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In the Buddhist context Mindfulness is a wholesome mental factor which opens the door for loving kindness, clear knowing, spaciousness and tranquility.
From that place of peace and friendliness we gain insight and wisdom leading us towards a more balanced and fulfilling way of life.

In ‘letting-go’ of the cherishing of our likes and dislikes space is opened-up and we enter a world of vast potential.
Mindfulness, or Satipatthana, is a practice for the well-being of oneself and others.
“ When all striving ceases the mind’s essential peace will be revealed”.

Meditation Programme for 2015

"Beyond the rightness and wrongness of things, there is a field. I will meet you there"

Reflecting on the un-avoidable reality of impermanence and the preciousness of the present moment, will turn the mind towards the dharma.
It was after having been confronted by illness, old age and death, that the Buddha started his quest for “the cessation of suffering”.

For our practice to make sense, we need to reflect on our motivation. Why are we doing this practice? Each time we embark on a formal practice session, each time we breath out we need to ask ourselves “what is my true aspiration, my true intention?”

The Buddha asks us to reflect on the effects of our actions of body, speech and mind, those of the past, present and future. Are they coming from a wholesome state of mind, are they leading to happiness, to ease of self and others?

Sati – Mindfulness is the indispensable factor for the development of wisdom and that of skilful means, i.e. the four Brahma Viharas

“that which looks over the various factors which arise in meditation is “sati”, mindfulness. Sati is life. Whenever we don’t have sati, when we are heedless, it is as if we were dead. If we have no sati then our speech and actions have no meaning. Sati is simply presence of mind. It is a cause for arising of self-awareness and wisdom" (Ajahn Chah).

In the Satipatthana Sutta the Buddha addressed the bhikkhus as follows: "This is the only way, O bhikkhus, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of Nibbana, namely, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness”

Sati is a surrendering to and resting in the moment that presents itself at the time, fully and joyfully with lightness of heart and mind.

So, at The Orchard the practice of Sati - Mindfulness continues and can be joined by whoever wishes to do so on their journey towards ease-fullness, joy and balance in mind and body.

Retreats at The Orchard in 2015
(further details and costs will be added soon)

The philosophy and Training

12th - 15th March
Cultivating compassion
with Ad
1st - 4th May
Clear, bright wakefulness
with Ad
11th - 14th/16th June
The Four Noble Truths
As part of Internet Course
Open to others
with Ad
9th - 14th July
Medicine Buddha retreat
with Ad
5th - 19th August
Satipatthana Retreat
with Ad
24th - 27th September
Meditation Retreat
with Ad
29th Dec.'15 - 4th Jan.'16
New Year Retreat
with Ad

Weekly sessions with Jane Sethi

Wednesdays 5.30 - 7pm

Daily Practice ~ All welcome

7 - 8am and 5 - 6pm

Practice Days at the Orchard

Medicine Buddha Days
1st March, 19th April, 17th May, 7th June,
2nd Aug., 20th Sept., 18th Oct.,
and 15th Nov.
Sati - Mindfulness Practice Days
22nd March, 18th April, 16th May, 28th June,
19th July, 6th Sept., 17th Oct.,
1st and 14th Nov.

T'ai-Ji Programme 2015

calligraphy pic

Calligraphy by
Chungliang Al Huang

The centering forces, with the chi entering from the heavens and settling with the Guan, the compassionate energy and Yin, song

Meaning of each character: center – un-wobbly pivot - peace - to settle - inside - watchful – sound/song

Guan Yin is also the Chinese deity of compassion, she who is aware of all the cries in the universe

This powerful image invites us to descend into the still deep point within. It is at the same time the point of return and the source to start from anew.
In each T’ai-Ji move we need to connect with that and so fully come to peace, harmony and ease, both physically and emotionally.

I offer you this as my New Year’s wish, as an inspiration in our practice and life.

I look forward continuing our learning and sharing together.

Love, Ad


Embracing Tiger, Returning to Mountain

“When all striving ceases, the mind’s essential peace will be revealed”

T’ai-Ji is a practice of friendliness for the well-being of oneself and others. It is a gentle yet profound practice.

