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Detailed List of Retreats

Why Does The Buddha Smile? Wesak - Reflections on the Buddha’s life and teachings. Celebrating 25 centuries of Buddhism

Teacher: Louis van Loon and Stephen Coan
Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R300 surcharge
Dates: Friday 25 May 2018 - Sunday 27 May 2018

louis van loon smlstephen coanWesak is celebrated by Buddhists worldwide during the full moon of May. It recalls the Enlightenment of the Buddha, as well as his birth and death. We will explore the trajectory of the way the Buddha’s philosophy adapted itself so readily to many different cultures, as it travelled across the globe. We will do this in readings and traditional teachings, fireside chats, sitting and walking meditation. As will be done in all Buddhist countries at this time, we will hold a Wesak ceremony with traditional chanting and a candle-lit circumambulation. The retreat will be held in an atmosphere of contemplative silence for the most part.

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Louis van Loon lectured in Buddhist philosophy at the Universities of Cape Town and Durban-Westville for 22 years.  He established the Buddhist Retreat Centre in 1980 and, along with his wife, Chrisi, directs its affairs. Both were involved in the compilation of the BRC’s popular recipe books Quiet Food, The Cake The Buddha Ate and Plentiful:The Big Book Of Buddha Food. His interest lies in the psychology of meditation and in the relationship between art, science, religion and philosophy.  He is an architect and consulting civil and structural engineer in private practice in Durban. He teaches Sumie, Japanese brush painting, and sketching in Durban, Cape Town and Ixopo.

Stephen Coan has been involved with Buddhism for three decades. Inspired and informed by the Theravada and Zen Buddhist traditions his retreats place an emphasis on the centrality of practice in living a skilful and enlightened life while also exploring the interface between poetry and silence and the profound benefits of doing nothing, seriously. In addition Stephen draws on his own life experience of moving between being and doing as a film and theatre director, writer, journalist, and poet. His collection of poems Chant of the Doves (2008), inspired by time spent at the Buddhist Retreat Centre over the years, is featured in A Literary Guide to Kwazulu-Natal (2017).