• Open The Heart And Still The Mind: Mist Rising, Dew Falling – Embracing Impermanence With Courage, Compassion And Joy

    Teacher: Sue Cooper
    Cost: 2 or 5 days accommodation + R400 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 24 November 2023 - Wednesday 29 November 2023

    sue cooper 202124 - 26 and 24 - 29 Nov (2 and 5 night options)

    This Open the Heart and Still the Mind Retreat is in ennobling silence and is offered for an extended 5 nights for those who want a longer and deeper retreat experience, or as a 2 night weekend retreat for those unable to stay longer. Drawing on the beauty of nature and the Mist Rising, Dew Falling, we will explore living with change and uncertainty as we embrace the truth of impermanence with courage, compassion and joy.
    As we experience the unfolding of aging, sickness and death (dukkha), we are invited to be more fully present, so that we can live wholeheartedly and more joyfully, connecting with ourselves, each other and this world with greater kindness and care. The deep nourishment of the silence and the experience of our interconnectedness with the sangha (our silent retreat family) and with nature enhances our connection to what is life-affirming, compassionate and wise. We will discover that we can embrace impermanence with less fear and more appreciative joy (sukkha), inspired by the qualities of heart and mind found in the Brahma Viharas (the 4 divine abodes) of loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), appreciative joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha).
    This retreat includes guided sitting and walking meditations, short individual sessions with Sue and daily sessions of qigong movement meditation to enhance the integration of body, heart and mind. There will be time for silent, mindful walks in nature when you can explore the beauty of the Centre. Additional optional mindful movement and massages will be offered - details to be confirmed nearer the time.

    Please note: There is a teacher's fee for this retreat, which is offered on a sliding scale, with reductions and payment plans on request.

    A pre-retreat individual session via Zoom/Whatsapp is highly recommended for newcomers or if you have not attended one of Sue’s residential retreats before. The fee for this will be the 30-40/50 minute medical aid rate and will be reduced if you are not on medical aid. Please contact Sue on to arrange a time.
    CPD accreditation for psychologists and other HPCSA registered professionals: Confirmed with an admin fee.

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    Sue Cooper is a Cape Town-based Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, working in private practice since the early 1990's. She has a long-standing interest in the interface between psychological and spiritual approaches to self-discovery and inner healing, and has attended Buddhist meditation retreats, mainly in the Theravada tradition, for over 30 years, both in South Africa and at Gaia House in the UK. She has been inspired by the teachings of Ajahn Chah of the Thai Forest tradition, and is deeply grateful to her primary teachers: the late Godwin Samararatne, Kittisaro and Thanissara, Ajahn Sucitto and Stephen and Martine Batchelor. She has a particular interest in exploring how our practice enables us to embrace our humanness, integrating love and loss in our lives, so that we can live and die with compassionate awareness. She offers weekend and longer retreats throughout South Africa at Temenos, Mont Fleur, Blue Butterfly and Somerset Gift in the Western Cape; Dharmagiri Insight Meditation Centre and the Buddhist Retreat Centre in KwaZulu Natal; and Emoyeni Retreat Centre in the North West Province, as well as 6-8 week "Open the Heart and Still the Mind" courses, on-going weekly groups and monthly half-day/day retreats in Cape Town See: https://stillmindretreats.com and please contact

  • Quiet Mountain, Clear Sky: Meditating With Calmness And Clarity

    Teacher: Mervyn Croft
    Cost: 2 days accommodation + R400 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 01 December 2023 - Sunday 03 December 2023

    mervyn croftThis retreat will provide an opportunity to explore two aspects of Buddhist meditation practice - the gradual development of calmness and peacefulness in our mind; and the practise of awareness, in order to live with more clarity and more centredness in the present moment. This foundation of calmness helps us to meet our confused thoughts and emotions with more acceptance and kindness and leads to a deeper understanding of the nature of our minds. The retreat will create a gentle and relaxed space in which to explore the benefits of spending time quietly with ourselves, to allow the qualities of calmness and clarity to develop in a natural way and to enjoy the nurturing effect of being silent in a beautiful environment.