In “Touching Stillness” T’ai-Ji is presented in a non-intrusive manner, allowing for space and lightness. By not forcing ourselves into a preferred direction, we yield to the moment, stay grounded and approach any activity with ease, clarity and strength, making T’ai-Ji the healing force it is meant to be.

With the form of the Five Elements and the First Circle as our base, we share our learning with joyful mindfulness, embracing with loving kindness whatever comes our way. By letting go of the cherishing of our likes and dislikes and by surrendering to the moment, T’ai-Ji will spontaneously express itself. “it is in the non-doing that the mind’s essential peace is revealed”.

All T’ai-Ji retreats can be joined with or without any previous experience. Groups are on purpose of mixed levels of experience to enhance our learning through sharing with each other. Each retreat focuses on the practice of mindfulness through T’ai-Ji movement, relaxation and breathing exercises, sitting and walking meditation, emphasising the integration of this practice in daily life.

T'ai-Ji events at The Orchard Dharma Centre
(further details and costs will be added soon)
28th & 29th Mar.
Spring T'ai-Ji
can be joined for one or two days
with Ad
2nd - 5th July
Summer T'ai-Ji
with Ad
7th - 8th Nov.
Autumn T'ai-Ji
can be joined for one or two days
with Ad
T'ai-Ji Evening Classes

Tuesday evening classes for beginners (6.30 - 7.30pm)

with John Burgess
T'ai-Ji Evening Classes
Wednesdays (7.30 - 9.30 pm)
with Ad

T'ai-Ji events with Ad in Scotland
9th - 10th May
with Ad
11th - 13th/15th Sept.
Holy Isle
with Ad


Weekly Events

Introductory Tai-ji Classes

Tuesdays 1st July, 8th July, 15th July, 22nd July & 29th July
6.30 - 7.30pm

The classes are held on a drop in basis and cost £5. No previous experience is necessary.
For more information or directions contact John Burgess email or phone 07765 202622


The way of mindfulness

Introductory sessions to mindfulness of the body and the breathing through simple relaxation exercises, walking and sitting meditation.

lotus flower pic

Wednesdays 2nd july, 9th July, 16th July & 23rd July
5 - 6.30pm
£5 per session

For more information contact Jane email or phone 07949 432555

Ad Brugman

His search for happiness led him to the practice of Mindfulness Meditation and T’ai-Ji starting in 1975. Dutch by birth, he came to the UK in 1979 to work more closely with his first meditation teacher John Garrie Roshi.

Ad picUntil 1989 he worked for a period of 18 years in Africa. First for 6 years as a hydro-geologist in Tanzania and Kenya and then as a project consultant for rural development with local communities in both east and west Africa.

As Ad’s teaching commitments increased he stopped working in Africa to solely focus on developing his teaching skills and The Orchard as a meditation centre.

“Touching Stillness” expresses a unique blend of mindfulness meditation and T’ai-Ji as evolved over a period of more than 30 years of teaching both in the UK and abroad.

A profound deepening of his meditation practice occurred under the late Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche with whom he studied intensively during retreats ranging from two weeks to six months.

His deepest gratitude goes to his teachers for their generous sharing from their treasure of wisdom and compassion: John Garrie Roshi, Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche, Chungliang Al Huang and Suprapto Suryodarmo.
To enhance his teaching skills he completed a diploma course in counselling and a one-year training in sensorimotor psychotherapy for trauma recovery.

Ad is a member of the Living Tao Foundation (USA) and Living Tao UK

What others say about the leadership:
“ ...leads with care and humour..”
“ ...committed, powerful, patient and fun...”
“ ...relaxed, non-dogmatic, experiential approach..”
"..no gimmicks, nothing superficial, or"instant", just a generous sharing of his belief.."

The Orchard...

