Buckland hall retreat for volunteers 2016 proved once again to be a wonderful success, bringing devotees and volunteers on an intimate personal and self reflective journey in the idyllic stunning rural settings of Brecon Beacons in Wales.

Every morning, brave (and well-layered) devotees determined a morning walk, with Trivikram Das, would be the best way to keep them focused (and awake) through their Japa time. Others, chanted by the fire or in the high-ceiling halls that wove intricately through the building. Guru Puja followed, with each devotee offering their respects with flowers to the feet of Srila Prabhupada.

During morning class, all were inspired by the teachings of HG Vraja Bihari prabhu, who gave us practical tips to address the problems we may face in our spiritual life. He shared beautiful memories of Srila Prabhupada’s compassionate nature, touching our hearts and leaving most of us teary and in awe of his kindness to other souls. HG Sutapa Das gave a wonderful presentation on ‘Decisions Decisions’ which left all of us tickling with laughter at our very own indecisive decisions when faced with controversial questions such as “Should devotees eat chocolate?”.

There was a wonderful selection of evening workshops.  ‘Raising children for Krishna’ given by mother Guru Charana Padma dasi, where she shared her own experience of bringing up children in Krishna Consciousness.  ‘Dealing with Impersonalism’, by Akhandadhi das lead us through the principles of science to explain the logistics of Krishna Consciousness. ‘Can you be married and spiritually successful?” by HG Kripamoya and Mother Guru Charana Padma dasi proved to be extremely popular with a packed audience eager to learn a few tips on how to successfully be married and live a healthy, happy long life in Krishna consciousness.

After a full day of rich spiritual insight, we were all able to wind down to an amazing production of dramas performed by children as young as 5 years old to adults.  Through their amazing talent they delivered performances clearly giving the message of love of God, to remember Krsna and to never forget Him.

Finally, to set the mood even deeper with the whole atmosphere calm and serene the evening was completed with deeply relaxing kirtans, performed by kirtaneers from the Manor.
The profound messages put across throughout each of the wonderful talks and workshops made us all reflect deeply into our spiritual sadhana and how we can treat others better in Krishna consciousness.  By the end of the weekend we felt rejuvenated, spiritually charged, and blessed to be in the association of wonderful devotees with opportunities to make long lasting friendships.

Saying goodbye is always the hardest. What started as an apprehension ended with longing for more. A huge thank you to the whole team of Buckland hall retreat who painstakingly put together this wonderful event year after year. A beautiful weekend it was in celebration of Krishna Consciousness!