Sangha Projects: December 2019

andrew brown stupa sunrise

Generosity and Gratitude

In one of his teachings, the Buddha enumerated the most noble sentiments we should endeavour to develop in our life. The first and most important one 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.

Gratitude can be a powerful practice with a ‘positive uplifting of the heart’. 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 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 R24,000.00 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 helps 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.

Linda Barlow donated a new electric drill and drill bits. The new furniture in the studio and in the rooms was donated by Zelda Visser, and a beautiful tablecloth by Patricia Usher. Indigenous trees and seedlings were donated by Carlene Clarke and cycads by Jennifer Karlsson. Paul Dorian, Gavin de Kock and Ahmed Dangor continue to spoil the staff with gifts. Chris Dalzell and his team have done amazing work in conserving our grasslands and helping to eradicate the alien plants in our forests. The indigenous trees that Chris has donated and planted are flourishing and adding to our green Ixopo.

PUY and Sangha Friends’ contributions from Rodger Walters, Jack Schmitter, Chris Dalzell, Pam Evans and Rob Havemann have enabled us to complete the refurbishment of all the rooms and bathrooms in the Lodge, replace the beds in the Quarters' rooms and fix the leak in the pantry. Our appeal for the thatching of the studio roof yielded funds to help us to realise this project. Thank you to the many generous friends who came out in support.

We always appreciate the loads of gravel for our paths donated by Ixopo Readymix Concrete who are always ready to help the Ixopo community. Grateful thanks to Beena and Brendon Hatcher of BrilliantWeb for their technical support, Rob Pooley for keeping our bees happy, Tokozani Nene for his wise counsel and friendship and Steve McKean of Conservation Outcomes for his work on the ground in helping to preserve our Blue Swallows.

Resounding thanks must go to our dedicated Committee members - Pam Evans, Chris Dalzell, Rob Havemann, Alex De La Rouviere and Rosemary Turner for their friendship and commitment to ensure that the Centre continues to flourish.

Our dedicated BRC team - keepers and givers - Lien Duvenage, Rudene Gerber, Colin Kemery, Lambro Koutsoyiannis and June Atkinson - deserve a special mention. We thank them for their dedication and help in running the BRC so smoothly, and for offering chi kung, yoga, meditation and Dharma talks to our mid-week retreatants. Credit too must go to our talented cooks, Lindiwe Ngobo, Dudu Memela, and Lungi Mbona; to our maintenance expert, Mdu Zikodi and his team, and to Engakheni Mbanjwa and her team who oversee our accommodation. Without them, our teachers and supporters, the Centre would not be the flourishing entity it has been for forty years.

And finally, a huge thanks to Louis’ act of generosity and vision 50 years ago in building the BRC.

With Metta,