Buddhism & ecology - a Buddhist retreat at The Barn at Sharpham
Ben Murray

Remembering Ourselves as Earth: Buddhism and Ecology

Summary

8 Reviews
6 nights - Annually
Any meditation experience
Single
Short periods of silence
Max. Spaces: 11

Overview

In this retreat we'll explore how traditional Buddhist teachings like interdependence & emptiness intersect with ecology - the science of relations between living beings.

We will do this through meditation, dharma study and living in community, with wild craft and foraging activities to deepen our connection to the animate world around us.

This retreat looks at ecology through a Buddhist lens and Buddhism through an ecological lens - it's not a focus on the current ecological crisis, though that will be included.

Informing this retreat are various influences: from the Buddha's sutras and later Dharma teachings to the work of philosophers, poets, storytellers, scientists, artists and teachers from near and far.

Through sitting and walking meditation, heart practices, living in community, and connecting to this land, we will honour our relations with what the writer Sophie Strand calls "the Animate Everything", sinking into a sense of greater belonging to the Earth, including ourselves.

This retreat is for you if you:

  • want to experience a retreat in the Buddhist tradition
  • are prepared to live and work in community, working in the gardens
  • would like to experience some periods of silence
  • are aged 18 and above
What is mindfulness?

What you'll experience on this retreat:

  • living in community with like-minded people, sharing experiences and tasks, including cooking and eating together and helping in our gardens
  • guided meditations and periods of silence and quiet contemplation
  • community sharing
  • mindful movement
  • finding connection with nature
  • a single-occupancy room and your own space in which to rejuvenate, with free time to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself
  • access to 24-hour hot teas, coffee & infusions in the kitchen
  • the beautiful Sharpham Estate, set within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty close to nature, amid breath-taking scenery on the banks of the River Dart
The rear of the Barn Retreat centre at Sharpham with sunlight

What you'll need to know:

If you decide to stay with us, we’ll send you a list of what you need to bring for this retreat in your Welcome Letter that we send out after you've booked.

You can also find out more about staying with us on our Frequently Asked Questions page, including:

  • accessibility information
  • why we encourage you to come on your own and not with partners or friends
  • what the difference is between our retreats
View our FAQs

Schedule

The weekly schedule provides opportunities for both individual reflection and group meditation.

If you're coming to stay with us on retreat, it is important to make a commitment to arrive in time for the first group meeting and to attend all the days.

This ensures you experience the retreat programme from start to finish and helps your group of participants to gel.

It is important that you are willing to participate in working on the land as part of your mindfulness practice (we can easily find suitable tasks for people with health difficulties) and that you can commit to all the scheduled activities during the week. This includes three 40 minute formal meditation periods each day.


Silence

All our retreats include periods of silence as a way of deepening into mindful awareness.

If you are new to spending time in silence in the company of other people, it can feel awkward to begin with. But we encourage you to explore the silent periods with a spirit of openness and curiosity - people usually find it to be a positive experience. 

Note that we hold silence overnight from 8.40pm to 9.15am in the morning, and all day Wednesday.


Sunday

Afternoon
2.00pm to 4.00pm – Your arrival
5.00pm – Welcome Meeting
6.30pm – Light evening meal. Then settling in
8.00pm – Meditation, followed by silence until 9.15am the next day

Monday to Friday:

Mornings Afternoons
6.20am – Wake up 12.20pm – Guided or silent meditation
6.45am – Movement & meditation 1.00pm – Lunch
7.30am –  Household tasks 2.00pm – Personal time
8.00am – Breakfast 3.30pm - Land-based ecological practice
9.15am – Silence ends, morning meeting & check-in (except Wednesday)  5.00pm – Teaching (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday)
10.30am – Mindful gardening 6.30pm – Light supper
  8.00pm – Guided or silent meditation followed by silence until 9.15am the following day

Saturday:  

As above until 8.00am. Silence ends at breakfast. Then it's time to clear your room and depart between 9.00am and 10.00am.

Reviews

Beautiful location, inspirational facilitation by leaders on the retreat theme and heart warming community building within group.