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    Mervyn Croft has been engaged in Buddhism for over forty years, including a period of thirteen years as a member of the resident community at the Buddhist Retreat Centre, Ixopo. He has participated in retreats in the Theravada, Zen and Tibetan traditions, and for many years was a student of Godwin Samararatne from Sri Lanka. In 2000 he co-founded the Emoyeni Retreat Centre where he teaches and lives in a house of stone.

  • JOY: Tap Into Your Creative Energy

    Teacher: Charisse Louw
    Cost: 2 days accommodation + R400 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 08 December 2023 - Sunday 10 December 2023

    charisse louwIf you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it Mary Oliver

    We will play with the energy we are - exploring qigong, tapping, yin yoga, free dance, sunning, breath work, shaking, and meditation techniques, while exploring creative expression through movement and stillness, the written word and art. This is an invitation to heal in Nature through mindfulness and co-creation. Everyone is welcomed to a compassionate and open-hearted space for remembering who we are.

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    Charisse Louw has studied qiong in China, yoga in Indian ashrams and meditation in Japanese Buddhist temples. She is an eternal student. For more on what she offers please visit https://charisselouw.wixsite.com/flow

  • Shibuie - When Beauty Happens Accidentally: Sumie And Raku – Japanese Brush Painting And Ceramics

    Teacher: Ingrid Adams, Lungelo Ncebo, Bernard Charikobo and Venessa Muller
    Cost: 4 days accommodation + R400 surcharge
    Dates: Monday 11 December 2023 - Friday 15 December 2023

    ingrid adamslungelo ncebobernard charikobovenessa mullerShibuie 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. Ingrid will teach the classical Japanese brush painting techniques - Sumie - as these are applied to traditional subjects, such as landscape, bamboo and flower studies - as well as 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. Lungelo will offer the Raku and explore various glazing and firing techniques. Each retreatant will receive a bisque-fired tea bowl to sumie-decorate and glaze. The kiln will be fired up, after which we will watch the magic as the bowls emerge triumphantly from the scorching heat! Bernard will be offering forest walks and introduicng 'forest bathing' introducing 'forest bathing' with traditional Mbira music for healing and harmony. A traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony will be held on the final evening led by Venessa Muller.

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    Ingrid Adams qualified as a fashion designer, an art teacher and completed a B.A. Fine Arts with Unisa. She travelled extensively whilst running a successful business in fashion and home textiles. Viewing Sumie and ink painting in China, Japan and Korea, she embarked on a Sumie course with Louis and was instantly smitten. Retiring from business, Ingrid completed a B.A. Fine Arts Honours, and a Masters, with UKZN Pietermaritzburg. Both the research and practical were focused on Sumie. She has now enrolled for a PhD, continuing to employ traditional Sumie processes and nature. She currently paints and teaches Sumie part-time.

    Lungelo Ngcebo studied at DUT in the Fine Art department and majored in sculpture and painting. Working as assistant to Hendrik Strobel, he learned everything about ceramics from electric kiln firing, smoke firing and raku firing. He is currently in the process of completing his Post Graduate Certificate at the University of South Africa. His scope of personal work includes mosaic, glazing, figure modelling, woodwork, welding plaster casting and rubber mould and painting.

    Bernard Charikobo is a part-time ranger in the Hawaan Forest in Durban where he takes people on guided walks, introducing 'forest bathing' and traditional Mbira music for healing and harmony. His passion is trees and birds. He will be leading the walks over this retreat where one can immerse oneself in nature and find inner serenity.

    Venessa Muller worked in Project Management in various sectors for many years. After attending her first retreat with Lisa Firer at the BRC in 2010, she realised that her path needed to change. She left the ‘abnormal’ world in 2013 and served as a volunteer at the BRC for a year in 2014.  She is currently a resident staff member and offers midweek meditation and continues her practice on the path.

