Wesak is the most important day on the Buddhist calendar, commemorating the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha 2,500 years ago, and is traditionally held on the full moon of the lunar month of Vesakha (coincidental with May). This year Wesak has special significance for us at the Buddhist Retreat Centre as 2020 marks the fortieth year since the Centre opened its doors. As in the past, we will mark this festival with a programme of sitting and walking meditation, talks and reflections on aspects of the Buddha’s life and teachings and, in union with Buddhists around the world, a Wesak ceremony culminating in a candle-lit circumnambulation and traditional chanting. Please note: Apart from the talks and discussion periods this retreat will be held in Noble Silence.
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 he 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).