Benefits included deeper recognition & appreciation of all the wisdom acquired during life journey and sense of increased resilience and positivity about being an 'elder'. Especially enjoyed daily Qi Gong exercises, supportive presence of co-ordinator & Felice Rhiannon's sessions.

Came away with increased energy, new tools to draw on to enable me to live my senior years in accordance with my values, pursue activities which bring me joy and contentment & face life's challenges.

retreat participant

A life-changing experience

participant on young persons' retreat at The Coach House

The Barn is a very special place, made special most of all by the tireless voluntary work of the Barn coordinators. This is a review of the typical 6 night retreat, with the usual structure: up at 6.40am for mindful movement (or standing and staring in my case) and then meditation; further 40 minute meditations, sometimes metta or walking at 12.20pm and 8pm. There is quite a lot of structure to the day, maybe a bit too much for my taste, but still the afternoons and evenings are mostly free; if one really wanted to rest instead of attending a session, I felt this would be respected, or even encouraged. The visiting dhamma teachers were excellent, as usual, and gave some excellent answers (with a Buddhist perspective, but far from dogmatically doctrine) to wide ranging questions from the retreatants. It seems slightly absurd to give the Barn a star rating: would anyone seriously claim they were a 'five-star Buddhist'? But if I have to, then five stars is the only possible rating and thoroughly deserved.

Mark Wildon
June 2023
See all Reviews

People in a ring outside The Barn Retreat at Sharpham

The Barn Retreat Centre

Our popular meditation retreat venue in the Buddhist tradition is where up to 11 people join together living in community for weekly retreats, including a variety of themed retreats - scroll on to see them all.

You'll be staying within a friendly atmosphere of fellowship, sitting together in daily meditations and mindfully tending our organic vegetable gardens.

You'll have your own single room, you'll get to eat produce from what's grown on the land here and you'll also get time to explore the wonder of the beautiful and contemplation-inspiring Sharpham Estate.

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Leaders

Nina Jankelson - assistant manager of The Barn retreat centre at Sharpham
Nina Jankelson - retreat leader Read more +
Tasha Bassingthwaighte
Tasha Bassingthwaighte - retreat leader Read more +

Costs

Participants at The Barn can select which rate they pay according to need:

Supported Rate £395

The Sharpham Trust is committed to ensuring that retreats at The Barn are accessible to all - regardless of income. The Trust therefore offers a heavily subsidised Supported Rate for those unable to pay the Standard or Benefactor Rate.

Standard Rate £450

Paying the Standard Rate means you will be contributing towards our running costs, supporting the work of The Barn and helping retreatants of lower incomes to access our retreats.

Benefactor Rate £550

If you are able to pay the Benefactor Rate, that means that you'll be supporting others who cannot afford to benefit from a Barn retreat on The Sharpham Estate. Your choice to pay this rate will help us with the running costs of The Barn, enabling us to continue our charitable work connecting people to nature and fostering mindfulness and wellbeing, as well as caring for the land, wildlife and wider estate.

DANA

Dana is the Pali word for generosity or donation. The volunteer coordinators are receiving only a small payment for expenses whilst living at The Barn and are generously giving their energy and understanding to us all. If you are able donations are welcome.

There will be a maximum of 11 participants on this retreat.

All rooms are single occupancy, giving you your own space in which to relax.

Book easily and securely online or by phoning 01803 732542

Terms & Conditions

Please click here to see our booking and cancellations policy

Room Types

Click here for more information on our types of bedrooms and facilities.

All rooms are comfortable single rooms, with a shared bathroom. All rooms are randomly allocated, unless you have medical needs relating to your room allocation. If you have such a need, let us know on your booking form before the retreat begins. 

Bursaries

Limited 50% bursaries offering reduced-price retreats are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Please contact the Programme Administrator at least 4 weeks in advance if you wish to apply.

Our bursary fund relies on donations. If you’d like to help another to go on retreat here through our bursary scheme, you can give online quickly and easily by clicking here

Available dates

2024 14 Jul

The Barn: Remembering Ourselves as Earth: Buddhism and Ecology (6 nights)

With Tasha Bassingthwaighte & Nina Jankelson