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  • Shibuie: When Beauty Happens Accidentally - Sumie and Raku: Japanese brush painting and pottery Seeing with deep-seeing eyes

    Teacher: Louis van Loon, Ingrid Adams and Fay Morris
    Cost: 4 days’ accommodation + R300 surcharge
    Dates: Tuesday 18 December 2018 - Saturday 22 December 2018

    louis van loon smlingrid adamsfay morrisShibuie is the ancient Japanese concept of Accidental Beauty in which the artist is just one ingredient in a number of dynamic interacting natural processes, the outcome of which is delightfully unpredictable, but strangely beautiful - not ego-driven or deliberate. Louis will teach the classical Japanese brush painting techniques (Sumie) as these are applied to traditional subjects, such as landscape, bamboo and flower studies, while Ingrid will introduce contemporary subjects. We will use the genuine, traditional materials: solid pine-soot ink, a hollowed-out slate to liquefy it, a deer-hair bamboo-stemmed brush and absorbent mulberry paper. Tools will be provided, but sets can be purchased (R800) from the BRC. Each retreatant will receive a bisque-fired tea bowl to sumie-decorate and glaze. Fay will then fire up the kiln after which we will watch the magic as the pots emerge from their ordeal of having been subjected to 1000ºC heat, smothered in sawdust and immersed in cold water. We will admire the pots as they emerge triumphantly from the scorching heat, after which they will be used in a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony on the final evening.

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    Ingrid Adams has worked as a clothing and home-wear designer for the last 25 years, and has travelled extensively to India and China sourcing home textiles. A yoga teacher, and an artist, she teaches drawing and art appreciation, and offers weekly Sumie lessons in Durban. She is currently completing her Master’s degree on Sumie, Japanese traditional painting, and the influence on two contemporary painters.

    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.

    Fay Morris  is a ceramist living in Howick. After finishing her Honours in Ceramics, she taught at a primary school in Madagascar, and returned to South Africa. Wanting to pursue her dream to run a ceramics studio, she enrolled at the university and completed her MA in ceramics earlier this year at UKZN. She currently has her own studio, running workshops and selling her work. She makes utilitarian ware as well as sculptural porcelain pieces.

  • Stalking The Moment: Being at Home 24/7. Christmas at the BRC:

    Teacher: Tsunma Tsondru
    Cost: Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Monday 24 December 2018 - Wednesday 26 December 2018

    tsunma tsondruBe here now. Rest in the moment. Catch the ungraspable moment. How do we do that, when life keeps tumbling us along like a sand grain in a river? When all is in dizzying motion, where is 'the moment’, where is ‘here’? Take time out at the BRC over Christmas to slow down into the moment. You can find your true home right here-now. With sitting and walking meditation, we will stalk the elusive moment. We will discover how to recognise our ‘home’, and we will see that we are in fact at home always. The retreat will be held in Noble Silence, with time for journaling, reflection, and fireside talks.

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    Tsunma Tsondru is a nun ordained by Tai Situ Rinpoche in the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. She came across Buddhism through Louis van Loon at the BRC. After working as a lawyer and environmental scientist, she left for Spain for a traditional Kagyu three-and-a-half-year retreat, followed by a second retreat of four years. Since returning to Cape Town, she has served on the Board of the Southern African Faith Communities Environmental Institute, a multi-faith NGO, and is now its Executive Director. She spent a 10-day intensive retreat with Joanna Macy, engaging with Macy’s “Work That Connects”, which she has offered in Cape Town. Her particular interest is eco philosophy and the role that spirituality and ethics play in transforming our economic and social systems in protection of the Earth.

  • Catching The Ungraspable Moment - New Year at the BRC: Where to from now?

    Teacher: Louis van Loon and Tsunma Tsondru
    Cost: 3 days’ accommodation + R200 surcharge
    Dates: Saturday 29 December 2018 - Tuesday 01 January 2019

    louis van loon smltsunma tsondruLife consists of things coming and going, births and deaths, decay and renewal, stops and starts. We try to juggle these as well as we can, liking some of it, avoiding the ones we don’t. But there is a deeper wisdom behind all this - one that asks us not to be so choosy and opinionated about what should and should not be happening to us. This requires us to live on the edge of the only thing that is truly real: the ever-fleeting, ungraspable moment. In this retreat we will discover how we forget to live in the here and now when we focus too much on what is past and fret about what may or may not happen in the future. This is a good time of the year to take stock and contemplate our moment to moment, here-now reality in all its fullness; bid farewell to 2018 and welcome the New Year with a renewed willingness to take life on the chin and make whatever comes along workable.  We will welcome the New Year with a lantern-lit perambulation around the Buddha and chanting, and usher the old year out with an ancient Chinese temple gong, as well as periods of meditative Noble Silence.

