An annual convention for students on the psychotherapy training course, this self-programming weekend is a good opportunity for students to bank up Peer Learning Hours (required by the course) and spend time in each other’s company.
Always a stimulating environment in which to develop your skill in methods taught on the course, to discuss basic principles, and to explore the processes at work in our lives. An opportunity for one to one and group based practice and for giving and receiving feedback, as well as to clarify points of theory.
Accommodation, costs, and other useful information
If you are attending a retreat, course or other training event, you are welcome to stay in The Buddhist House. At the Buddhist House we also welcome visitors who would like to come and stay to practice Buddhism with us and learn more about our way of life. Individual visits and retreats are possible at most times.
Learn the basics of Pureland practice and find out what it means to practise.
This introductory retreat is open to all. We will introduce some basic concepts found in the Amidist approach to Pureland Buddhism and spend some time practising together. Amida retreats are friendly, informative, and replenishing. This will be a good time for those interested in taking time out from a busy or stressful life to relax, chant, explore one's faith and spirituality and experience life in a Buddhist community. Please arrive Friday evening if possible.
A Weekend Introducing the Work of the Amida Trust & Community
This is a good general introductory weekend for all who would like to be involved with the Amida Trust as students, volunteers, community members or Buddhist practitioners. The course covers the formal and informal organisation, philosophy, principles and practicalities of the Trust, the Amida Order, Amida-shu, its project work, educational programmes, artistic and cultural activity. You will find out what goes on, who is who and how it all works. This course is one of the best ways to start or deepen involvement with the work of the Trust and Amida-shu. Attenders in previous years have gone on to a variety of projects and roles within the Amida network.
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."
Spirituality and art share much in both being explorations of inspiration. The Other Power of spirituality and the Artist's Muse are forces that establish traditions of expression through human activity that is "for its own sake" yet speaks of the deepest meanings of which people are capable. Thus much of the greatest art is religious art, the world's spiritual literature includes some of its greatest poetry and prose, even secular art speaks of an influence that goes beyond the mundane, and art itself in all its diversity is a language of the Spirit. One does not have to be highly talented to participate in this. One of the aims of Amida Trust is to make it possible for ordinary people to participate, not merely be a passive audience. To this end the Trust sponsors pandramatics, poetry days, and a range of workshops. Easter is the time of rebirth after winter darkness. Let us meet together and have a collective flowering. Different participants may be drawn to different modalities of work, but all can stimulate and inspire one another.
During these four days we shall have opportunities to practice arts including:
Plastic Arts: Painting, collage, craftwork, construction of art works, flower arranging, etc.
Performance Arts: using the pandramatics approach to improvisation
Verbal Arts: Poetry, writing, scripting, etc.
Each day will include periods for creative work, seminars on method and meaning, and gatherings for sharing. The aim is to establish a creative community for the four days. Participants are, of course, also welcome to arrive early or stay longer if they wish to extend the time they devote to this work. The art room is always available.
This workshop counts half credit for psychotherapy students, ie full attendance gives you two days of staff contact
hours plus one day peer learning and costs you two days attendance fees.
A weekend retreat gathering, Friday evening 7pm (or meal at 6) to 3.30pm Sunday. It is traditional in Pureland Buddhism to hold a retreat in the autumn in memory of the exile of Honen Shonin and other founders of Pureland in Japan. From about the year 1200 onward the traditional Buddhist temples in Japan began to be more and more alarmed by the spread of the nembutsu teaching throughout the land. In 1204 they petitioned for the abolition of the nembutsu practice. In 1207, Honen Shonin, then 75 years old, was exiled and his leading disciples were all exiled to different parts of the country. This actually eventually led to the dissemination of the nembutsu through Japan and to its becoming the largest school of Buddhism in the country. The bannishment was repealed a couple of years later and Honen eventually returned to the capital where he died in 1212. At this retreat we will remember these formative events and also look at the themes of exile, return and refuge and of keeping faith through difficult times as they manifests in our own lives. A time to practice together, share experience, learn about the tradition and celebrate our connections as a sangha.
This two day workshop will explore the different types of relationships involved in chaplaincy and other face to face spiritual work. Chaplaincy and other spiritual support work provides opportunities to meet people in many different circumstances. The context is often one in which the person is facing particular changes or life traumas, and may be open to reviewing life and seeking the spiritual dimension in new ways. Meetings may have been requested and planned, or may be casual and informal. They may be in depth or brief, and it is not always clear at the outset what is required. We will look at styles of interaction which are appropriate in different circumstances, at the opportunities to support personal spiritual transformation which emerge in this kind of work. We will discuss the sort of boundary issues which need to be taken into account in the mixed relationships which can exist in the spiritual context and how to avoid some of the pitfalls. This course also carries credit for enrolled psychotherapy students.
Spiritual groups offer ceremonies to the important mark life transitions of their members. In the last couple of decades, interest in the creative use of ritual has grown, and people increasingly seek more personalised events. Some Buddhist groups already have traditional ceremonies to mark rites of passage, but many Western groups are daunted by requests from their members and others. Learning to facilitate personal ceremony is an art which takes practice, resourcefulness and a dramatic presence. Ritual is a language, mastered through experience and repetition. This two day workshop will look at the art of ceremony and creating a special occasion relevant both for those committed to a religious path and to those who have a less aligned sense of the spiritual. It will be practical, suitable for anyone who might take a role in such events, but particularly for those who may be called on to lead them. We will look at resources: readings, music, and chants; and at commonly used elements of a service, including making offerings, creation of the ceremonial space, invocations, symbolic acts, blessings and dedications. We will draw on both Buddhist sources and other spiritual traditions. We will discuss the structuring of anevent, the poetic and metaphoric frame, and the sequencing of elements. We will look at those small details which become so precious to participants. There will be opportunities to practice ceremony and pool resources. This course is an important opportunity for all Vow 22 students but will be useful to Buddhists of any background.
A weekend to celebrate the founder of Japanese Pureland, Honen Shonin
Honen Shonin started a movement that revolutionised Japanese Buddhism, not only in his own school. He took the teachings to the mass of ordinary people and emphasised thei all inclusiveness. He was opposed to elitism and religious criteria that excluded many people. His approach to teaching was very down to earth and his practices simple.
This weekend is both a time to celebrate tradition and what it brings into our lives and to reflect that this tradition has, at its core, a call to new life, new vision and new faith. We can reflect upon our own commitment to a path of practice for the benefit of the ordinary people of the world.