• The Zen Of Recovery: Twelve Steps to wholeness and well-being

    Teacher: Warren Shaw and Graeme Buchart
    Cost: 3 days’ accommodation + R. 250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 28 April 2017 - Monday 01 May 2017

    warren-shawgraeme-butchartThe lessons that Zen and Recovery teach are no different from what we have suspected all along. When we respond to the call of the Steps of Zen, we are really answering our own cry for help. We don’t need to believe in the Steps, but we do need to have faith in our basic goodness and wisdom. This interpretation of The Twelve Steps conforms to the Mahayana Buddhist tradition of making the rescue vehicle large enough for everyone to define their own “Higher Power”. Just like Recovery, Zen does not seek to convert anyone, only to help in alleviating suffering. People of other philosophies, or none at all, will benefit from this look at Recovery and the Steps through the eyes of Zen - presenting a fresh understanding of what it takes to be rehabilitated from addictions - using Zen as a tool.

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    Warren Shaw has enjoyed a successful twenty five year career in information technology. He has had some rich life experiences, such as buying the richest man in the world a coke because he had no money. As an educator he works with many people and cultures. His work in over 60 countries has taken him on a journey of spiritual self-discovery, a journey that first began at the BRC. He now has a deep curiosity about recovery, from personal to business, which has become his main passion.

    Graeme Buchart  journeyed into education, following thirty years in the “rabbit hole” of advertising. He lectures in creativity, innovation and communication at numerous institutions and business schools. His passion for the development of the willing mind was the motivation to study consciousness coaching in 2005. Working with such diverse groups and individuals helped him to recognise that everyone has vast creative potential, left mostly untapped, causing many to remain “stuck” in their habits of living. Wishing to contribute, he wrote "The Genius Programme", a practical workbook that helps guide the individual into an innovation of self and the discovery of purpose.

  • Being Our Own Best Friend In This Crazy World

    Teacher: Chandasara
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R. 150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 05 May 2017 - Sunday 07 May 2017

    chandasara-smlThis will be a silent meditation retreat focussing on the   relationship we have with ourselves: what does “being our own best friend” really mean?  Can we be steady and at ease simply being who we are without needing to be particularly special or better or worse than anyone else?  Can we similarly be at peace with others who are different to us without being critical and judgmental? We will explore these questions, using insights from both psychology and the Buddha’s teachings on what keeps us trapped in cycles of negativity and suggest ways of how we can restore ourselves into a more natural state of ease and well-being. During the retreat, there will be periods of sitting and walking meditation, morning and evening talks, and opportunities for dialogue and discussion.

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    Chandasara spent her early adult life in political exile and later worked as a political analyst at the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg. She trained as a Buddhist nun in the Forest School from 2003 to 2011, and, on leaving, completed an Honours degree in psychology while residing at Emoyeni Retreat Centre. Since childhood, she has been deeply interested in all life and nature, intuitive sensitivity, spontaneity, play, creativity and freedom. She currently resides at Dharmagiri Insight Meditation Centre where she teaches meditation and mindfulness, and enjoys exploring and sharing with others in the process of freeing themselves.

  • Sacred Drumming: Exploring natural rhythms

    Teacher: Richard Ellis and Marc Kress
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R. 250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 12 May 2017 - Sunday 14 May 2017

    richard-ellismarc-kressDrumming and music-making are ancient ways of transcending one’s routine lifestyle, opening ourselves to spiritual realms of healing and creativity, which is experienced as liberating and rejuvenating. The whole universe is a continuous flux of pulsating rhythms. Drumming connects us to these rhythms, facilitating a change in consciousness that leads to a sense of unity and well-being, which promotes deep relaxation and healing. In this retreat we will be learning basic drumming techniques and exploring rhythmic creativity which will be combined with meditation practice and contemplation.

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    Richard Ellis has been a drummer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist for the past forty years. He was a founding member of "The Usuals" and ‘Ndangered Species with Kenny Henson. He formed the first all-percussion group "Interitmo" with Mike Mazzoni in 1997, and in 1999 started the first Drum Circle in Durban at the Bat Centre. Over the past twenty years he has conducted corporate team building, sound relaxation therapy and healing workshops with Marc Kress. He facilitates sound journey meditation/rhythm workshops for all ages and levels of expertise on drums and percussion. His mission is to connect people with their inner rhythm and sound, thereby helping to create a stress-free community.

     Marc Kress is a yoga teacher in Durban. He has been playing drums and percussion for more than twenty years and has been extensively involved in corporate team building and drum circle events. He has played in various bands such as "Interitmo" and "Mlilo" and collaborated with Richard Ellis in various percussion projects, sound-journey workshops and "The Durban Drumbeat Festival". Much like in the practice of meditation and yoga, drumming can lead to higher states of awareness, stilling the mind and transforming consciousness - leading to a never-ending journey of self- discovery.