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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 FoodThe 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.

    Tsunma Tsondru is a nun ordained by Tai Situ Rinpoche in the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. She came across Buddhism through Louis van Loon at the BRC. After working as a lawyer and environmental scientist, she left for Spain for a traditional Kagyu three-and-a-half-year retreat, followed by a second retreat of four years. Since returning to Cape Town, she has served on the Board of the Southern African Faith Communities Environmental Institute, a multi-faith NGO, and is now its Executive Director. She spent a 10-day intensive retreat with Joanna Macy, engaging with Macy’s “Work That Connects”, which she has offered in Cape Town. Her particular interest is eco philosophy and the role that spirituality and ethics play in transforming our economic and social systems in protection of the Earth.

  • Time To Reminisce, Reflect And Re-assess: We will give you the space and the silence. A self- retreat with BRC staff and Deborah Don

    Teacher: A self-retreat
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation
    Dates: Friday 04 January 2019 - Sunday 06 January 2019

    brcixopo stupa cflores 5301It is difficult to make decisions about important issues in your life when you are immersed in them. You need some distance from them, physically and psychologically - to see them clearly for what they are. Only then, can you gain a fresh perspective on them. So, if you feel like you need a gentle, uncluttered space to tune into what lies ahead in 2019, this largely unstructured weekend will prove useful. Experience sunrise chi kung or yoga, followed by meditation, after which the centre is yours to enjoy, walking or birdwatching in three hundred acres of rolling hills and indigenous forests. Circumambulate the labyrinth, meditate in the Zen garden or Buddha Boma, and spend solitary time in the deer park and at the dam stalking the light or listening to the windchimes and gazing at clouds. The BRC provides an ideal opportunity to be in a sympathetic space to reflect on the things that crowd one’s life: to just be. Deborah Don, a qualified Self-esteem Coach, and massage therapist, has been involved in the “Health Retreats” offered at the BRC over the last three years. She will be offering sound therapy and energy balance treatments, aromatherapy, back, neck and foot massages. If you would like to include a treatment on your retreat, please arrange with the office on booking.

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    Deborah Don, a qualified Self-esteem Coach, and massage therapist, has been involved in the “Health Retreats” offered at the BRC over the last three years

    Lien Duvenage has spent her first two years of retirement from corporate life managing and overseeing all the affairs of the BRC, and has been a volunteer in residence for the past two years.

  • Finding The Writer In You - The Art Of Writing From The Heart: A hands-on inspirational retreat for those who have a story to tell but need help finding the light switch

    Teacher: Elana Bregin
    Cost: 3 days' accommodation + cost of workshop
    Dates: Monday 07 January 2019 - Thursday 10 January 2019
    elana breginThe words Listen and Silent have the same letters - Michelle McClunan, Creative Therapist, Astrologer and NLP Practitioner
     

    The creative act of writing involves much more than plotting a good storyline and putting the right words together. It is a process of reflection, mindful observation - an engagement with yourself and the world around you at the deepest and most satisfying levels of awareness. It is also a potent healing tool that can give you the objective distance to detach yourself from your over-familiar internal script and see your life in different and wider perspective.
    This writing workshop will suit anyone with a creative itch to scratch, even if you don't have an actual story in mind.

    Whether your intention is to write a personal memoir, fictionalised novel or simply to renew your creative fire, the retreat is designed to offer support and give you the tools and insights to accomplish your writing goal. It will explore both the practical strategies of getting your story written and the inspirational aspects that fuel it. In the beautiful setting of BRC hills, sky, birds, trees, wind chimes and stars, overseen by the untroubled serenity of the Buddha statue, we will open our senses – and heart chakras - and start the conversation with our deeper selves that silent attention enables. We will begin the process of finding, clarifying and shaping the story we really want to tell and learn how to use the different stages of the writing process to our advantage. There will be periods of silent reflection, group sharing, active writing, and individual consultation slots for those who are feeling stuck as well as meditative walks and sensory sitting. For more information and cost of the course contact Elana Bregin: 0714930791 or elana.bregin@gmail.com

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    Elana Bregin is a seasoned author, editor and creative-workshop facilitator whose creative output includes both fiction and non-fiction novels, short stories, radio drama and more. She has been dancing with words since she first learnt how to write and had her first piece, a poem, published at the age of 8. In her 11 years of working as a publishing-house editor she accompanied many authors, both novice and experienced, on her own journey to published success and gained valuable coaching expertise. Her writing journey through the years has given her insight into the intimate processes of story-writing and its ability to reconnect us with both our personal meaning and the wider currents of life in which we are embedded. She has been a BRC attendee for many years and has been privileged to be part of a number of enlightening and enriching retreats.

