BRC Ixopo

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The Buddha Boma has been inaugurated!

At the recent Full Moon of May - traditionally associated with the Buddha's birth, Enlightenment and death - we inaugurated the (almost) completed Buddha Boma at the BRC. We conducted a simple ceremony to mark the occasion, during which retreatants circumambulated the Boma, walking past the eight trees associated with the major events in the Buddha's life - keeping them on our right as we passed them (as is the custom in the East) whilst I recited traditional Buddhist chants in Sanskrit and Pali, such as the Refuge and Blessings. We then sat down in the central pavilion for a short talk and meditation. 

The Boma is close to our meditation hall, studio, our labyrinth and Buddha Rupa (statue) so that we can incorporate all three of them in some of our sessions such as yoga and tai chi etc. The Boma will also function as a venue - together with the Studio and meditation hall etc. - where we can hold meetings to celebrate special occasions, such as weddings etc.

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Now you can make a Brush Dance and Ink Sing - in Durban!

A course in Japanese brush painting - conducted by Louis van Loon

Louis was taught the ancient eastern art of Sumi-e (Japanese Ink Brush Painting) by one of the last remaining elderly “Living Legends” of this exquisite form of art at a small sumie studio in Kyoto, Japan, in 1959. Since then he has taught sumie to appreciative students at The Buddhist Retreat Centre and at Art In The Forest (previously Tretchikoff’s studio) in Constantia, Cape Town.


SHIBUIE: The Accident of Beauty

An introduction to Japanese Brush Painting (Sumi-e) & Raku Pottery

Join renowned potter Anthony Shapiro and Louis van Loon, founder of The Buddhist Retreat Centre, Ixopo in this fascinating experience of Shibuie - a form of art that relies as much on unpredictable natural processes as it does on the artist directing them.


Sangha Projects: January 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. 


Ajhan Sukhacitto

Insight Dialogue Retreat

bhikkhu-sukhacittoAjhan Sukhacitto, originally from Germany, will be introducing the practice of Insight Dialogue at Dharmagiri (May 2 - 8) and the Buddhist Retreat Centre (May 13 - 15). 

You can listen to Ajhan talk about this practice here, in an interview with Thanissara.


In Praise of Instinct

I am writing this newsletter on the day when, exactly 45 years ago, I first set foot on the property that was to become the Buddhist Retreat Centre.  As some of you know, I bought it impulsively, in thick mist and drizzle that prevented me from seeing anything further than what was vaguely visible three paces ahead from me. What I could make out was not encouraging: an expanse of impenetrable bramble, a forest of bugweed and dense Australian wattle saplings – all of them alien invaders that had overrun the property. I was therefore as stunned as the owner when I heard myself say:  “I’ll buy it.” 


Welcome to the BRC

Perched 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.

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.

Upcoming Retreats

The retreat schedule from March 2016 to January 2017 is now available

View full retreat schedule and details

Next 5 retreats

Sun Jul 24 - Sun Jul 24Biodanza: The Body And Mind In Harmony
Fri Jul 29 - Sun Jul 31How To Draw What You See: A pen and ink sketching retreat
Fri Aug 05 - Tue Aug 09Stoep Zen: Living a Zen life in South Africa
Tue Aug 09 - Fri Aug 12Mindfulness: A Kindly Approach To Life And Living
Fri Aug 12 - Sun Aug 14A Neurosurgeon Probes Wellness And Performance

Our Books

book cake_buddha

Quiet Food, our fabulous BRC recipe book, is in its eighth 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.

You can order copies from our shop.

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.