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.

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The BRC is clearly photogenic

The BRC is clearly photogenic. The producers of the SATV 2’sEastern Mosaic filmed  at  the BRC recently. You can watch the evocative episode by clicking the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKNqoaicfC4

Sangha Projects: December 2014

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. Thank you to Dave Paterson, Kim Darke, Linda Van der Nest, Melanie Wicks, Barbara Day, Annegret Rood, Peter Wellman, R. Brownath, Rosemary Turner, Stephen Coan, Antony Lavoipierre, Pam Evans, Kushy Ramjathan and Jack Schmitter, for your continued generosity which has enabled the ongoing refurbishment and upgrading of the Centre.

The treasured Bodhi (“Enlightenment”) Tree, donated by the Myanmar Buddhist Association, is flourishing in our Buddha Boma thanks to Chris Dalzell who has  sourced the other seven trees associated with the Buddha’s life and teaching, and to our Patrons Annegret Rood, Dena van der Berg, Gerrit and Helen Vogel, Rob Haveman and Verna du Preez who helped make this project possible.    We need to particularly single out Dave Paterson who has taken on the Boma project with gusto and expertise, and enabled the central pavilion to be set out under his supervision, and the supporting columns to be erected.  Next year we will see much more progress on the roof, the rock garden, and the waterfall and lotus pond – hopefully in time for the Boma’s opening at the most important event in the Buddhist calendar:  Wesak in May.

Thank you everybody!                                              


Japanese Brush Painting and Raku Pottery

potteryAnthony Shapiro and Louis van Loon conduct another workshop in Cape Town on

Japanese Brush Painting and Raku Pottery
3 days: May 21 - 23 2015

For more details contact Erika


The BRC hosted Master Chef SA and is featured in the November issue of Paris Vogue

nalandarocksLA VALLEE BLEUE, Afrique du Sud L'un des dix meilleurs centres de méditation du monde, selon CNN, se trouve dans les montagnes du KwaZulu-Natal, au-dessus des méandres de la rivière Umkomaas. Dans ce parc de 120 hectares, de multiples chemins mènent au nirvana : au détour d'un sentier, croiser une hirondelle bleue ou contempler la vallée qui s'efface dans toutes les nuances de bleu. Comme dans les autres centres de méditation bouddhiste, on peut y pratiquer l'assise tranquille, en silence, en observant sa respiration - guidée par des enseignants -mais ici il est aussi possible de s'exercer seul. D'autres types de stages permettent également d'explorer la pensée et la philosophie bouddhistes ou de pratiquer la pleine conscience pendant des cours de cuisine, de tai-chi, de poterie, de percussions ou de photo. Autant de manières d'accéder au Grand Tout en se reconnectant à soi-même. Buddhist Retreat Center, Ixopo. www.brcixopo.co.zaParis Vogue  in their current issue,  features the BRC as La Vallee Bleue. The picture is of the valley below Nilanda Rocks. (Download the article

The producers of Master Chef SA rewarded contestants in this popular cooking competition with a visit to the BRC,  where Louis told them about the eastern philosophical principles of vegetarianism.  They then  tasted our food to make them aware of  how fabulously tasty and nutritious this Ahimsa (“harmless”) food can be.  Their visit was featured in episode 8 of Master Chef SA on SATV 3 recently.

Visiting Teachers in 2015

Unfortunately, John Peacock is not well enough to teach at the BRC in March 2015.   We wish him a steady recovery and hope that he will be able to visit the BRC again later in 2015.

Jonathan Preboy and Anna Scharfenburg: January  5 – 9 & May 29 – 31 

Rob Nairn and Lucy Draper-Clarke:  March 24 – 29 2015

Lama Marut:  April 30 – May 3 2015

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You are invited to our AGM- 30 July 2014

What if you could talk to animals -  and have them talk back to you?

In this remarkable film, “The Animal Communicator”, you will see Anna Breytenbach turn a snarling leopard into a contented cat; wild birds land on her shoulders; fish gather round her when she swims; wild baboons lie on her body as if she is one of them.  She talks about how she communicates with animals through thought.        

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Sangha Projects - July 2014

Generosity is the first of the Paramitas, and the most highly praised of the Buddha’s teachings, because it gave rise to the other quintessential qualities of morality. This altruism is so evident in the way our patrons and donors have responded so spontaneously to the needs of the Centre. Thank you to Kim Darke, Linda Van der Nest, Melanie Wicks, Barbara Day, Annegret Rood, Colleen Trotter, Peter Wellman, R. Brownath, Rosemary Turner, Stephen Coan,  Antony Lavoipierre, Jack Schmitter, Sandra Kloppers and Ian Chambler for your continued generosity which has enabled the ongoing refurbishment and upgrading of the Centre.

Dana (generosity) is a well-known sentiment in the Buddhist Eastern countries, and a natural response to the needs of the monasteries and centres like ours. We are always humbled by the abundance of gifts from retreatants who have made the BRC their spiritual home. Grateful thanks to Rosemary Turner in finessing the bungalow, Malcolm Powell for the book on eradicating aliens and his stunning pics,  Jeannine Stafford for her generosity to Woza Moya, Nelhi Harrison for the wonderful selection of Buddhist books to our library, so ably and proficiently maintained by Ans Van der Walt, and gifts from Devlin Lindeque, and Dave Paterson. The office is thriving, thanks to all the new computer equipment facilitated by Pam Evans. The resonant, big gong sourced and donated by Carlos Dos Santos has been installed, and the generous gift of garden tools from John Bulteel, so welcome. Thank you too to Shane and Lisa Platt for designing the beautiful cover to the CD of Music for Yoga and to Ken Gaze for the indigenous trees.

We were blessed to receive a treasured Bodhi tree and votive Stupa from the Myanmar Buddhist Association, facilitated by Paddy Maharaj and Dr Soe Thein. The delivery and planting of the Bodhi tree was a labour of love, supervised by Chris Dalzell, that required focus and a generous heart and spirit. We are happy to report that the tree is thriving in the Buddha Boma.

Thank you everybody!


In Praise of Stillness

in-praise-of-stillness“The word prevents silence from speaking”  (Eugene Ionesco)

“Few things under heaven are as instructive as the lessons of Silence/ or as beneficial as the fruits of Non-Ado” (Lao-Tzu) 

Silence has a special meaning in Buddhism.  That is why it is called Noble Silence.  It is not just an obligation to keep quiet - like one is expected to do when listening to a Chopin Nocturne played in a concert hall.  It is also not simply the abstention from making an audible noise.  It is a voluntary undertaking to open up to a world that exists independently from our interpretation of it – whether in spoken or written words or thoughts.  Such stillness can only happen when you make yourself available to receive whatever the universe is presenting you with; when you are quiet and keep still.  

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