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  • Grounded In Space: A weekend of tai chi and qigong (chi kung)

    Teacher: Jeremy and Alex Lister-James
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 13 December 2019 - Sunday 15 December 2019

    jeremy lister jamesalex lister jamesBased on the Chinese philosophy of Taoism, tai chi is rooted in balance and flow, stillness within movement, and reflection during action. Just like the shape of the Taijitu - the symbol of yin and yang - every movement is based on circles. Al Huang, in Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain, suggests: “Stop the words and start the doing.” With gentle movements and focused mind, we will teach a short sequence of yang-style tai chi, complemented with simple chi kung exercises and movement-within-stillness meditation. Tai chi has been described as “learning to move with the wind and water in the course of everyday life”.

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    Jeremy Lister-James has been involved in the sustainability sphere for the last 15 years. His vision is the possibility of a world in which humans and other life will flourish on Earth forever. He strives to do no harm, rather than less harm, starting with a range of reflective practices aimed at flourishing. These foster an individual awareness of connectedness and the need for caring - for self, others and the world. One such practice is tai chi-chi kung.

    Alex Lister-James initially studied the Yang Form of tai chi as a form of “moving meditation” before incorporating chi kung in her practice, together with sitting and walking meditation. She has attended retreats at the Buddhist Retreat Centre for 30 years. In her professional life, Alex is a Health Professional in private practice, focusing on the health of women and children.

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

    Teacher: Fay Keit, Ingrid Adams and Louis van Loon
    Cost: 4 day's accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Tuesday 17 December 2019 - Saturday 21 December 2019

    fay keitingrid adamslouis van loon smlShibuie 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 (R850) 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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    Fay Keit  is a ceramist living in Howick. After finishing her Honours in Ceramics, she taught at primary schools in Madagascar, and then in South Africa. Wanting to pursue her dream to run a ceramics studio, she enrolled at the University of KwaZulu Natal and completed her MA in ceramics. She currently teaches art at Cowan House and has her own studio, running workshops and selling her work. She makes utilitarian ware as well as sculptural porcelain pieces.

    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 Sumi-e and ink painting in China, Japan and Korea, she embarked on a Sumi-e course with Louis and was instantly smitten. Retiring from business, Ingrid completed a B.A. Fine Arts Honours, and recently a Masters, with UKZN Pietermaritzburg. Both the research and practical were focused on Sumi-e. She now paints and teaches Sumi-e part-time.

    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.

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

    Teacher: Tsunma Tsondru
    Cost: 3 day's accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Tuesday 24 December 2019 - Friday 27 December 2019

    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 in the 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 molecular biologist, 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 as its Executive Director. In order to learn the Work That Reconnects, she travelled to San Francisco for a 10-day intensive retreat with Joanna Macy, engaging with Macy’s Work That Connects. Tsondru offers this work, blending it with teachings on Engaged Buddhism, and traditional meditation practice. 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. Click here to see the blog interview in 2 parts by Penny Urquhart.

  • Welcoming The New Year With Compassion And Joy: New year at the BRC

    Teacher: Sue Cooper
    Cost: 4 day's accommodation + R600 surcharge
    Dates: Saturday 28 December 2019 - Wednesday 01 January 2020

    sue cooper 2017 9In this 4-night Open the Heart and Still the Mind silent retreat we will reflect with kindness and compassion on the year which is ending, creating a space of possibility for new beginnings and joyful discovery, as we welcome the new year with an open and generous heart and mind at the beautiful BRC.  In a contained and nurturing atmosphere of contemplative (Noble) silence, we will transform the self-critical, judgmental inner voices which keep us stuck in the past, so that we can discover that each breath offers the possibility of a new beginning and greater freedom. As we enter the new year with compassionate simplicity, inspired by Buddhist wisdom teachings and embodied and calming meditation practices which open the heart, we will remember what really matters on this wondrous path of awakening. This retreat includes guided sitting and walking meditations, short individual sessions with Sue and daily sessions of chi kung movement meditation to enhance the healing and integration of body, heart and mind. We will welcome the New Year with a ceremony which includes chanting and a lantern-lit perambulation around the Buddha rupa, and we will usher out the old year with an ancient Chinese temple gong. Please kindly be aware that as there is no teacher's fee for this retreat, your dana replaces the teacher's fee. CPD accreditation for psychologists and other HPCSA registered professionals: 24 General CEUs are applicable and R175 admin fee is requested to receive the CPD certificate. sue.stillmind@gmail.com

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    Sue Cooper is a Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, working in private practice in Cape Town 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 Gaia House in the UK. Sue has been inspired by the teachings of Ajahn Chah of the Thai Forest tradition as well as the late Godwin Samararatne, Kittisaro and Thanissara, Ajahn Sucitto and Stephen and Martine Batchelor. In 2010, she created and launched her own "Open the Heart and Still the Mind" courses and retreats, which integrate Buddhist meditation and psychotherapy. 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, as well as "Open the Heart and Still the Mind" courses, on-going weekly groups and monthly half-day/day retreats in Cape Town. See: www.suecooper.co.za and please contact sue.stillmind@gmail.com.

