Buddhafield Ireland 2003 takes place in the magical context of the Grove of Sinann, Leitrim, from Friday August 15th to Monday August 18th, bringing together Buddhist meditation, ritual and bodywork for a camping retreat in the magical indigenous location of the Grove. The event centres around spiritual practice connecting body, emotions and mind with the world outside ourselves - human, natural and other! In creating a Buddhafield, we are creating a sacred space for our development, growth and transformation.
Buddhafield Ireland is dedicated to extending spiritual practice into all reaches of our being. In meditation, we develop awareness of our own bodies and breath and a welcoming friendliness towards all living beings. In ritual, we use body, speech and mind to engage our emotions for the task of transformation. With bodywork, we explore the different aspects of our physical experience.
This personal practice takes place within a broader context: in the hills and woods of summer Leitrim, in the physical experience of camping and practicing in the open air, in the pagan environment of the Grove of Sinann, and in what we believe is the first child-friendly Buddhist retreat to be held in Ireland, with childcare facilities provided. In this greater space, we will explore our interdependence with all living things.
The Grove of Sinann is set in the extraordinarily rich mythological landscape of the Leitrim hills. Run by committed ecological pagans, this 19-acre site has been lovingly developed into a perfect setting for the Buddhafield Ireland events. With its tree circle, turf maze, springs and well house, the Grove is a space of nature; of magic; and of transformation.
The retreat is suitable for beginners as well as more experienced meditators. Food will be vegetarian and based as far as possible on organic and local produce. The retreat will last from dinner on the Friday until the afternoon of the Monday. Costs are €60 unwaged, €90 low-waged, and €120 full-waged. Children up to 5 are free, from 6 to 16 half price (childcare facilities provided). Buddhafield Ireland is non-profit, and these prices are set to cover costs only.
To book, please contact Penny at or tel. +353 (1) 2194888 or see below.
Going on retreat
Going on retreat is like nothing you've done before - even when you HAVE done it before. Many people say that going on retreat is a definite highlight, a positive turning point in their lives. It is time you give to yourself, living simply and cheaply with others, camping in fields in a beautiful part of Leitrim, an area rich in legend and spiritual tradition.
But there's more to being on retreat than living communally in pleasant surroundings. Meditation plays an important part in any retreat. Newcomers will be taught two practices: the mindfulness of breathing to help develop calmness and focus, and the metta bhavana, which is a way to cultivate friendliness towards all beings. These meditations are common to everyone, whether you have been practising for many years or are just starting.
Meditation is a natural method of developing awareness, and done regularly it has lasting results. It presents a systematic approach to gaining an increased awareness of ourselves, of our bodies and movement, and of our feelings, thoughts and emotions. We also gain a better appreciation of other people just as they are, whatever their relationship is to us. An expanded awareness may also affect how we experience and respond to our environment. Meditation can take us from distraction and stress to feeling more relaxed, able to make creative changes when needed, seeing things more clearly and discovering ourselves more fully. Ultimately it leads to Enlightenment, the greatest possible expression of wisdom, compassion and energy.
A typical day on retreat starts with an early morning wake-up call, and everyone meditates together before breakfast around 9 am. This is followed by a short meeting where the necessary tasks of the day are sorted out. You may find yourself volunteering to chop vegetables, decorate the meditation tent, keep the tea kettles boiling...
Later there might be a group discussion period, more meditation and a chance to try some form of body work such as yoga, tai chi or drumming. In the afternoon you may wish to chat around the fire, or go for walks, or have an hour or so all to yourself in some sunny spot. After dinner, once the sun has disappeared, comes a final session in the meditation space, usually with a talk on some aspect of Buddhism, some chanting and quiet reflection. As the moon clears the clouds, stars sparkling above you and the glow of the lanterns from the camp softly beckoning - the perfect prelude to sleep.
Look forward to seeing you there!
Changing the nature of your reality
Many people involved in the environmental and alternative movements have three things in common: an awareness (often acute) of the problems facing the world and the pressing need to get out there and act; an awareness (to some degree) of the need to sort out their own "stuff", their complexities and problems; and a general desire to have fun and enjoy life. These three can pull us in different, apparently quite incompatible directions; we can feel torn in ourselves and perpetually guilty.