... is the meditation and healing centre established by Sonia Moriceau and her partner Ad Brugman since 1985.

surrounding views
  • surrounding views
    surrounding views
  • the orchard
    the orchard
  • zendo
  • zendo
  • students' space
    students' space
  • walking meditation
    walking meditation
  • kuti
  • water feature
    water feature
  • spring

surrounding views

The Orchard is situated on the borders of England and Wales near the Black Mountains and close to the Golden Valley. Its setting is rural and peaceful with a touch of wilderness without being remote.

The centre offers a spacious and beautiful zendo for practice and comfortable, simple accommodation for up to 15 people.

From 1997 to 2003 it was the chosen venue in the UK for the late Venerable NAMGYAL RINPOCHE to hold his retreats, a place of refuge where the practice of mindfulness is tangible.


Contact Details

Ad Brugman
The Orchard
Hereford HR2 0HP
Tel: 01873 860 207

If you would like to contact Ad please click here .

from Germany: 0044 - 1873 860 207
from Switzerland: 0044 - 1873 860 207
from France: 1944 - 1873 860 207



All meditation retreat costs at The Orchard include course fee and accomodation; participants need to bring food to share and dãna for the teachings.

Booking by sending a non-refundable deposit of £50 for the 3 day retreats, or £100 for the longer retreats at The Orchard.

All cheques to be made payable to Ad Brugman.

Staying over an extra night or day before or after a retreat, will cost £12 per night or £22 per day (24hrs).


T'ai-Ji events: cost includes tuition fee and accommodation.

T'ai-Ji practice days: accommodation not included.


  • a watch or clock for time keeping
  • clothing:
    - loose, easy fitting clothing for exercises, like track suit, martial art outfit, or the like
    - waterproofs,wellies or walking boots for outdoor activities
    - open sandals or flip-flops for pacing outside
    - No shoes are allowed in the house, so you may want to bring slippers or thick socks.
  • your meditation stool or cushion if you have one
  • pens and paper for making notes
  • drawing materials
  • torch
  • bedding: blankets and duvets are available; you would need to bring your own single sheets and/or single duvet-cover or a sleeping bag, and pillow case
  • usual toiletries, including towel



"The fragrance remains in the hand that gives the rose"

In the tradition of the Buddha, Dharma teaching is given freely. The course fees for the retreats cover organising the events, running costs of the centre, accommodation and rental of Maitreya House/Cwm Cottage

At the end of each retreat students are invited to give dãna to the teachers for their guidance, time and availability.

Generosity is characterized by the inner quality of letting go or relinquishing, it reverses the forces that create suffering. It is a profound antidote to the strong habits of clinging, grasping, guarding, and attachment that lead to so much pain and suffering. Generosity brings happiness at every stage of its expression: we experience joy in forming the intention to give, we experience joy in the action of giving, and we experience joy in remembering that we have given.


dana bowl pic



How to get to The Orchard

By road:
From either Abergavenny or Hereford take the A465.

At Pontrilas which is about halfway between the two towns, take the B4347, sign posted Ewyas Harold, Abbey Dore, etc. phone box picThen take the first on your left towards the centre of Ewyas Harold village, sign posted Longtown and Dulas. After about 3 miles turn right at signpost for Lower-Maescoed.
Proceed for another half mile and turn right at the phone box.
The Orchard is on your right after about 100 metres.

From Hay-on-Wye take the B4348 to Peterchurch.

A few miles after Peterchurch take the B4347 to Abbey Dore and Pontrilas which takes you to Ewyas Harold from where you follow direction Longtown and Dulas as described above.

By Public transport:

The nearest railway stations are Hereford & Abergavenny. Coming from the north, aim for Hereford; coming from London or the south, aim for Abergavenny.
There are local bus services (except on Sundays) from either town to Pontrilas from where you can be picked up by us.
Buses from Hereford to Pontrilas: depart every two hours from 08.30 to 14.30 and then at 16.10, 17.20 and last bus at 17.20 (Bus X4, destination Cardiff).
Buses from Abergavenny to Pontrilas: depart every two hours from 07.20, then from 09.30, to the last one at 17.30 (Bus X4, destination Hereford).
In both cases the bus journey takes about 30 minutes.