  • Make Life Your Guru: An introduction to Buddhism and meditation

    Teacher: Louis van Loon
    Cost: 2 days' accommodation + R. 150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 19 May 2017 - Sunday 21 May 2017

    louis_van_loonIn a world where many traditional beliefs and superstitions have disappeared, we have become rudderless and cynical. Life is often not much more than a meaningless journey from birth to certain death.  Whilst it lasts, we try to acquire some happiness and to avoid suffering.  Is that all there is to it? Or does life happen “when we are busy making other plans”, as John Lennon so memorably said?  Buddhism maintains that we are not living realistically: we are missing some fundamental truths about ourselves and the world we live in that distort and obscure what is really going on in our lives. Shouldn’t we try and find out what life is about before we die?

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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 brushwork painting, and sketching in Durban, Cape Town and Ixopo. 

  • Why Does The Buddha Smile? Wesak: celebrating 25 centuries of Buddhism

    Teacher: Louis van Loon and Stephen Coan
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R. 300 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 26 May 2017 - Sunday 28 May 2017

    louis_van_loonstephen_coan-smlWesak 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 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 brushwork painting, and sketching in Durban, Cape Town and Ixopo.

    Stephen Coan is currently a freelance writer, drawing on his experience as a film-maker, theatre director, poet, author, plus twenty five years as a feature writer journalist. He has been involved with the Buddhism  for three decades and in his retreats explores the interface  between poetry and silence and the profound benefits of doing nothing, seriously. 

  • Discovering The Power of Chanting: Five Tibetan rites and the purifying power of sound

    Teacher: Sally Bosch and François Möller
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R. 350 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 02 June 2017 - Sunday 04 June 2017

    sally-boschfrancois-mollerEnjoy the wonder of the human singing voice. The healing power and expressive nature of singing appeals to all aspects of our being, including our intellect and our emotions, and can spiritually elevate us to states of blissful ecstasy. By combining correct breathing techniques with chanting and deep stillness, and discovering the true origin of your voice, the sound will be refined. François and Sally combine forces to take chanting - and your voice - to a new level of expression and beauty.  We will focus on sacred chanting, incantations and repetition of mantras which form an integral part of most religions, including Buddhism. The harmonious sounds open the heart to joy and can be transformational. We will alternate breathing techniques and chanting with deep stillness, purifying sound in your body, mind and speech. By Sunday, the Ixopo hills will truly be alive with the sound of chanting. The Five Tibetan Rites, also known as the Fountain of Youth, will be a perfect complement to the retreat.

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    Sally Bosch Her practical studies in comparative religion brought her to a point where she  put her past behind her and joined the BRC as a volunteer, and immersed herself fully in the Buddhist experience for half  a year. The Centre is a place which has provided her with much of her inspiration over many years to write her poetry and short stories.

    François Möller obtained a B.Mus. degree from Wits University in 1995, majoring in voice and composition. During his student years he sang leading roles in many productions and after graduating was a soloist for PACT Opera. In 1998 he left for Germany to take up a position as soloist at the Lüneburg State Theatre. On his return to South Africa, he was a finalist in the Opera Queensland YA Singing Competition, and changed focus from opera to light music, focussing on jazz. He is currently teaching voice at Wits University and other institutions. He recorded a CD in 2007 which includes some jazz standards as well as his own compositions.

  • Health Retreat: Discover Your Best Self

    Teacher: Dr Kaz Kiepiel
    Cost: 3 or 6 days' accommodation + see below
    Dates: Sunday 04 June 2017 - Friday 09 June 2017
    kazalette Participants have the choice of spending 3 or 6 days with Dr Kaz in the healing, pampering environment of the BRC, exploring and discovering their best possible self. Your daily package includes:

    Two consultations with Dr Kaz
    Daily massages and complementary therapies
    Interactions relating to physical, mental and emotional health
    Mindfulness and movement classes
    Nature walks
    Wholesome and healthy meals and drinks

