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  • An Introduction To Chi Kung: Boost your health and longevity

    Teacher: Paul Dorrian
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 15 November 2019 - Sunday 17 November 2019

    paul dorrianChi kung is an ancient Chinese practice that boosts one’s health and longevity. Through gentle, slow and flowing movements, it integrates and harmonises one’s bodily functions and states of mind by eliminating static and toxic energy patterns. Chi kung also strengthens the internal organs and skeletal structure and encourages good posture. In this retreat, Paul will teach the Healing Sounds Short Form - a set of gentle exercises that incorporates sounds to cleanse and heal our major organs. In addition, it is fun to practise. He will also teach the ancient Taoist Brain Cleansing healing meditation.

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    Paul Dorrian is an international management consultant, author and speaker.  His interest in improving employee wellness in the work place led him to teach chi kung and tai chi chuan. He has studied these disciplines under various teachers in the UK and Spain, and with the late Master Dr Nico Snyman, his current teacher Master Marleen Bilas and with his Grandmaster Dr Lin Feng-Chao.  He teaches tai chi in the Yang style and chi kung in the Pa Tuan Chin, Healing Sounds and Zhan Zhuang styles at his school, the Lin Li School of Tai Chi Chuan, in Pietermaritzburg.

  • Being Our Own Best Friend In This Crazy World

    Teacher: Chandasara
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 22 November 2019 - Sunday 24 November 2019

    chandasara smlThis is a silent meditation retreat focusing 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 after which she 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 forms of life and nature, intuitive sensitivity, spontaneity, play, creativity and freedom. She currently resides at Dharmagiri Insight Meditation Centre where she teaches meditation and mindfulness.

  • Going With The Flow: Integrating yoga into daily life as a mindfulness practice

    Teacher: Bruce van Dongen
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 29 November 2019 - Sunday 01 December 2019

    bruce van dongenThe aim of this workshop is to develop the tools that make us aware of the ebb and flow of our moods and emotions and to learn to be mindful instead of reactive in our interactions with others. Using the techniques presented, we will learn to train our minds to be centred on the present so that we can flow with the river of life. We will explore Kundalini yoga, which is a combination of stationary and dynamic poses that include chanting, yogic breathing and chi kung techniques. These practices develop the ability to be fully present and integrated in our bodies and minds. 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.

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

    Teacher: Jeremy and Alex Lister-James
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Wednesday 04 December 2019 - Friday 06 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.

  • Quiet Mountain, Clear Sky: Meditating with calmness and clarity

    Teacher: Mervyn Croft
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 06 December 2019 - Sunday 08 December 2019

    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 13 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.

  • 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 Cowen House and has her own studio, running workshops and selling her work. She makes utilitarian ware as well as sculptural porcelain pieces.

    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 its 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.

  • 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 done 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 or 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.

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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.