National Express Coaches from London Victoria to Hereford, or to Newport/Gwent and from there by train to Abergavenny.

If you don't have a car we strongly recommend that you get in touch with someone else on the course who travels by car and is able to give you a lift.

You can also get a taxi from Hereford or Abergavenny.
Pre arrange a taxi from Juergen. He is local, reliable and much cheaper than official taxis. His tel. number is: (00-44) 1981 240718 or (00-44) 7535 554072

Travel Arrangements for Travellers from Abroad

The nearest airports are Bristol, Birmingham and Cardiff; you could also fly to London but that means a longer and more expensive journey by train once in England:

from London-Heathrow:
take the coach (Rail-Air Link) to Reading and from there the train to Newport (direction Swansea/Cardiff), change at Newport for Abergavenny,or
take the National Express coach from Heathrow to Newport, and then the train to Abergavenny
Travelling time around 3 hours.

National Express Coaches London HR to Hereford (service number NX413), but not always direct (direct takes ca.4 hours, via Gloucester takes 5 and via London Victoria takes 6 hours). In comparison by train from London HR to Abergavenny takes about 3 hours.

from other London Airports:
take a train to London, then by underground to London-Paddington station
take the Intercity train from London-Paddington to Newport/Gwent (destination Swansea/Cardiff). Change at Newport for Abergavenny.
or, take National Express coach from London-Victoria to Newport, and then the train to Abergavenny.
Travelling time 3 to 4 hours.

By EuroStar : arrival in London-Waterloo
take the metro/tube to London-Paddington
from London-Paddington, take the train to Newport (Gwent)/Destination Swansea/Cardiff. Or the National Express coach (see above)
change in Newport for the train to Abergavenny

from Birmingham:
take the train from Birmingham airport/International to Birmingham - New Street, from there take the train to Hereford.
Travelling time 2 to 2 hours 30 mins.
National Express Coaches now also has a limited coach service from Birmingham direct to Pontrilas: Coach service number: NX321

from Bristol:
take the bus to Bristol Temple Mead station
from Bristol Temple Mead, take the train to Newport. Change at Newport for Abergavenny
Travelling time about 2 hours

from Cardiff:
take the bus to Cardiff station
take the train from Cardiff to Abergavenny
Travelling time about 2 hours


Try to arrange your train tickets, etc. before travelling as that will be cheaper.
Always take a return ticket as they are valid for one month.
In general taking the National Express Coaches will be cheaper than the train.

websites to arrange your tickets:
by train: www.thetrainline.com
by coach: www.nationalexpress.com

Let us know your time of arrival in Hereford or in Abergavenny and we will then try to pick you up. Otherwise take the bus to Pontrilas where we can pick you up.
In case we are not available, you might need to take a taxi to The Orchard, see taxi details above.

Thank you for contacting Ad Brugman.

We will reply to your query as soon as we can.

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T’ai–Ji practice days

"When all striving ceases the mind's essential peace will be revealed"

8th & 9th March
8th & 9th November 

spring at the Orchard pic


Two weekends of T’ai-Ji practice days for all levels
T'ai-Ji is a practice of loving kindness towards oneself, a practice of "breathing out, of softening mind and boby and coming back to belly".

Through mindfulness of body and mind, the t'ai-ji practice leads to a place of ease and stillness within.

Cost: £50 pd (accommodation if needed: £12 per night).

How to book

T'ai-Ji Essence

4th (6pm) - 9th September
Cost: £275  (3 days: £165)

Participants can join for the whole period or just for the first three days (4th (eve) - 7th Sept.)

This event will replace our annual Holy Island seminar with the beautiful surroundings of The Orchard and the Black Mountains. There will be opportunity to explore T’ai-Ji “in the wild”.

pond with flowers picEvery time I meet with Chungliang over his Easter seminar, the first few days are the most rewarding and enriching because we revisit again the basics and are surprised at the depth still lurking below the surface. I receive enormous benefit from going back to my teacher with an open mind and heart.