    For more information, contact: kaz@doctorkaz.com

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    Kazalette Kiepiel (Dr) (aka Dr Kaz)

    is a leading specialist in integrative medicine. Qualified as a medical practitioner, registered in both England and South Africa, she is also a specialist kinesiologist, Health and Life coach who practises integrated holistic and functional medicine by combining orthodox medicine with an array of complementary health tools and skills. Her extensive experience and knowledge of allopathic medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, kinesiology, colour therapy, use of the SCIO and SCENAR bio-feedback machines, together with her coaching skills and volumes of empathy, make her unique in her field. She also gives lectures, speaks on the radio and runs health retreats and workshops on nutrition, stress management and holistic health care. Dr Kaz also gives lectures, speaks on the radio and runs health retreats and workshops on nutrition, stress management, holistic health care, responsibility medicine and a host of other health care subjects. Based in Durban, South Africa, she travels extensively and is sought after internationally. Dr Kaz’ health retreat at the Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo will offer retreatants 3 to 6 days of quality time with Dr Kaz, offering long-term sustainable health, detoxing and vitality, stress-relief, optimal nutrition and supplementation, cleansing, weight-control and holistic healing at all levels – body, mind and soul.

  • Astrology: Mapping Out Your Inner Blueprint

    Teacher: Corinna Botoulas and Margarita Celeste
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R. 250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 09 June 2017 - Sunday 11 June 2017

    corrinamargarita-celesteDiscover the power of your intrinsic Nature and Nurture through the planets and stars in this informative workshop. Learn how the cycles of the celestial world affect you personally, and how your unique blueprint - your birth chart - can help you live to your fullest potential. Find your strengths, challenges and which areas of life to maximise on and live with greater equanimity and awareness. Astrology is a powerful, ancient, well-tested and insightful tool for emotional and mental growth and transformation. The retreat will focus on the role of fate and free will, the planets in their signs and houses, the aspects they make to each other, the elements and modalities they represent and the importance of the position of the sun and moon in conjunction with the cycles of life. There will be stargazing sessions and sunrise yoga. Beginners are encouraged!

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    Corinna Botoulas trained as a horticulturist and has always worked closely with nature and the environmemt. So it was a natural progression for her to study astrology, to understand the effects the cosmos has on our lives and nature around us. She studied modern astrology with the Cynthia Thorburn School of Astrology, and after completing her certification with the Rod Suskin School of Astrology, she opened her astrological practice.

    Margarita Celeste was intuitively drawn to the starry skies from a young age. In 2013, she enrolled for Rod Suskin's three year Diploma course, receiving a scholarship for her final year, after which she studied formally with the School of Intuition and Healing. Her passion is to help and guide others towards a more conscious state of being. She has a deep interest in alternative healing such as reiki, crystal therapy, kinesiology, chakra balance, tachyon healing and life alignment.

  • The Yoga of Food

    Teacher: Meryl Currie
    Cost: 3 days' accommodation + R. 200 surcharge
    Dates: Thursday 15 June 2017 - Sunday 18 June 2017

    meryl currie smlJoin Meryl founder of "It's All Good Organics" for a weekend of yoga and food, and explore the Yogic approach to diet. Learn the principles of how to prepare delicious, nutritious plant based food through practical demonstrations; How food affects consciousness; Explore the ethics of food production through the principle of Ahimsa. The weekend will incorporate all 5 principles of Yoga :
    Proper Exercise: Yoga Asanas
    Proper Breathing: Pranayama
    Proper Relaxation 
    Proper Diet

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    Meryl has been teaching yoga and mediation since April 2008.  She is a 500 hour accredited Sivananda Yoga teacher and has studied at their ashrams in Kerala, India; Paradise Island, The Bahamas and their Yoga centre in London.  She is also qualified as a Yoga Sports Coach Through Yoga Sports Science (UK) specialised in training athletes to enhance their athletic performance through sports-specific training. She is the founder of "It's All Good Organics" an organic, plant based cafe and ethical store and is passionate about helping people to live consciously in the modern world.

  • Iyengar Yoga: Nudging the body into shape and health

    Teacher: Judy Farah
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R. 250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 23 June 2017 - Sunday 25 June 2017


    The upsurge of interest in the ancient practice of yoga attests to its proven physiological and psychological benefits. But our sedentary, western lifestyle has stiffened our limbs and spine to such an extent that many people find the yoga asanas (poses) difficult to perform. Iyengar yoga evolved to deal with this problem – safely, without forcing the body into harmful contortions. Iyengar uses simple, but carefully calibrated props and other supports to achieve postures that would otherwise be unattainable except after years of practice.  This retreat is suitable for beginners and for those who may have practised other forms of yoga. The weekend retreat is an introduction to the Iyengar method. For those who wish to consolidate their practice to a deeper level, the additional 4  day retreat is strongly recommended. ( 4 days: June 25 - 29)

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    Judy Farah has taught the Iyengar method of yoga for 13 years. She attended a number of intensive teaching workshops at the Ramamani Institute in Puna, India, under the direct tutelage of the living exponent of this method, Guru Yogacharya BKS Iyengar and his daughter Geetaji.