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Welcome The Amida Buddhist Centre is situated in the centre of France, in the Berry region. This part of France is relatively unspoilt with plenty of lakes and forests. The centre has over 15 hectares of wild woodland and overgrown fields which makes it the ideal place for Buddhist

The centre is run by a western Pureland Buddhist Group whose central practice is the Nembutsu. To live and die with the Nembutsu is to entrust oneself to the Buddha’s teachings and to allow oneself to be carried across to the other shore. For many people the experience of being carried or held and connected to something greater such as the Dharma is strongly felt in beautiful and tranquil environments with very few distractions. The splendours of nature, the impermanence of all things, as well as the continuous cycle of life and death can be observed here. As we pass through the different seasons we witness a change in the conditions which lead to a change in oneself: we grow, expand, move, stop, and withdraw. To take time out and contemplate is good for one’s spirit. To remove oneself from the distractions and regular escape routes can help one see things more clearly. To actively engage in creating conditions that are wholesome and loving is beneficial to all sentient beings. And to spend time in a place conducive to feeling connected to something greater than oneself either with others or in solitude is what we are inviting you to do at:

The Amida Buddhist Centre A VILLE AU ROI BESSAIS-LE-FROMENTAL LE CHER 18210 FRANCE 00.33(0)

Guide for


SPRING As the days grow longer and the sun’s rays intensify, outdoor activity begins anew: time to wake up after a long winter’s nap. Digging and planting start in the garden, mending repairs on the buildings, gathering and bringing in wood for next year’s fuel become part of a vast array of meaningful activities keeping us nourished and fulfilled. Spring back into action and become aware of your body, mind, and spirit as this place comes to life with friendly and lively discussions over meals. Engage with others through shared time working on arts projects or visiting local places of interest. Opportunities for informal contact with teachers and other practitioners abound here.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR SPRING AND SUMMER Casual light clothes and hat Comfortable shoes for walking or working Sleeping bag if you are camping, torch Tent if camping (we have one or two that can be borrowed if not in use) NB! It is known to be either cold and wet or scorching hot during these seasons. OPTIONAL Musical instruments or art materials Meditation cushion Sports or play materials including swimming things, as we have lakes nearby Laptop as there is Wi-fi (broadband) Bicycle ACCOMMODATION There are shared rooms in the house, smaller single rooms in outbuildings, and camping. We have one meditation hut for individual retreats, and hope to build more. COST We generally suggest between €20 and €40 per person per day. For longer stays, discuss a suitable contribution.


AUTUMN Clear and crisp days, spectacular colours and cooler temperatures equal harvest and jam and chutney making! It’s a time to celebrate Amida’s bounty - all 100% organic: pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, beetroot, leeks and tomatoes as well as apples, pears, blackberries, hazelnuts and walnuts, plus much much more from our garden, orchard and surrounding fields. After Autumn has stripped all the trees bare, winter sets in with shorter days and longer nights. As the temperature starts dropping we become aware of our need for protection, shelter and warmth. This is also a time when we can pay special attention to the significance of Amida’s light, as well as respect the darker aspects in life. It is a time of rest and rejuvenation. PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR FALL AND WINTER Warm clothes, waterproof jacket, leggings and warm socks. Comfortable boots for walking or working and wellies, torch. A winter sleeping bag is needed if you are camping or planning on doing a retreat in the meditation hut. OPTIONAL Meditation cushion. Laptop as there is Wi-fi (broadband) Bicycle * * * We keep a supply of work clothes, jumpers, thick coats and wellies at the centre, so we can usually find extra clothes if you need them. ACCOMMODATION Single and shared rooms are available in the main building. The centre relies mainly on wood burning stoves and small halogen heaters. For hardy and well weathered practitioners, Winterwood, the meditation hut is available for individual retreats. COST We ask you to contribute financially for your stay, and generally suggest between €15 - €20 per person per day to cover food, other living costs, and running expenses.


A GUIDE TO PURELAND BUDDHIST PRACTICE The Amida Order is a Pureland Buddhist group: a tradition that is extremely widespread in the East but rare in the West. This practice is devotional and centres on the Nembutsu, or the calling of the Buddha’s name in a number of forms, generally involving chanting in a number of styles and rhythms whilst walking and sitting. We have periods of silent contemplation and also share in a variety of liturgy. Community or Sangha building is an important aspect of the practice, and includes sharing daily tasks, work in the gardens and on buildings as well as sharing one’s experience of practice in community gatherings. The Amida lifestyle is based on Buddhist precepts. We do not eat meat, or consume alcohol on site. Please join us in creating this atmosphere by behaving responsibly, avoiding sexual misconduct, respecting living things, sharing and co-operating with others. As a visitor you are welcome to join in this practice, ask questions and learn about Pureland Buddhism.