  • Vinyāsa Yoga And Meditation Retreat: Stilling the mind

    Teacher: Hannelize Robinson
    Cost: 2 days' accommodation + R250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 11 January 2019 - Sunday 13 January 2019

    hannelize robinsonYoga is the settling of the mind into silence because only when the mind is silent can we realize our true nature, which is unbounded consciousness. The practice of Vinyāsa yoga unites our mind and body and through conscious movement aligned to the breath constituting a dynamic flow. It stills the mind and allows us to become more internally focused and mindful in everything we do. It supports a healthy lifestyle and results in long-term health and well-being for mind and body. This practice reminds us that everything is impermanent and in flux. Yoga is accessible to everyone and it is not about how flexible or strong you are or about mastering a “difficult” pose - though even that will follow with regular practice. It is rather about how mindful and present you are - on and off the mat. It is a practical discipline; a way of looking at the world from a new perspective, allowing one to release old and limiting beliefs and habits in order to experience the truth of who we really are. Some previous yoga practice is recommended; however, beginners are welcome. Please bring your own yoga mat.

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    Hannelize Robinson is a Vinyāsa yoga teacher and Event Producer based in Johannesburg and is a dedicated student of Yoga Philosophy and Buddhism. Her personal journey of discovery has led her towards conscious and mindful living with yoga and meditation which have become an integral part of her life. Her intention is to inspire and assist her students on their own journey of growth and transformation by teaching a mindful asana practice which integrates the other seven limbs of Pantanjali’s eight-limb path.

  • New Year Intentions And Yoga Retreat

    Teacher: Lucy Draper - Clarke
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R300 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 18 January 2019 - Sunday 20 January 2019

    lucy draperLucy has been running New Year Intentions retreats for many years, in which participants take the opportunity to reflect on the year gone by and set intentions for the future. Intention-setting does not need to be difficult. We can simply connect with what brings us joy and makes us feel energetic and alive, and commit to focusing on these activities over the year. The retreat is inspired by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu’s book The Book of Joy. We will explore what it means to lead a life of joy, where anything is possible, and contemplate the Buddhist ‘Four Thoughts’ of the preciousness of human birth, impermanence, karma and samsara, and find out how to create a meaningful life within whatever shifting circumstances we find ourselves. We will integrate our body, heart and mind in a gentle, unfolding process of yoga and mindfulness, providing the opportunity to reflect on what inspires and energises us. By trusting our ability to tap into our own talents, we can lead our lives in a way that also brings benefit to others. Yoga and mindfulness practices will tune us into both our supportive and sabotaging patterns, while compassion practices will provide us with skilful ways to accept ourselves just as we are, in order to create the conditions for transformation to take place. Please bring a yoga mat, a journal and pen or pencil, as well as stretchy, comfortable clothes for both yin and yang yoga practices.

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    Lucy Draper-Clarke has a doctorate in Mindfulness and Teacher Education. She has practised yoga for 20 years and taught yoga and Mindfulness in Botswana and South Africa since 2006. She has been fortunate to have studied with inspiring Buddhist Mindfulness and Vinyāsa yoga teachers, and offers a combined practice known as Mindfulness Yoga. Her light-hearted approach to teaching allows yoga students to learn through a joyful, yet transformative practice.

  • Mindfulness - Always Available, Everywhere: A Vipassana retreat

    Teacher: Jonathan Preboy and Anna Scharfenberg
    Cost: 2 days' accommodation + R250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 25 January 2019 - Sunday 27 January 2019

    anna scharfenbergjonathan preboyThoughts are about what is not happening - Paul Hedderman

    Vipassana (Insight) meditation is based on Mindfulness, which is always available, everywhere, without limits or cost. The challenge is how to realise it. The answer was provided by the Buddha more than 2500 years ago. He taught the method of Vipassana meditation as a way to cultivate Mindfulness. This retreat is an invitation for beginner and experienced meditators to practise Vipassana using the traditional Buddhist method of Mahasi Sayadaw and Achan Tong. For beginners it is a good technique to start with and for experienced meditators, it is a way to deepen their Insight. In this retreat, Mindfulness is developed by regular walking and sitting, and by maintaining awareness during normal activities, such as eating, showering, dressing etc, and by daily interviews with a teacher. The weekend will be held in an atmosphere of Noble Silence.

    Sustain awareness at every moment in every posture, whether standing, walking, sitting or lying down. This is the way to establish mindfulness in the heart. - Ajahn Chah

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    Jonathan Preboy and Anna Scharfenberg trained in Vipassana meditation under the great Thai Vipassana master, Achan Tong. Jonathan was formerly a clinical psychologist in private practice in Durban. Anna was involved in  managing and organising Vipassana meditation retreats in Belgium and at Dhammacari Vipassana Meditation Centre in Germany. They taught together at Wat Chom Tong Meditation Centre in Thailand, and in Mexico, Italy, Spain and at the BRC and Dharmagiri. They are based at the Tisarana Vipassananurson Meditation Centre in Prague.