  • Time To Reminisce, Reflect and Refocus: Gently kickstart the new year with an ashram-style retreat offering sunrise chi kung, yoga, walks, chanting, meditation and healing therapies

    Teacher: Colin Kemery, Bruce van Dongen, Deborah Don and Kerri Martinaglia
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R200 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 03 January 2020 - Sunday 05 January 2020

    colin kemerybruce van dongendeborah donkerri martinagliaIt 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 2020, this largely unstructured weekend will prove useful. Experience sunrise chi kung, yoga and evening chanting as well as a gong session for healing relaxation. The centre is yours to enjoy, walking or birdwatching 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 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, will be offering healing treatments by appointment, and Adamas Incendia , author of Buddha Brats: A Modern Tale Of Enlightenment,  and a Dzogchen  Buddhist Practitioner of 20 years, will give a talk on the first evening: Healing Negative Behavioural Patterns.

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    Colin Kemery has conducted his popular sunrise chi kung sessions at the BRC for 7 years. He is currently the Estate Manager at the BRC, and has been a Buddhist and yoga practitioner for 40 years. He lived and worked in the UK, France, Denmark and the USA, and is a musician and song-writer, with a passion for cooking and nutrition.

    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.

    Deborah Don, a qualified Self-esteem Coach, and massage therapist, has been involved in the Health and the Easter and New Year retreats offered at the BRC over the last three years.

    Kerri Martinaglia Kerri Martinaglia runs The Waterfall Retreat and Environmental Centre. In 2009 she began facilitating Mindfulness Africa courses in KwaZulu Natal. Her special interests are how the practices of Yoga, Mindfulness and Compassion can help restore our balance and enable us to live more meaningful lives.

  • Awakening The Writer In You: The art of writing from the heart

    Teacher: Elana Bregin
    Cost: 3 day's accommodation + Course fee.
    Contact Elana Bregin: 0714930791 / elana.bregin@gmail.com
    Dates: Monday 06 January 2020 - Thursday 09 January 2020

    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. 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.

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

    Teacher: Chris Dalzell, Steve Davis
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R200 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 10 January 2020 - Sunday 12 January 2020

    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, wild flowers and butterflies. You will also have a chance to expand the indigenous forests by planting your own tree. The weekend includes learning how to identify the most common trees in KwaZulu Natal, how to 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 close to where the Blue Swallows nest,  enjoy the rare orchids, tree ferns and yellowwoods and admire the pink watsonias (Watsonia Borbonica) and the orange Christmas bells (Sandersonia Aurantiatica) in their summer bloom. Included will be talks, slide shows, 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. He 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.

  • Vipassana Meditation: How to realise ever-present mindfulness

    Teacher: Jonathan Preboy, Anna Scharfenberg
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R400 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 17 January 2020 - Sunday 19 January 2020

    jonathan preboyanna scharfenbergThoughts are about what is not happening - Paul Hedderman

    Vipassana (Insight) meditation is based on mindfulness, which is always available, everywhere, without limit or cost. The challenge is how to realise it. The answer was provided by the Buddha. He taught ways to cultivate mindfulness that lead to insight and awakening. This retreat is an invitation for beginners and experienced meditators to practise Vipassana using the traditional Buddhist method of Ajahn Tong. For beginners it is a simple and direct technique to start meditating and for experienced meditators, it is a skilful method to deepen their insight. Mindfulness is developed by regular walking and sitting practice, by maintaining awareness during normal activities, such as eating, showering, dressing and supported by talks and daily interviews with a teacher. The weekend will be held in silence. Retreatants are welcome to join the subsequent 4-day meditation retreat.

    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 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.

  • A Vipassana Retreat: The search for truth

    Teacher: Jonathan Preboy, Anna Scharfenberg
    Cost: 4 day's accommodation + R400 surcharge
    Dates: Sunday 19 January 2020 - Thursday 23 January 2020

    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 suffering. The aim is not merely to overcome suffering but to learn how to wake up and be fully alive in the present moment. This four-day retreat is an opportunity to deepen meditation practice using the traditional Buddhist method of Ajahn Tong. Meditators are encouraged to stay for the entire course but 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 and supported by daily interviews with a teacher. The retreat will be held in silence.

    What is looking is what you are looking for - St. Francis of Assisi

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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.

  • Happy Healthy Yoga: Kickstart the new year with yoga for health and harmony

    Teacher: Margot McMaster
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R200 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 24 January 2020 - Sunday 26 January 2020

    margot mcmaster

    Join Margot for a yoga retreat where we explore our innate strength and vitality in order to deepen and develop serenity in our minds. We will connect them with the flow of breath and mindful awareness. Enjoy a progressive sequence of extended yoga classes, comprising dynamic vinyāsa, yin yoga, yoga nidra, mantra and more. Working in sequence to unlock and expand, we will explore arm balances, hip openers, backbends and twists to challenge your body to release, and then restore vitality, riding the wave of your breath as a way to surrender into postures and cultivating calmness of mind. We will work in Krama (progressive stages). The retreat is suitable for all levels of fitness, but be prepared to be challenged. Please bring a mat, water bottle, blanket and a strap. 

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    Margot McMaster holds both Vinyāsa Flow and Kundalini Yoga teacher certificates. She was guided by Mercedes Sieff, Shiva Rea, Guru Dharam and Darryl O’Kieffe, among others. She worked as the in-house yoga instructor at  BBC Worldwide in London for four years, where she taught in its studios, as well as in Costa Rica, India and Sri Lanka. She currently lives and teaches in Nottingham Road, KZN, where she integrates meditation, pranayama, mantra and Heart yoga into her practice.