  • Going With The Flow: Integrating Meditation And Mindfulness Into Our Daily Life

    Teacher: Bruce van Dongen
    Cost: 2 days accommodation + R300 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 15 December 2023 - Sunday 17 December 2023

    bruce van dongenThe aim of this workshop is to develop the tools that enable us to arrive gently and lucidly in the present moment, being aware of the ebb and flow of our moods and emotions and learning to be mindful instead of reactive in our interactions with others. Using the techniques presented, we will learn to train our minds to be centered on the present so that we can flow with the river of life instead of fighting against the current of our conditioning. There is great joy in being present, no matter what is happening. We will explore Kundalini yoga, which is a combination of stationary and dynamic poses and qigong (chi kung) techniques. These practices increase our energy level and give us the capacity to be fully present and integrated in our bodies and minds. This is a meditation-centered practice - not a physical yoga practice. The workshop will be varied to allow retreatants of all ages and levels of experience to derive great benefit from this very old tradition. Bring comfortable clothing and a sun hat.

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    Bruce van Dongen is a mechanical engineer. He has been practising yoga for many years and is a qualified teacher in the Hatha and Kundalini disciplines. He is a Director of The Waterfall Retreat and Environmental Centre and uses both nature and yoga as his soothing systems to balance the pressures of the corporate world.

  • The Four Immeasurable Gifts at Christmas

    Teacher: Tsunma Tsondru
    Cost: 4 days accommodation + R600 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 22 December 2023 - Tuesday 26 December 2023

    tsunma tsondruImagine! Imagine all the people, living life in peace - John Lennon

    Christmas is a time of the giving of gifts. All birthdays are honoured with gift-giving. Usually these gifts are of ‘things’. Yet the very best gift we can give is not anything tangible or material. It is to definitively take away the suffering of oneself, and of others. And this, after all, is the reason why we give material gifts in the first place. It’s also the reason why we do the myriad things we do in our lives. It’s because we are constantly in pursuit of this (seemingly unattainable) state of being: peace, happiness, contentment, an absence of ‘niggle’. The unlimited and ultimate gift would be to be happy without end, at peace without end, to give happiness and peace to all, without end.

    The Four Immeasurable Gifts are the ultimate gift. They are boundless equanimity, loving kindness, compassion, and joy. They define a path and practice leading to all-encompassing peace and happiness. They lead us back to our true nature, which is peace.

    Take time out at the BRC this Christmas to slow down into the moment and unwrap the Four Immeasurable Gifts. We will discover them through meditation, contemplation, journaling, and by just being present.

    The retreat will be held in an atmosphere of introspection and 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 met Buddhism through Louis van Loon at the BRC in the 90's. 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. Returning to Cape Town, she  served on the Board of the Southern African Faith Communities Environmental Institute - a multi-faith NGO - for 6 years and as  its Executive Director. She later spent a 10-day intensive retreat with Joanna Macy, engaging with Macy’s “Work That Re-Connects”, which she teaches at the BRC and other places, Her particular interest is deep ecology, eco-philosophy and wilderness work, and the role that spirituality, ethics and connection/interdependence can play in transforming us and our economic and social systems in protection of the Earth.

  • Three Wise Medicines For Living Your Life In The New Year

    Teacher: Tsunma Tsondru
    Cost: 4 days accommodation + R600 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 29 December 2023 - Tuesday 02 January 2024

    tsunma tsondruThe spiritual life is first of all a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied, it is to be lived - Thomas Merton

    New Year is a good time of the year to take stock and contemplate our moment-to-moment, here-and-now reality in all its fullness. It’s a traditional time for clarifying our motivations, and for starting afresh with new intentions. A time, in other words, to reboot the system. Give yourself the gift of time over this New Year period to collect the Three Wise Medicines of gratitude, ahimsa and contentment, to reflect on the past year, and uncover how you can best live your life in the coming year. During this time together we will let our body, speech and mind fall silent through the practice of meditation and silence. In working with the Three Wise Medicines, there will also be time for writing and contemplation, walking and ceremony especially outside in nature. We will welcome the New Year with a lantern-lit ceremony in the Zendo, chanting, ringing out the old year with an ancient Chinese temple gong. The retreat will be held in an atmosphere of silence and introspection.

