In one of his teachings, the Buddha enumerated the most noble sentiments we should endeavour to develop in our life. The first and foremost is Dana or Generosity because from that springs forth all other beautiful characteristics such as kindness, forgiveness and virtue. We should therefore be alert to situations that arouse these qualities in us and provide us with an opportunity to express them towards others. They then become habitual, effortless and spontaneous. Dictionaries offer a range of meanings for gratitude from thankfulness and a warm feeling towards a benefactor, to an acknowledgement of indebtedness. Such gratitude arises in us every time we receive gifts and donations from our supporters and visitors to the Centre. These feelings are rooted in the early traditions of all religions: that one is inclined to be grateful to religious institutions that offer a different, wider perspective on what is important in life - the meaningfulness of one's existence, along with the need to simply survive..
The Buddhist monastic order has now flourished for more than 2500 years on such goodwill and the generosity of the lay people with whom they had a mutually beneficial relationship. In the modern world, this same spirit of goodwill has been directed towards retreat centres such as the BRC. Indeed, we have been moved by the gifts and donations that have flowed to the Centre this past year. We therefore take this opportunity to express our thanks to all those friends who regard the BRC as their spiritual home and want to ensure its longevity. Your generosity generated R18,000.00 in Dana to Woza Moya, the welfare organisation which the BRC supports, and which, in turn, supports the community of Chibini. Your Dana to our teachers allows them to keep the Dharma wheels turning at the Centre and allows the BRC to offer the wide range of retreats from silent meditation and mindfulness retreats to yoga, art and chi kung and much more.
With the Paid-Up-Yogi and Sangha Friends’ contributions, we were able to upgrade the ladies’ bathroom in the Lodge, install a tea station in its foyer for those hot cups of milo on chilly nights, and tile the stoep. We also renewed the canvas to the parasol of the terrace umbrella. Pam Evans very generously sponsored the beautiful granite server in the kitchen, and topped that with a lovely new coffee plunger, soft new pillows and towels, while Anne-Marie Nel donated stylish new cotton duvet covers. Chris Dalzell arrived with a truck-load of indigenous trees for the new forest being cultivated above the vegetable garden and Alex de la Rouviere donated a beautiful Sikkhim silk scarf to Louis to wear during the Chinese Tea Ceremony. The new high-back oak chairs in the Zendo were donated by Patricia Usher and Peter Kloppers. Rosemary Turner installed a beautiful bench in the gardens in memory of the late Bill Chalmers.
Additional PUY contributions and donations made by Nikki Milich, Ileana Dimitriu, Brendon Small, Brad Celliers, Rodger Walters, Jack Schmitter, Brett Lewis, Ingrid Adams, Bobby Forssman, Gustav Hasselskog and Mercia Sevnarin.These have enabled us to continue with pending projects such as reducing our Eskom bills by installing LED lights and refurbishing the men’s bathroom in the Lodge.
Our library continues to be updated by Ans van der Walt. We so appreciate her dedication, and share her delight when she receives new books, some of which have been donated by Tsunma Tsondru and Christine Currie. Our photo gallery has swelled with stunning pics from Andrew Brown, Lennart Erikson and Tsunma Tsondru. Grateful thanks to Beena and Brendon Hatcher of BrilliantWeb for their technical support, Rob Pooley for keeping our bees happy and Tokozani Nene for his wise counsel and friendship. Resounding thanks must go to our dedicated Committee members - Rene Stephenson, Pam Evans, Chris Dalzell, Rob Havemann, Alex De La Rourviere and Rosemary Turner - their commitment and focus made the Silent Auction the success that it was: R120,000.00 was raised from all our donors’ contributions.
Our dedicated BRC team - Lien Duvenage, Jenni Riddell, Colin Kemery, June Atkinson and our new chef, Rose Gelderblom - deserve a special mention. We salute and thank them for their commitment, friendship and help in running the BRC so smoothly. Ray Vogel, in his inimitable way, made a wonderful contribution during his two month return to the Centre. Credit too must go to our talented cooks, Lindiwe Ngobo, Dudu Memela, and Lungi Mbona; to our maintenance expert, Mdu Makodi, and to Engakheni Mbanjwa who does such sterling job in overseeing our accommodation. Without them, our teachers our supporters, the Centre would not be the flourishing entity it is.
Thank you all!