences of grief, though if your loss is very recent you may like to talk with us first about whether, and in what ways ,you feel ready for this work. Should you wish to discuss participating in advance, please do feel free to contact us. Caroline Brazier is leader of the Amida therapy training programme and author of Acorns Among the Grass (O-Books 2011) Geske Glahn lives in Copenhagen where she is voluntarily engaged in activities in Buddhist Centres.She shares Buddhist psychotherapy, mindfulness and nonviolent communication as individual therapy, courses and in health related projects. As also a former Amida volunteer and before that teacher in College and elsewhere she has a lot of different experiences to draw on. Now 65 years old, mother of two adult children and a passionate grandmother.
cost: €150 plus accommodation
Volunteer Week: eco-building, working on buildings & land
Aug 22-25 with Amida Community
A week of working on our buildings and land. We welcome any volunteers who would like to join us for a week of practice, practicalities and fun. Innovative ideas welcome.
Cost: contribution to accommodation costs
Rivers and forests: walking retreat (languages French/English)
August 29-September 2 with Caroline Prasada Brazier
This five day retreat will offer an opportunity for Buddhist practice combined with walking in the French countryside near to our centre in Cher. There will be formal and informal teachings on Pureland Buddhism, an opportunity to learn about our practice of nembutsu and the heart connection which it creates with the spiritual realm of Amida Buddha. The event will be informal allowing space for translation and discussion in French as well as English.
Cette retraite spirituelle de cinq jours sera une opportunité pour apprendre la pratique Bouddhique du Terre Pur. Ce sera combinée avec les promenades a la campagne Berrichon. Nous allons pratiquer la nembutsu, une connexion entre la cœur et le Bouddha Amida et son terrain célestiel. Cette événement offrait la possibilité de la discussion en français et anglais et espace pour traduction entre les deux.
Cost €100 plus accommodation
Women, Food and Bodies Week
September 5 - 9 with Susthama Kim & Caroline Brazier
A week of celebration, sharing and food. This five day group will be a space for women to get together and explore our complex relationships with our bodies through discussion, group exercises, physical activity and experimenting in the kitchen with all the wonderful produce of our Amida gardens. Among the many ingredients for this gourmet week, Susthama and Caroline are both enthusiastic and creative cooks, happy to share our Amida approach to cooking. We are both enthusiastic about working with women’s groups both therapeutically and creatively, exploring the personal and the spiritual. We love to dance and chanting around a fire at sunset. Susthama is enthusiastic about body therapies. Caroline has worked with women and eating groups for many years. This week is a real end of summer treat, an opportunity to get away and enjoy those mellow September days with good company and healthy living.
Cost €100 plus accommodation