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    Tsunma Tsondru is a nun ordained by Tai Situ Rinpoche in the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. She met Buddhism through Louis van Loon at the BRC in the 90's. 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. Returning to Cape Town, she  served on the Board of the Southern African Faith Communities Environmental Institute - a multi-faith NGO - for 6 years and as  its Executive Director. She later spent a 10-day intensive retreat with Joanna Macy, engaging with Macy’s “Work That Re-Connects”, which she teaches at the BRC and other places, Her particular interest is deep ecology, eco-philosophy and wilderness work, and the role that spirituality, ethics and connection/interdependence can play in transforming us and our economic and social systems in protection of the Earth.

  • Time To Focus And Tune Into 2024: Gently kickstart the new year with an ashram-style retreat offering qigong, hatha yoga, meditation and healing therapies

    Teacher: Brendon Small, Kugan Naidoo, Di Franklin and Deborah Don
    Cost: 2 days accommodation + R400 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 05 January 2024 - Sunday 07 January 2024

    brendon smallkugan naidoo lotusdi franklindeborah donIt 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 you need a gentle, uncluttered space to tune into what lies ahead for you in 2024, this largely unstructured weekend will prove useful. Experience sunrise qigong, gentle hatha yoga sessions and meditation. The Centre is yours to enjoy, walking or bird-watching in three hundred acres of rolling hills and indigenous forests. Circumambulate the labyrinth and stupa, meditate in the Zen garden or in the Buddha Boma, and spend solitary time in the deer park and at the dam or  immerse yourself in the "Circle of Sound" in the Bamboo Grove. Deborah Don, a qualified Self-Esteem Coach and massage therapist, will be offering healing therapies by appointment. The BRC provides an ideal opportunity to be in a sympathetic space to reflect on the things that crowd one’s life and to experience what it is like to "just be".

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    Brendon Small has been exposed to various traditions and teachers on the Buddhist path over the last two decades and has attended a number of retreats at the BRC. He has assisted with a couple of retreats where he has led the meditation. He is a firm believer in the importance of meditation and mindfulness and enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for practice on retreat.

    Kugan Naidoo, a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher,  began his yoga journey at the tender age of ten, learning and practising at the Divine Life Society Ashram, Durban. His love of yoga led him to complete a 200 hr TTC with Yoga Alliance and a 200 hr in  Advanced Yoga in Nasik, Maharashtra, India followed by a 300 hr in Restorative  and Therapy Yoga, in Rishikesh India. He also completed a 3 year Iyengar Level 1 Teacher Training Course. In addition, Kugan completed intensive training at the RIMYI, Iyengar Institute in Pune, India, under the leadership and  guidance of Geeta Iyengar,  Prashanth  Iyengar and Abhijata Iyengar. He has led several programmes at schools, gyms and  rehabilitation facilities working closely with several organizations as well as the office of the Consulate General of India in Durban. Apart from recording the ‘Yoga For Wellness’, Series 1  and 2  for SABC TV 3, he has led the International Day Of Yoga celebrations in Durban for several years.  In 2018, Kugan was diagnosed with a debilitating Auto Immune Disease and was unable to teach, but he used the power of yoga for his transformation and healing journey.

    Dianne Franklin is an Advocate in private practice. She has been studying Buddhism and Qigong for twenty years. She is a student of Max Weier, the Qigong Master from Switzerland. Her teachers include Rob Nairn, Geshe Pende and Ken Holmes.