We are all, in different ways, skewered on the paradox of Self and Other. The problems of the world are enormous, to do justice to any of them is truly a lifetime's work and more; we ourselves can feel so complicated and confused it can seem a lifetime's work just to sort ourselves out - and a lifetime's work and therapy doesn't leave much room for fun!
This is a real paradox: there are no easy answers, no quick solutions. To ignore any of these dimensions is to fail to do justice to life in its wholeness; to focus only on one or another is to become partial and narrowed-down. We can recognise stereotypes: the arch-activist, living only for political campaigning, a fountain of energy yet who slowly succumbs to anger and burn-out, whose personal life and relationships are in tatters; the therapy addict who seems stuck in a mire of self-preoccupation, going ever-deeper into themselves yet never getting to the bottom of anything; and the party animal who eventually wakes up in the ashes of the night before with a sour taste in their mouth and a dreadful sense of emptiness.
Like all paradoxes, there are no solutions to be found on the level of the problems themselves. We have to become different beings, beings who literally see the world through different eyes: we have to grow. To do this we need at least some vision of where we are headed and a path of practical steps we can follow. This path has to be able to include the whole of ourselves and indeed to be a path open to all living beings, whatever their particular lives and interests.
There are two crucial dimensions to this path, each of which help us in different ways to move beyond the paradox of self and other. The first is a growth in awareness, the second a growth in our capacity to love. Both are necessary, both are capable of infinite development and perfection, both have so many facets to them they are inexhaustible. On this retreat we will explore both the vision and the path of transformation: how to change the nature of our reality.
Securing a place
Costs for the 2003 Buddhafield Ireland retreat are €60 unwaged, €90 low-waged, €120 full-waged. Children up to 5 are free, from 6 to 16 half price (childcare facilities provided). A deposit of 1/3 of the total cost will secure places. To book, send a deposit to Penny Iremonger, c/o Evolution, Unit 6 GPO Arcade, Henry Street, Dublin 1 (please let us know your name, phone number/e-mail, postal address, number and ages of children coming if any, and any special dietary requirements). For more information, contact Penny at or tel. +353 (1) 2194888.
Buddhafield Ireland is a non-profit making organisation. Charges for retreats are set at a level to cover ate costs. This ensures the retreat remains accessible to as many people as possible. The project is made possible by the committed volunteer work and fundraising of the Buddhafield Ireland team, as well as the support of the Grove of Sinann and the Dublin Meditation Centre.
The Buddhafield Ireland project grows out of the result of the work of three very special groups of people: the Grove of Sinann, the Buddhafield team from Britain, and the Dublin Meditation Centre.
In Leitrim, the Grove of Sinann is a long-standing (over ten years) community arts project developed by a group of people dedicated to personal development, connection with the earth and the ancient Irish stories. The Grove itself is a remarkable site in an area of great mythological resonance, which never leaves visitors unmoved. The Grove has hosted Buddhafield events for the last three years.
In Britain, the Buddhafield team is a group of people associated with the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. They teach meditation at festivals, run camping retreats, and organise the Buddhafield Festival. They support themselves through the Buddhafield cafe: "best cafe in the Green Fields" - Glastonbury '99! Our inspiration, and support for the first two retreats, came from the UK Buddhafield team.
In Dublin, the Dublin Meditation Centre has been teaching Buddhist meditation, yoga and the skills of personal development since the 1980s. Operating with a team which will reach 6 ordained teachers by the end of the year, it represents one of the most experienced centres of Buddhist meditation practice in Ireland. The Dublin Meditation Centre lends us support of various kinds for our retreats.
The Buddhafield Ireland project is now in its fourth year of hosting meditation festivals in Ireland: the first at Slí na Bandé (the Way of the Goddess) in Co. Wicklow, the second and third at the Grove of Sinann in Co. Leitrim. We are a team of volunteers who have committed ourselves to this project because of our own response to the idea and the changes we have seen in the lives of other participants. If you are interested in joining the team, or have other queries not related to booking, you can contact us at .