The Buddhist Retreat Centre
Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
For people of all religions
BRC Newsflash: April 2021
|Image: Andrew Brown
10% Happier With Meditation
This new year brings so many new possibilities...
Yet with the turmoil around us, we may find our minds fraught with greater uncertainty, stress and anxiety.
Meditation can help us relax with our lives. It can also lead to insight. Dan Harris, author of the book “10% Happier” puts it quite simply: "Mindfulness is being aware of what is going on in your mind without getting carried away by it”. And one of the most profound returns is acceptance. Instead of looking for a better version of ourselves, through meditation we make friends with who we are already, moment by moment. And what could be better than that?
May you find some time today to simply be happy - even if for a brief moment.
|Colours of dawn
|Image: Andrew Brown
News From The Centre For Purposeful Living….
Many of us are drawn to Buddhist teachings because they offer deeply pragmatic ways of engaging with our present-day struggles: We find guidance in the contemplative practices; comfort in the beautiful rituals and a tangible method in the meditations. But, for those of us who are less metaphysically inclined, we run into difficulty with accepting concepts such as enlightenment as a sanctified state; realms that exist beyond our sensory perception; and concepts such as rebirth. The Centre for Purposeful Living aims to provide for a more secular interpretation of Buddhist teachings and practices. We see ourselves as part of a global movement towards the development of a secularized Buddhism, a “Nibbana for Everyone” as Buddhadasa Bhikkhu proposed.
The Latin root of the word secular is “saeculum”, meaning “this age”. Stephen Batchelor, who practised for many years as a Tibetan monk and for a few more years as a Zen monk in Korea, interprets what it means to be secular as concerning oneself with everything to do with this one life we are living - “this world, that is, everything that has to do with the quality of our personal, social and environmental experience of living on this planet.” There are many rich traditional Buddhist practices, such as aspects of Zen or the method of Vipassana, that seem more relevant than ever to our “saeculum”. However, there is a simultaneous risk that as the “mindfulness movement” continues to spread and becomes increasingly commercialised, it becomes divorced from the original Buddhist philosophy from which it was born. Practitioners like Jason Ross (the resident psychologist) are endeavouring to keep the practice of mindfulness embedded in the engaging philosophical tradition from which it originally arose and marry this with western thinking, such as existentialism philosophy and the practice of psychology.
The Centre for Purposeful Living is hoping to cultivate a community of people who are interested in exploring the Dharma in a way that affords us the courage to embrace this life in its totality.
We invite you to meditate, and share a light meal with us on the last Sunday of every month. Topics will vary.
|Image: Angela Buckland
Now And Zen: Reboot, Replenish, Recharge And Retreat In Ixopo
There is no better place to reboot and get in touch with nature than in the beautiful, tranquil spaces of the BRC.
All health protocols and Covid-19 regulations are in place - with social distancing, sanitizing and masks - for your safety and well-being.
| Buddha rupa
|Images: Angela Buckland
There are still a few spaces left on the following March retreats:
From Fear To Fundamental Well-Being
The Healing Art Of Reiki (Level 1), Yoga And Meditation: Heal The Body, Relax The Mind
Deepening The Healing Art Of Reiki: Reiki: (Levels 2 And 3), Yoga And Meditation
|Image: Andrew Brown
This symbol indicates that the retreat is held in Noble Silence throughout, except for periods of instruction, discussion or interviews.
Sue Cooper | 4 days | 1-5 April
Heike Sym | Weekend | 9-11 April
Elizabeth Gaywood | Weekend | 16-18 April
Hannelize Robinson | Weekend | 23 April-25 April
Marlene Neumann | Weekend | 30 April-02 May
People often yearn for an opportunity to recalibrate their lives and to spend some time in quiet reflection among like-minded people. The BRC provides such a refuge - where silence is a precious commodity. Treat yourself to a personal retreat where you can wake up to bird song, walk in the morning mist, rake the sand garden, listen to the wind chimes and meditate in the company of the mossy Buddha.
| Vegan coconut turmeric tart
|Image: Katherine Fillmore
A Vegan Venture: Cooking With Zen
A vegan cook book is in the making….
As a retreatant for many years and now a teacher of yoga, meditation and reiki at the BRC I have been blessed by its culinary delights. I was recently inspired to match them with an array of delicious vegan alternatives when my husband claimed he was becoming vegan a year and a half ago. I naturally followed with some trepidation thinking ‘ah I can never eat the cake the Buddha ate again’! But all is not lost - my friends Lynn Hinde and Michelle Fraser and I are collaborating with the BRC on a vegan cook book to compliment the Centre’s three recipe books and are joyfully putting together recipes to nourish and nurture you further. Veganism is trending as an alternative lifestyle and we are excited to bring you a more conscious way of eating. Those of you who have your own unique vegan recipes, please share them with us and make this a Sangha success.
If you would like to order our recipe books: The Cake The Buddha Ate, Plentiful and Quiet Food. We are able to courier the books to your door. Please email: .
|Image: Andrew Brown
About the BRC
Perched on a ridge at the head of a valley in the Umkomaas river system in KwaZulu-Natal, the Buddhist Retreat Centre looks out on a vista of indigenous valleys, forests and rolling hills receding like waves in the blue distance. Here, for thirty-nine years, people of all religions and none have come to experience peace and tranquillity. It is a gentle, sympathetic space where one can be still and get in touch with oneself and reflect on the things that crowd one's life.
The BRC was voted by CNN as one of the ten best meditation centres in the world.
CNN Travel awarded another feather in the BRC’s cap by voting it as one of the ten best spiritual centres in South Africa, recently.
The BRC was awarded Natural Heritage status in 1995 under the auspices of the Department of Environmental Affairs and received a certificate to that effect signed by President Nelson Mandela for turning an eroded farm into the natural paradise it has become - thousands of indigenous trees were planted by retreatants under the supervision of Mervyn Croft - with 160 species of birds, including the Blue Swallow, otter, deer, antbear and indigenous forests. The Centre was also given the special status of “Custodian of the Blue Swallow” for its work in preserving the breeding areas of this endangered bird.
The BRC facilitated the founding of Woza Moya, the community-based NGO, located in Ufafa Valley, twenty-one years ago, on the estate. Their vision is for all people in the community to be healthy and .productive, to live in a safe and clean environment, with good access to services and social justice. The Centre continues to support the organisation by showcasing their crafts in the shop. The Woza Moya Crafters are local women who receive ongoing training and support to enable them to create these unique and charming best sellers.
Recently, we installed a new borehole and pump - at enormous cost - when we ran out of water, despite the continuous summer rainfall. Please continue to support the BRC to get back on its Dharma feet by becoming a friend of the Buddhist Retreat Centre (a non-profit organisation) and find out more about the BRC's Paid-Up-Yogi and Sangha Friends’ projects.
We have been very touched by your appreciative letters, emails, support and friendship towards the BRC - your spiritual home from home.
Visit our website for further information, directions, image gallery etc.
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