header6.jpg

The accidental Buddhist scholar

During the 1960’s, the Departments of Religious Studies and Philosophy at South African universities arranged a series of public lectures on ethical subjects, such as euthanasia, professional secrecy, suicide and so on.  I was then practicing as an architect and civil engineer, but was also an enthusiastic student of eastern philosophy - in particular, Buddhism.   I noticed that the lecturers were largely ignorant of the teachings of the Buddha.  I therefore made contributions to the debates from a Buddhist perspective, from the floor, as a member of the audience.  I felt that it could add a vital element to our understanding of how religions and philosophies can throw a useful perspective on contemporary social problems.

Read more ...

Sangha Projects: September 2016

Generosity is the first of the Paramitas (Perfections) and the most highly praised of the Buddha’s teachings, because it gives rise to the other quintessential qualities of virtue. This altruism is evident in the way our patrons and donors respond so spontaneously to the needs of the Centre - needs that are not catered for in the rates we (reluctantly) charge for food and accommodation.

Read more ...

SHIBUIE: The Accident of Beauty

An introduction to Japanese Brush Painting (Sumi-e) & Raku Pottery

Join renowned potter Anthony Shapiro and Louis van Loon, founder of The Buddhist Retreat Centre, Ixopo in this fascinating experience of Shibuie - a form of art that relies as much on unpredictable natural processes as it does on the artist directing them.

Read more ...

SHIBUIE: The Accident of Beauty (May 2017)

An introduction to Japanese Brush Painting (Sumi-e) & Raku Pottery

Join renowned potter Anthony Shapiro and Louis van Loon, founder of The Buddhist Retreat Centre, Ixopo in this fascinating experience of Shibuie - a form of art that relies as much on unpredictable natural processes as it does on the artist directing them. 

Louis will teach participants the classical Japanese brush painting techniques (sumi-e) using the genuine materials.
Under Anthony’s direction, participants will produce a pinch pot which they will carve and decorate. They will receive another two tea bowls to sumie-decorate and glaze.

Read more ...

Now you can make a Brush Dance and Ink Sing - in Durban!

A course in Japanese brush painting - conducted by Louis van Loon

Louis was taught the ancient eastern art of Sumi-e (Japanese Ink Brush Painting) by one of the last remaining elderly “Living Legends” of this exquisite form of art at a small sumie studio in Kyoto, Japan, in 1959. Since then he has taught sumie to appreciative students at The Buddhist Retreat Centre and at Art In The Forest (previously Tretchikoff’s studio) in Constantia, Cape Town.

Read more ...

In Praise of Instinct

I am writing this newsletter on the day when, exactly 45 years ago, I first set foot on the property that was to become the Buddhist Retreat Centre.  As some of you know, I bought it impulsively, in thick mist and drizzle that prevented me from seeing anything further than what was vaguely visible three paces ahead from me. What I could make out was not encouraging: an expanse of impenetrable bramble, a forest of bugweed and dense Australian wattle saplings – all of them alien invaders that had overrun the property. I was therefore as stunned as the owner when I heard myself say:  “I’ll buy it.” 

Read more ...

Sangha Projects: January 2016

Generosity is the first of the Paramitas (Perfections) and the most highly praised of the Buddha’s teachings, because it gives rise to the other quintessential qualities of virtue. This altruism is evident in the way our patrons and donors respond so spontaneously to the needs of the Centre - needs that are not catered for in the rates we (reluctantly) charge for food and accommodation. 

Read more ...

Sangha Projects: June 2015

Generosity is the first of the Paramitas (Perfections) and the most highly praised of the Buddha’s teachings, because it gives rise to the other quintessential qualities of virtue. This altruism is evident in the way our patrons and donors respond so spontaneously to the needs of the Centre - needs that are not catered for in the rates we (reluctantly) charge for food and accommodation. 

Read more ...

Meet the Dalai Lama on the "Road To Peace"

Experience the character and wisdom of the Dalai Lama and discover why he inspires millions of people of all creeds to live more meaningful lives in harmony with each other and the planet. Filmed during a rare visit to the UK, this fly-on- the-wall documentary follows the Dalai Lama as he shares his spiritual and humanitarian message with the West.

We will show this film at The 35th Annual General Meeting of the Buddhist Institute of South Africa.

Read more ...

Finding their tracks: Bushman, Voortrekkers and Settlers at the BRC

The BRC sits on 300 acres of hills which Alan Paton, in the opening paragraph of his seminal book, Cry the Beloved Country, describes as lovely beyond any singing of it.  Yet in 1970, these three hills had become sterile; they had eroded and were covered with steekgras, American bramble and Australian wattle plantations.   That is how I acquired it for the purpose of establishing the first Buddhist meditation centre in South Africa.

Read more ...