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Land of Joy is a retreat community project in the United Kingdom, currently in its preliminary stages. For Mandala October-December 2013, Thomas Warrior, a Land of Joy team member, interviewed project coordinator Andy Wistreich, a long-time student and FPMT registered teacher with a strong interest in retreat, about the plans for the center.
Thomas: What elements will be incorporated into the retreat community?
Andy: The core elements of Land of Joy will be the group retreat and conference facilities, the solitary retreat huts, the contemplative community, the Tara Hospice Care service and a monastic community. There will be an organic market garden and orchard providing as much as possible of the food consumed at Land of Joy, sustainable energy generating plant and a library. Group retreats, conferences and courses will be provided by both the center and by partner organizations on a hire-out basis. The contemplative community will be for adults of all ages who wish to lead a semi-retreat lifestyle based on Buddhist refuge. Members of this community will link up with other community members living nearby the center for a range of Dharma activities such as meditations, discussion groups and pujas. It is anticipated that they will also help to provide a program of Buddhist and related courses, groups and activities for people living in the area. The Tara Hospice Care service will start out by training volunteers to give non-medical end-of-life support in the local community. In due course, it is hoped to develop a small hospice at Land of Joy providing for one or two resident patients. The monastic community will begin with either a monastery or nunnery for a small number of ordained Sangha residents. In due course we hope to establish both at Land of Joy.
Thomas: Will Land of Joy only be for Buddhists?
Andy: Land of Joy will welcome people of all faiths and none, who are interested in the benefits of retreat. The program of retreats offered by Land of Joy will reflect a very diverse range of needs and preferences. There is no reason why retreats led by members of non-Buddhist faiths may not take place there as partner programs. It is intended to offer a range of Universal Education activities and retreats for various groups. There will be activities for youth, families and other special interest groups. There will be programs of secular retreats on either mindfulness or compassion training. At the heart of the program will be traditional Buddhist retreats in the FPMT tradition, covering a diverse range of Sutrayana and Vajrayana practices, and including regular visits by high lamas giving Vajrayana empowerments and teachings. Land of Joy will be a place of learning and contemplation for everyone. …
From Mandala October-December 2013
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Mandala Publications is the official publication of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international charitable organization founded by two Tibetan Buddhist masters, Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984) and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. FPMT is a vibrant international community, with a network of 160 affiliate centers, projects and services, and members in more than 30 countries.
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