My invitation for this summer is to share this exploration, whether you are a “beginner” or a “teacher”.

We will explore T’ai-Ji’s invitation to enter our inner source, to enter each movement as if for the very first time. How will our practice be transformed if we allow the movement to guide us, rather than being directed by what we believe it would need to look like?

Our “knowing” will block the true potential to surface; be surprised by what comes up. It may not be what expected. But it surely will enrich us and be full of joy. The form is “free”!

Open to all levels

How to book


BuddhaThe Philosophy

Satipatthana - the Way of Mindfulness - is a traditional Buddhist meditation training, also described as Skilful Means.

It is a way of cultivating an honest and clear awareness of who we are at a physical, emotional and mental level. Our tendencies and characteristics, our motives and intentions are identified as they arise and thus we see that we can choose to let go of our conditioned ways of reacting and relating.

Through this process we come gradually to operate and live from a whole place within. A place where there are no-needs: no-need to prove who we are, no-need to cling on to a particular sense of identity. A place of inner certainty and knowing, from which ease and contentment can flow into our daily life.


When one is truly relaxed, the mind finds its natural condition; empty, luminous and cognizant.




The Training

Skilful Means is a training of the Body and the Mind. It is uncomplicated, down to earth and direct. It is acutely relevant to everyday life, and to anyone who wants to investigate how to live with less friction and discomfort within his or her environment, occupation and relationships.

The practice of Skilful Means is the greatest act of kindness to oneself and others as we come to see and understand the true nature of suffering.

The format of the training consists of residential workshops. These are intended to be a support to one's life-process and change. They are tailored to give participants continuity and regularity of input, as well as personal guidance from Ad.



Cultivating compassion - Transforming the mind

20th (6pm)– 23rd February Cost: £ 145

chenrzigThrough cultivating compassion we transform unwholesome mind states such as hate or anger into wholesome ones, such as loving kindness and compassion.

Through compassion we loosen the grip of “I”, “Me” and “Mine” and the more “outward” focused mind creates spaciousness, ease and happiness.

The retreat will end with the simple visualisation meditation on Chenrezig to enhance our innate capacity for compassion.

How to book


om mani padi hum

Being present - beginners mind

27th (6pm)– 30rd March Cost: £ 145

water featureMindfulness of the body is the gateway to awakening and making physical changes within the body enables us to let go of our holding patterns on a physical and mental level.

Through re-exploring the basic exercises, the out-breath, and the backward circle, we deepen our understanding of how our mind states are reflected in our posture, breathing and gestures.

How to book

The Four Contemplations – motivation

Having attained this precious human existence,
Like a ship that crosses the ocean of samsara,
Without falling into distractions or laziness of mind through ignorance,
Allow yourself to awaken to the preciousness of this moment.

8th (6pm )– 13th May    Cost: £ 225

hands and flowerA wake-up call to realise how precious indeed each moment is, how true the un-satisfactoriness of life and how each act, thought and speech do matter.

Contemplating and exploring The four thoughts that turn the mind towards the Dharma is a fundamental support in our practice, a reminder of why we are meditating and the conscious choices we can make.

Do we wish to meet each moment with bright non-clinging awareness, with a letting-go of our wanting and not-wanting, or do we allow that precious moment to slip through our fingers by blindly going yet again through another cycle of our habitual patterns?

The three realms are as impermanent as autumn clouds.
The birth and death of beings are like a dance performance.
Flashing by like lightening in the sky, the life span of beings races swiftly like a waterfall over a steep mountain.


How to book

Taking refuge – to be an island unto yourself

Be an island unto yourself
be a refuge unto yourself
seeking no external refuge

Make truth your island
Make truth your refuge
There is no other refuge”

5th (6pm) – 8th June    Cost: £145

woodlandBy Taking Refuge we commit ourselves to cultivating awareness of body and mind, wisdom and compassion. It means we are clear about the importance of being careful with our actions of body, speech and mind, of the need to let go of grasping, ill-will, jealousy, of not harming self and others.

