BRC Ixopo

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Welcome to the BRC

starlit-stupa-sqPerched on a ridge at the head of a valley in the Umkomaas river system in KwaZulu-Natal, the Buddhist retreat Centre looks out on a vista of indigenous valleys, forests and rolling hills receding like waves in the blue distance. Here, for more than twenty years people of all religions and none have come to experience peace and tranquillity. It is a gentle, sympathetic space where one can be still and get in touch with oneself and reflect on the things that crowd one's life. CNN featured the BRC as one of the 10 finest Meditation centres in the world.

Paths threading the 300 acre property each bring their own revelation: follow the pine-scented path to the dam; walk past ancient cycads to the tracks of early Voortrekker wagons; discover an assegai-sharpening stone on a hillside; or point your feet towards the rocky outcrop that provides a perfect seat for contemplating the valley below. Nearby are the breeding sites of the exquisite, but rare Blue Swallow of which the Endangered Wildlife Trust has appointed the BRC a custodian. Their presence, together with the BRC's commitment to encouraging the indigenous biodiversity of the area, has led to the Centre being declared a Natural Heritage Site by former President Nelson Mandela. The BRC is a birder's paradise, with more than 160 species recorded.

Integrated into this setting are the Centre's buildings, accommodation lodges and cottages, the dining room and office, a shop, a lecture and art studio, a library, and the meditation hall. The labyrinth, the Zen gardens, the deer park and the Buddha Boma invite one in for reflection and contemplation.

Upcoming Retreats

The retreat schedule from November 2016 to October 2017 is now available

View full retreat schedule and details

Next 5 retreats

Fri Oct 28 - Sun Oct 30Open The Heart And Still The Mind: The transformative path of meditation
Sun Oct 30 - Fri Nov 04Health Retreat: discover your best self
Fri Nov 04 - Sun Nov 06Mind Full, Mind Empty. Way In, Way Out. Buddhist Mindfulness: the Mahayana version
Fri Nov 11 - Sun Nov 13An Introduction To Chi Kung
Fri Nov 18 - Sun Nov 20You Can't Fill The Hole In Your Heart With Food: Developing a mindful approach to eating

"Plentiful - The Big Book Of Buddha Food" to be launched in December

plentiful2"Quiet Food" became more vocal in the "Cake The Buddha Ate", which was eaten to the last crumb. The Ixopo food story continues with the BRC's third recipe book, "Plentiful -  The Big Book Of Buddha Food" to be launched in:

Durban: Thursday 8 December  
Adams Musgrave bookstore,
Musgrave Centre, Durban.
Time: 5.30pm
If you would like to attend the Durban launch RSVP  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

“Sumie: Make the brush dance and the ink sing” in Durban with Louis van Loon: 29, 30 October.

bambooIn the wake of his successful courses, Louis is offering another weekend of Japanese brushpainting.

Louis has conducted traditional Japanese brush painting courses in Ixopo and Cape Town for many years.  Following many requests, he has just started a four-weekend course in Durban with an appreciative group of students.  He has now been asked to offer an introductory 3-day course in this fascinating ancient Eastern art, using the traditional tools: deer hair brushes and ink made of pine soot.  You will learn the basic strokes the brush is capable of making and the shades of grey the ink can produce to depict the character of our natural environment – in landscape, plants, flowers and trees.

Dates: 29, 30 October 2016.
Cost: R800 - includes a set of sample paintings and the hire of a set of brushes, ink and rubbing slate.  A set of brushes, ink and slate can be purchased at a cost of R700 

“Sketch what you see” in Durban with Louis van Loon: 11-13 November.

venpiyadassimahatharaIf you can hand-write a letter, you can sketch – it is as simple as that. “Sketch what you see” in Durban with Louis van Loon: 11-13 November.
Pen and ink sketching is a very rewarding skill to acquire. Yet, no special talent is required. Louis will take you from the stage where you claim that you “can’t draw a straight line”,  through some elementary exercises in “Seeing-Drawing”,   such as still-lives and interiors,  to figure studies and portraits. You will be encouraged to simply  notice what something looks like from where you are viewing it - and draw it like that. You will then be able to take your sketch pad and pen anywhere and draw anything that takes your fancy. You will be truly present in where you are.  For enquiries for his Durban course: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

International Zen teacher: David Loy at the BRC

david-loyBook early for “Awakening from the illusion of separateness: a Zen retreat” led by international Zen teacher, David Loy, from December 20-27. “To study the Buddha Way is to study yourself. To study yourself is to forget yourself. To forget yourself is to realise your intimacy with all things.” Read more about the retreat here.

We are here to overcome the illusion of our separateness” Thich Nhat Hanh

 Friends, this is an invitation to a public talk or retreat over the Christmas and New-Year Season with leading edge philosopher David Loy. Do listen to a short interview here with David where he talks about the interface of inner transformation through spiritual practice and a world in crisis.

David is an esteemed American Buddhist author, philosopher, activist and teacher. He trained in the Sanbo Zen tradition of Japanese Buddhism and a professor of Buddhist Studies. His articles appear regularly in journals such as Tricycle and Buddhadharma, and his latest book is A New Buddhist Path: Enlightenment, Evolution and Ethics in the Modern World. David’s other books include, Money, Sex, War, Karma and The World is Made of Stories.


The accidental Buddhist scholar

During the 1960’s, the Departments of Religious Studies and Philosophy at South African universities arranged a series of public lectures on ethical subjects, such as euthanasia, professional secrecy, suicide and so on.  I was then practicing as an architect and civil engineer, but was also an enthusiastic student of eastern philosophy - in particular, Buddhism.   I noticed that the lecturers were largely ignorant of the teachings of the Buddha.  I therefore made contributions to the debates from a Buddhist perspective, from the floor, as a member of the audience.  I felt that it could add a vital element to our understanding of how religions and philosophies can throw a useful perspective on contemporary social problems.


Sangha Projects: September 2016

Generosity is the first of the Paramitas (Perfections) and the most highly praised of the Buddha’s teachings, because it gives rise to the other quintessential qualities of virtue. This altruism is evident in the way our patrons and donors respond so spontaneously to the needs of the Centre - needs that are not catered for in the rates we (reluctantly) charge for food and accommodation.


Our Books

book cake_buddha plentiful

Quiet Food, our first recipe book , is in its ninth reprint, and The Cake The Buddha Ate in its fourth reprint. Like Quiet Food, The Cake celebrates the food served at the BRC as much as it does the BRC itself with photographs showcasing the beauty of the place, and stories about it and the activities that take place there. Plentiful continues the gastronomic adventure. It is filled to the brim with scrumptious vegetarian dishes which intrigue the palate, spectacular salads and tempting treats.

You can order copies from our shop.

Scenes from the BRC

Mailing Lists

Submit your details to stay in touch with BRC activities


If anyone would like to get involved with donating goods to the Centre, please see the much-needed list below, or email us:  

  • Portable power drill
  • Small generator
  • Indigenous plants & seedlings
  • Gardening equipment
  • Patio chairs 
  • Towels, linen, pillows

Contact Us

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Telephone: +27 [0]39 834 1863 / 0878091687
Fax: +27 [0]86 683 9307
Mobile: 082 579 3037

Information: Follow us on Facebook

Emergencies:082 741 7901
Durban nos.:+27 [0]31 209 5995 or 082 466 8306 (Chrisi)
Email: (Dbn)
If our telephone lines are down, please would you call us on our cell phone : 0825793037.