  • A Vipassana Retreat: The search for truth

    Teacher: Jonathan Preboy and Anna Scharfenberg
    Cost: 4 days' accommodation + R450 surcharge
    Dates: Sunday 27 January 2019 - Thursday 31 January 2019

    jonathan-preboyanna-scharfenberg

    "You may find that the cell is an ideal place to learn to know yourself, to search realistically and regularly the processes of your own mind and feelings ... it gives you the opportunity to look daily into your entire conduct to overcome the bad and develop whatever is good in you. Never forget that a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.”

    - Nelson Mandela - Mandela The Authorised Biography by Anthony Sampson

    Vipassana (insight) meditation uses mindfulness to search for the mental and emotional patterns that cause all humans to suffer. The aim is to learn how to overcome suffering and to be fully alive. This four-day retreat is an opportunity to deepen meditation practice using the traditional Buddhist method of Mahasi Sayadaw and Achan Tong. Meditators are encouraged to stay for the entire course but you may also stay for a shorter time and beginners are welcome to learn how to start Vipassana meditation. Mindfulness is developed by regular walking and sitting practice (both in the meditation hall and outside in the forest), by maintaining awareness during normal activities such as eating, showering, dressing etc. and supported by daily interviews with the teachers. The retreat will be held in an atmosphere of Noble silence.

     Sustain awareness at every moment in every posture, whether standing, walking, sitting or lying down. This is the way to establish mindfulness in the heart- Ajahn Chah

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    Jonathan Preboy worked as clinical psychologist in Durban before starting Vipassana meditation in 2002.  He practiced and trained as a teacher with Ajahn Tong. Ajahn Tong is Abbot of Wat Chom Tong and is widely regarded as the greatest living teacher in Thailand. Since 2012, he has taught with his wife in Thailand, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and South Africa. For the last 2 years they have been teaching and managing the Tisarana Vipassananusorn Meditation Center, Prague (www.tisarana.cz).

    Anna Scharfenberg began practicing Vipassana in 2005 and worked at meditation centers in Europe. She practiced and trained as a teacher with Ajahn Tong. Ajahn Tong is Abbot of Wat Chom Tong and is widely regarded as the greatest living teacher in Thailand. Since 2012, she has taught with her husband in Thailand, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and South Africa. In 2013 they started teaching meditation together in the Czech Republic and are currently teaching and managing the Tisarana Vipassananusorn Meditation Center Prague (www.tisarana.cz).

  • Getting To Know The Birds, Trees And Wild Flowers At The BRC: 160 Birds of a feather

    Teacher: Chris Dalzell and Steve Davis
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R200 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 01 February 2019 - Sunday 03 February 2019

    chris dalzell psteve davisJoin Chris and Steve for an enjoyable weekend of identifying some of the BRC’s 160 species of birds (including the summer residents, the rare Blue Swallow, Knysna Turaco and Emerald Cuckoo) and getting to know the indigenous trees and many of the wild flowers that grow there. You will also have a chance to be part of the indigenous forest by planting your own tree. The weekend includes learning how to identify the most common trees in KwaZulu Natal, how to dig and plant a tree, how to maintain it, and what butterflies and birds are attracted to these trees for nectar or fruit. Walk the verdant hills and meadows among the wild flowers, close to where the Blue Swallows nest, and enjoy the rare orchids, tree ferns and yellowwoods, pink watsonias in their summer flurry and the orange Christmas Bells. Included will be talks, chi kung, meditation and some quiet time communing with nature. Bring your binoculars and a sunhat.

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    Chris Dalzell was Curator of the Durban Botanical Gardens where he was in charge of special collections. He has studied, lectured and travelled internationally, collecting plant specimens from USA, Canada, Brazil, S.E. Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  For many years he guided the South African exhibition at the international Chelsea Flower Show where his stall was consistently awarded Gold and Silver-Gilt Medals. He was appointed Assistant Director for the development of Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. He currently runs his own landscaping business Chris Dalzell Landscapes.

    Steve Davis has been watcing birds since moving to South Africa in 1975, and has travelled in most parts of southern Africa and many countries around the world. He has presented numerous talks and courses on birds, served on the BirdLife Port Natal Committee and is a member of the KwaZulu-Natal Rare Birds Committee. He has written two books with his late friend, Roy Cowgill - one on the birds of Durban reserves and one on shorebirds identification. He is a keen wildlife enthusiast, having expanded his interests to butterflies, dragonflies, trees and flowers. Steve is a Chemical Engineer by profession, having gained a M.Sc.Eng (Chem) at the University of Natal, Durban, and is currently Research and Development Manager at the Sugar Milling Research Institute in Durban.