SOLITARY/INDIVIDUAL RETREATS As a guest at Amida France you can create a balance between private time and community life and between expressive activities and contemplative or devotional ones. Solitary retreats are possible in the retreat hut or by camping in more distant fields depending on conditions. Personal retreats while staying in the main building is possible during the winter season. Enquire for details. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION HEALTH AND SAFETY: Medical or other insurance as desired. UK Citizens can apply for a European insurance card from your nearest post office. Please work and play in ways that are sensitive to the environment, matters of safety and the needs of others. At Amida we do all we can to ensure the safety of our visitors, however, we cannot be liable for any accidents which occur on site. We would also like to remind you that visitors stay at the centre at their own risk. INFORMATION ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT: UK to Paris: Air lines; Rail: Eurostar; Coach: (cheapest) Eurolines. FRM PARIS TO ST. AMAND MONTROND (ORVAL) : Train from Paris Austerlitz to St Amand Montrond (Montlucon line, some change at Vierzon). Beware there are 17 St Amands in France. Get the right one! Phone for lift from station. We charge 15E for a car journey to pick you up or drop you at the station.



9 - 12 April "Tathagatagarbha” Come and bathe in amida’s light with Dharmavidya

Easter was originally a pagan celebration of renewal and rebirth. Celebrated in the early spring, it honored the pagan fertility goddess Oestre. In Buddhism the idea of Tathagatagarbha is an important concept. Garbha means womb. Tathagata means the Buddha who comes to save us. The idea of tathagatagarbha is interpreted differently in different traditions. In this retreat we shall practice together, enjoy the new growth of spring life in the world around us, and also examine the notion of spiritual transformation through the medium of the analogy of gestation and giving birth. Suggested donation €15 per day Accommodation fee €20 per day Full board


13 - 17 July 2009 SESSHIN COME AND EXPERIENCE THE HOLY POWER OF LOVE with Dharmavidya Sesshin, from setsu-shin, is a Japanese term meaning to be in touch with and transmit the heart (shin). A sesshin is a period of intensive spiritual practice. Spiritual practice is to dwell in the presence of the Unconditioned. Whether one retires from the world as a hermit saint or goes forth into the midst of society for the benefit of all sentient beings, one's ground is always ultimately the holy power of love. Buddha called this the Divine Resort (Brahma Vihara). It can be recognized by followers of any serious spiritual path. It is not exclusive to one faith. In this sesshin all can together practise insight, tranquil abiding, and invocation in a variety of ways. Instruction will be given in basic spiritual exercises and extended periods of practice will be included. Much of the retreat will be in silence. We can reflect upon our nature, imbibe the power of peace, and deepen our sense of spirituality. This retreat is for seekers and practitioners of any tradition and is devoted to universal love and peace. Suggested donation €15 - €30 per day Accommodation fee between €20 - €50 per day

Mon 20 July - Fri 24 July 2009 - The Spiritual Dynamics of Applied Buddhist Ethics

Dharma Teachings by Dharmavidya A series of talks on the basic principles of spiritual life with a particular focus upon the ethical precepts as a description of the Buddhakaya. Dharmavidya's teachings spring from the wisdom of the Pureland Buddhist tradition that advances high ideals while recognising the vulnerable character of human nature. The dynamic of Pureland teaching springs from the contrast between personal and buddha natures and between this world and the Pure Land of harmony. These are practical issues for those wishing to embark upon a life of service and spirituality. In this teaching week there will be Dharma presentations, seminars and small groups focussed on the issues raised. Suggested donation €15 - €30 per day Accommodation fee between €20 - €50 per day

Monday 27 July 2009 to 31 July the creative undercurrent Come and unleash your creative source Breathe, relax, and spread your wings. Intuition, confidence, and love are at the heart of this week. This week will include daily relaxation exercises, guided visualisations as well as time to work on creative projects. Suggested donation €10 - €20 per day Accommodation fee between €20 - €50 per day

Mon 3 Aug - to Fri 7 Aug : Buddhist Psychology Summer School Led by Prasada and Dharmavidya An opportunity to join with staff and students from the Amida Psychotherapy Training Programme for five days of workshops, lectures and experiential sessions in the French countryside. This event will provide an excellent introduction for those interested in the topic who have no prior experience, as well as offering regular students a chance to gain course credits in a different setting to that of our regular course blocks in the UK. It will give space for the exploration of the application of Buddhist psychology in therapeutic contexts, both in general terms, and in terms of developing specific other-centred skills. For existing students it will provide consolidation of learning gained from other courses, as well as providing time to relax together and get to know each other in new ways : pleasant atmosphere of the Amida centre. The structure of the day will be negotiable with the group but will probably consist of morning and evening formal learning sessions, with afternoons free for walking, swimming or conversation. There will be opportunities to join Buddhist practice at the centre, and participants may want to extend their stay to join one of our other programmes. Recommended pre-reading for participants: David Brazier's Zen Therapy and Caroline Brazier's Buddhist Psychology. Note that this event will include personal sharing as well as theoretical discussion. This event carries half credit for registered students. Total Cost for BP summer school : €300/£200 for public €200/£125 for all registered students ACCOMMODATION between € 20 - 50 per day per person

To book

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The Amida Buddhist Centre Guide in France  
The Amida Buddhist Centre Guide in France  

The 2009 guide to retreats and events at the Amida Buddhist Centre in France.