Sangha Projects: July 2013

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 Iris Bornman, Kim Darke, Linda Van der Nest, Melanie Wicks, Barbara Day, Annegret Rood, Colleen Trotter, Peter Wellman, Rosemary Turner, Stephen Coan, and Antony Lavoipierre for your continued generosity which has enabled the refurbishment of the Lodge and Room 20.

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  generous donations from Charmaine Goott, Nicki Janssens, Katrin Auf Der Heyde; also for  the wonderful Le Cruset baking dish for our kitchen from Diana Vives, and the magnanimous donation of paint from Lianne Van Niekerk to complete the painting of the  exterior of the Lodge.

We were blessed to receive hundreds of indigenous trees, sourced by Izolde Mellet, which were transported by MCM Construction. Thank you Carlos Dos Santos for this kind gesture, and also for donating the big gong.

Whenever Kushy Ramjathan is at the Centre, it is like Christmas! Her breyani is famous! Through her, the BRC was the recipient of towels and linen from Baboo Soni, cleaning materials from Kleenline, groceries from Aroshan Mohanlal and Mr Badat, as well as a ton of yoghurt from Honeydew. Iris Bornman, Linda Ireland and Nelhi Harrison donated books on Buddhism to our library, so proficiently maintained by Ans Van der Walt. Max Weier donated copies of his new book The Qigong Way from body to energy consciousness.

Thank you Geeta Maharaj for your very generous gift of a stove.

Chris Dalzell has sourced the 8 trees associated with the Buddha’s life and teachings, and Pam Evans has financed the boardwalk, so the Buddha Boma is underway, having been marked out by Richard Norris.

Thank you – everybody!                                                


The BuddhaBoma: it’s on its way - at last!

After many false starts, Chris Dalzell has located the eight trees that tell the story of the Buddha’s life and teachings.   His partner, Pamela Evans, has offered to fund the boardwalk that leads from the circular road behind the Buddha statue, past the labyrinth, to the circular platform where the meditation pavilion will be built.   The trees will be planted around the perimeter of the Boma, enabling visitors to circumambulate them, each tree representing an important aspect of  Buddhist history and philosophy.

Read more ...

What the BRC is for: re-envisaging your life

We are sad to have taken our leave from Tessa Pretorius.  She has managed our finances for almost four years.  

It is in the nature of retreat centres like the BRC to have to live with staff changes.  Indeed, few people look upon a post at the Centre as more than an episode between other moves in their lives.

We are - sometimes grudgingly - happy to provide such a psychological interlude for people to re-assess where they have come from and where they need to go.  Many visitors and retreatants do the same.

Maybe that is what the BRC – and the Buddha’s teachings - are about.      

Read more ...

We are on CNN.com!

When we first started to promote the BRC in the early 1980’s, we relied on the goodwill of friendly bookshop and health food store owners to allow us to put posters in their windows in the hope of attracting interest in our programs.   

Things have changed since then.  Powerful proof of that came recently when we had a call from CNN.com to say that they wanted to feature the BRC on their website as one of the 10 finest meditation centres in the world!   Did we mind?

You may like to look it up yourself: The link is: 10 of the world's best meditation retreats

Dreaming a New World into Reality - Talk with Thanissara in Cape Town

In our fast changing times, where political, religious, and economic structures are failing to meet the need for a more equitable and caring world, new and radical approaches are called for. The challenges before us are unprecedented, both within our beloved country, and globally.

Read more ...

Sangha Projects News - Dec 2012

It really feels good to know that you are one of those for whom the BRC has become a major spiritual focus and to which you feel closely connected. It is vindication of a belief and a vision Louis had some 40  years ago when those three hills in Ixopo were first acquired for retreat purposes – long before there was anyone interested in the dhamma in South Africa – let alone in meditation practice!

Read more ...

Why does the Buddha smile?

louischrisiThe Buddha’s First Noble Truth promises that you will meet up with plenty of problems in life.

You’ll grow old and get sick – you won’t like that. You will lose things you love and be forced to deal with people you loathe. You won’t like that either. But we are an integral part of a universe that works that way, so whether we like it or not, surely it is wise not to deny or avoid this obvious fact but learn to engage it uncompromisingly, as it comes, with all its disappointments and hurts, beauty and loveliness, with compassion, joy and moral integrity.

Read more ...

Sangha Projects News - July 2012

It gives me a thrill to meet people at the Centre who have been coming regularly for the last 25 years or so. On average half the people attending our workshops are newcomers, the rest “old-timers".  We reckon that this is a healthy sign.  It shows that the Centre adapts to a society in transition. This explains the support it enjoys from those who value it as their spiritual home. 

Read more ...

BRC News

Wayward monks and misbehaving priests

You may have seen these headlines in the newspapers a while ago. The priests belonged to the Legion of Christ, which is centred in the Vatican. They had been up to the kind of tricks priests have been committing for centuries: sexually abusing seminarians and altar boys and fathering children with vulnerable women.  Nothing new there. There were major scandals in the USA and Ireland some years ago when it was revealed that this type of misconduct had been wide-spread for decades.

Read more ...

The Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World

25 July: This is a wonderful, BBC-produced documentary that takes one on a tour of the principal events and cultures associated with the event of Buddhism, showing the ancient monuments and present-day activities in Buddhist communities and monasteries in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, China and Japan. Commentaries by modern Buddhist scholars, such as Robert Thurman and Ernst Gombrich add depth to the film.

We will show this film at the 32nd Annual General Meeting of the Buddhist Institute of South Africa. Tea and snacks will be served.  Come and meet the members of your Committee and other friends of the BRC.

Read more ...