Traditionally, Taking Refuge is renewed every year to update our motivation and as a support for ourselves and others on the path.

How to book

The Four Noble Truths - Open retreats

24th (6pm)- 31st July and 23rd (6pm)– 30th October

3, 5 or 7 days    Cost: £145 / £225 / £300

skyThe first three days of each of these retreats will be devoted to teaching on the Four Noble Truths.

The remaining days offer an opportunity for group and personal practice times.

I will also welcome any requests for teachings on a subject of your choice.

How to book

The Blue healer - Medicine Buddha retreat – introduction to holistic clearing

14th (6pm) - 19th August 3 or 5 days    Cost: £ 145 / £ 225

At times the strong incentive to turn to the practice arises when faced with the inevitable reality of pain, illness and decay of the body-mind in our loved ones or in us. How ready are we to meet these changes with gentleness, patience and skill?
Medicine BuddhaThis retreat offers the tools to activate the powers of healing and to cultivate a strong conviction and reliance on our own wisdom and potential for healing.

The Medicine Buddha meditation increases the healing powers for oneself and others; it decreases physical and mental illness and suffering. It is considered to be a strong wholesome practice that can clean up unwholesome states and establish the practitioner in the perfections of the parami - giving, morality, patience, energy, concentration and wisdom.

Holistic meditations.
These meditations can purify, balance and strengthen the being. These practices are designed to bring you face to face with what is paralysing you in your quest for liberation. They are three areas to look at: your blocks, your lacks and your strengths " the do your own thing".

As part of the practice of the Blue Healer these meditations will give a deeper understanding into the healing process.

How to book

One year course and study

The non-doing of any evil,
the performance of what's skillful,
the cleansing of one's own mind:
this is the teaching of the Awakened.

Skilful Living, a meditation course that gives you the opportunity to contemplate, to study and to put into practice the teachings of the Buddha at your own pace and in your own environment.

buddha head picThe course is strongly based on Mindfulness Meditation – Satipatthana and will cover all the main themes found in the teachings of the Buddha, like the cultivation of an appreciation of our human existence, the impermanence of all that we know, not-self, the attitude of loving kindness in our body, speech and mind, the four noble truths, to name a few.

There will be a special module dealing with the emotions.

This course is not an academic one, rather a Way or Skilful Means to living a life with less hurt and suffering for ourselves and others and to cultivating the good qualities that lead us to a fulfilling life.

The emphasis of the Skilful Living course will be on its application in your everyday life, in your relationships, in the activities and the environment you live in.

You are recommended to spend 30 mins per day for five days a week on the contemplation and study or meditation and to see and note how during the rest of the time it influences your everyday interactions.

The distant learning course is online and you will receive at one-month intervals some new material and plenty of suggestions on how to practise within your life as it is now. This is where we start.

The course can be completed within 14 months but allowing for the ups and downs of life you could take up to 1½ - 2 years.

During that time you will have unlimited access to Ad via email and a monthly conversation over the phone.

We divided the year into seven modules, spending about two months on each module.


The first module.
Laying the foundations: the Four Contemplations on the Precious Human Life, Death and Impermanence, Causes and Effects and Samsara.

Introduction of sitting and walking practice.


The second module.
The four Brahmas Viharas : Loving Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity


The third module.
The Four Noble Truths

"The Four Noble Truths" was the very first teaching of the Buddha and all his years of teaching were aimed at making us fully and deeply understand dukkha or suffering and  and how that leads to the practice and its final outcome of ease and peace in body and  in mind.
Over the first month we investigate the first and second truths, i.e. the Noble Truth of Suffering (dukkha) and its causes.

For the second month we will cover: the 3rd and 4th truths, i.e. the cessation of dukkha and the Eightfold Path that leads to that cessation.


The fourth module.
The Four Foundations of Mindfulness – Satipatthana.

Mindfulness of the body and of the feelings.


The fifth module.
The Four Foundations of Mindfulness – Satipatthana.

Mindfulness of the mind and of the mind contents.


The sixth module.
Dealing with emotions. Applications to your life conditions.


