Buddhafield Festival

Eve visited Buddhafield festival for the first time this July to give two climate change related workshops. The festival near Taunton is a alcohol and drug free, celebrating community and connection with the land through music, dance, crafts, yoga and meditation. There are Buddhist teachings and ritual open to everyone.

Buddhafield 2017

Buddhafield 2017 Photo Tara Green

The two workshops Eve gave were Overcoming Fear and Change the Culture not the Climate.

Overcoming Fear in the Wetheuncivilized lodge. Looking at the nature of fear and techniques so that it doesn’t hold us back. The process can be applied to many areas of our lives but the examples in this workshop were drawn from climate activism.

Change the Culture not the Climate in the Social Change Area. Drawing on many of the experiences of the Buzz Tour we be looked at the types of social change to protect the environment and how we might create system change.

It was the first time I’ve returned from a festival feeling rejuvenated!

The Buddhafield program was packed with workshops, talks, meditation, music and so many options on the giant notice boards that you have to relax into the certainty that you can only do a small number of the activities available. The sound system was turned off at 11pm and I made frequent use of the sauna area so I actually could relax and sleep well. My friends from Hempen hemp farm were there with their CBD food stall as were the Peasants Kitchen with intense seabuckthorn berry drinks.  Seabuckthorn grows in coastal areas and the bright orange juice has extremely high amounts of vitamins including vitamin C. A diet of raw chocolate CBD flapjacks, with apple juice and seabuckthorn to wash it down had me glowing by the time I left the festival.


Engaging with climate change as a Buddhist

In Totnes I had my first introduction to DANCE – the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement. Dharma is an Indian word and concept that has many meanings and nuances in different religions but in the context of Buddhism my understanding is that a simplified definition would be the teachings of Buddha and a ‘right way of living’.

One of the founders of DANCE, the inspiring Rob Burbea, kindly explained what had driven him to start the network. The interview will be in the documentary we are compiling of the journey. The idea behind DANCE is to create a space where people can connect and explore a wider range of possible responses to climate change within Buddhist teachings, and to discuss their feelings.

Upon arriving in Bristol I met my first DANCE member. Lindsay Alderton and I crossed paths through her work in Global Power Shift UK, where many climate change groups are coming together to form a larger movement. In conversation it turned out she was also a member of DANCE in Bristol, as was her friend Julia. They had done a range of activist actions that you might expect from other climate change groups, but the thing that struck me as noticeably different was the manner of contemplation. Conversations were much more present, listening and open, more contemplative and exploratory. Their behaviour suggested little attachment to tactics and more of a focus on a process of development and openness. Lindsay kindly did an interview for me and it was very obvious to me that she had emotionally processed a lot more of the trauma of climate change than the vast majority of people I have met, it was not an abstract intellectual concept, but an emotional reality that was driving the motivations of her life.

The purity of her intentions and statement of her truth was very moving and inspiring for me, leaving me feeling strengthened. When you meet someone with a pure intention to reduce suffering and protect our future it restores your trust and your faith, it is easier to connect and to bring out those things within yourself.

The teachings which arise out of Buddism have brought a great deal to the world and I look forward to them bringing a lot more to the responses to climate change.