    Deborah Don, a qualified Self-Esteem Coach, and massage therapist, has been involved in the Health, the Easter and New Year retreats offered at the BRC over the last six years. She offers aromatherapy, energy balance and sound therapy, self-esteem coaching and foot, back and neck healing therapies.

  • Traditional Hatha And Raja Yoga

    Teacher: Duncan Rice
    Cost: 2 days accommodation + R300 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 12 January 2024 - Sunday 14 January 2024

    duncanrice fullJoin Duncan for a weekend of reflection, rejuvenation, relaxation and restoration. The retreat is based on the ancient practices of hatha and raja yoga and is open to all levels of ability, including beginners, who wish to understand the fundamentals of yoga and develop, or deepen, their own practice. In the tranquil environment of the Buddhist Retreat Centre, we will discover how shatkarmas (cleansing techniques), asanas (postures), pranayama (control of the breath), mudra (gestures to manipulate and stimulate the energies in the body), bandhas (energy locks with the body) bring us into equilibrium. These traditional practices will help us to develop awareness of body, mind and breath. As the body gently opens like a lotus flower, and we start to release our past impressions, so the mind becomes relaxed preparing us for meditation. We will follow traditional guided meditation techniques in the meditation hall and in the labyrinth to quieten the mind, calm anxieties, recover balance in life and enhance creativity, insight and self-reflection.

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    Duncan Rice offers community-based yoga at "Yogam Yoga" in Durban. He has studied and lived in India for many years and has  followed the teachings of Patanjali (Ashtanga Yoga), Ayurveda and Hatha Yoga which are laid down in some of the oldest texts of yoga. His yoga is rooted in ancient tradition passed down by the teachers over thousands of years teaching that we are a multi-layered being from our physical body to your subtle body. Yoga is about creating health and equilibrium in our body, calming the mind and allowing us to be in touch and at peace with our true self.

  • Ten Day Vipassana Retreat

    Teacher: Jonathan Preboy and Anna Scharfenberg
    Cost: 10 days accommodation + R700 surcharge
    Dates: Monday 15 January 2024 - Thursday 25 January 2024

    jonathan preboyanna scharfenberg 2020Why must we undertake Vipassana meditation retreats? Because we search for happiness and want to liberate our mind from suffering. We go on a retreat to cleanse and disentangle our troubled lives and minds. This experience frees our mind - Ajahn Tong

    The retreat starts with an introduction on Monday evening and follows the original Stages of Insight for ten full days of meditation. The aim of insight meditation is to understand reality, to see things as they really are. The main tool of insight meditation is mindfulness: mindfulness of body, feelings and mind. Ajahn Tong states that “attending a meditation retreat is training in the power of mindfulness. With intensive practice the wandering, struggling and chaotic mind can become composed, peaceful, refreshed and purified of negative hindrances.” Retreatants are required to practise approximately ten hours per day (between 5 am and 10 pm), follow the Buddhist precepts and maintain respectful silence throughout the retreat. The BRC staff and teachers will provide their whole-hearted support, including daily reporting, loving-kindness meditation (Metta) and Dhamma talks. Maximum 12 students. This retreat will overlap with the weekend retreat (19-21) and the 4 day retreat (21-25). 

    Thoughts come and go. Feelings come and go. Find out what it is that remains - Ramana Maharshi

    The retreat will be limited to 12 participants.

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    Jonathan Preboy and Anna Scharfenberg trained in Vipassana meditation under the great Thai Vipassana master Ajahn Tong Sirimangalo. Jonathan worked as a clinical psychologist in private practice in Durban and Anna holds a Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies. They have taught meditation together at Wat Chom Tong Meditation Centre in Thailand, Mexico, Italy, Spain and South Africa (the BRC, Dharmagiri and Emoyeni) and currently manage and teach at the Tisarana Vipassananusorn Meditation Centre in Prague.