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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.

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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.

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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.” 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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!                                              

Chrisi