The seventh module.
Returning to some specific aspect of the course as you wish to deepen your understanding.




The cost for the full course is £450; if paid in full at the time of enrolment you get a £75 reduction. Otherwise you pay by installments via a standing order starting with the deposit of £150 covering the first two months; thereafter £30 per month for ten months.

If after the first two months you realise that this is not the course for you, we will refund your deposit minus £75.

To enroll send me by email or in writing what your experience in meditation is and a brief summary of why you would want to enroll in this study together with your non-refundable deposit of £150, or £450 for those who wish to pay in full.

In case the cost would prevent you from participating in this course, please contact Ad at The Orchard to discuss a possible reduction.



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The Orchard, this beautiful place set in a rural hamlet on the border between S.Herefordshire and Wales, was bought in December 1985. It was bought to serve as a place for teaching and the practice of healing-shiatsu, mindfulness meditation and T’ai-Ji.

Sonia was running at that time her three year professional training course in healing-shiatsu and Ad his T’ai-Ji programme. Meditation retreats were then forming a smaller part in the curriculum though they were also taught as an integral part of the healing-shiatsu and T’ai-Ji courses.

In September 1986 The Orchard, its activities and all those who would come and benefit from it, was blessed in a ceremony by John Garrie Roshi, Sonia’s and Ad’s meditation teacher since 1974.

By 1990 the facilities at The Orchard became insufficient for the number of participants on its courses. For that reason from 1990 to 1995 all healing-shiatsu courses and the longer meditation and T’ai-Ji courses were held at Taliaris, the meditation centre of John Garrie Roshi in mid Wales. The Orchard was housing the smaller events.

In 1995 the “zendo“ a large wooden building was built at The Orchard to provide more space for the teachings and practice. It was blessed by John Garrie Roshi in September 1995.

From that time onwards all events took again place at The Orchard and Sonia began to decrease her healing-shiatsu courses to have more time to devote to the meditation retreats as these became more predominant in the curriculum and since 2006 have become the main activity of the Orchard Centre.

In 2007 Sonia and Ad ‘s students formed the Orchard Sangha as a response to the demands made on both Sonia and Ad as teachers and organizers of the Orchard leaving more time for them to devote to the teachings.

In 1997 the Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche was invited to teach in the UK for which purpose The Orchard was made available. From then on until his death in October 2003 The Orchard received Rinpoche for his annual, sometime twice a year, teachings in the UK. Rinpoche also became Sonia’s and Ad’s main meditation teacher since Roshi’s passing in 1998.

In 1999 the Crystal Group bought Maitreya House next door to The Orchard. Since 2001 The Orchard is renting Maitreya House for its retreats providing the necessary accommodation for students. In addition in 2005 one of Sonia’s students bought a house nearby, Cwn Cottage, which has also become part of the set up, providing extra accommodation.

Throughout the years The Orchard has become a second home for many of its students. It is a place of simplicity and of internal beauty and strength, situated in a still unspoilt and quiet rural countryside overlooking gentle rolling hills towards the south and east with the Welsh Black Mountains of the Brecon National Park marking the west. It offers an abundance of natural environment in which to practice, to walk in or just resting and enjoying. It offers the perfect antidote for a busy and noisy world most of us now live in.

May it continue to support, nurture and enrich many more people who come and stay, be it for a short or longer time.


"The fragrance remains in the hand that gives the rose"

In the tradition of the Buddha, Dharma teaching is given freely. The course fees for the retreats cover organising the events, running costs of the centre, accommodation and rental of Maitreya House/Cwm Cottage

At the end of each retreat students are invited to give dãna to the teachers for their guidance, time and availability.

Generosity is characterized by the inner quality of letting go or relinquishing, it reverses the forces that create suffering. It is a profound antidote to the strong habits of clinging, grasping, guarding, and attachment that lead to so much pain and suffering. Generosity brings happiness at every stage of its expression: we experience joy in forming the intention to give, we experience joy in the action of giving, and we experience joy in remembering that we have given.


dana bowl pic