The Buddhist Retreat Centre
Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
For people of all religions
BRC Newsflash: January 2022
|Image: Angela Buckland
"If Your Compassion Does Not Include Yourself, It Is Incomplete” - Jack Kornfield
“Every other Tuesday, our company starts the day with a heart sharing circle.
Not everyone comes, but those who do really open up.
We each share from the heart anything that wants to come up and the rest just listen fully. It feels so whole just to be heard.
This morning I was struck by a comment that someone made about gratitude: they said they were grateful for the things that they don't have, for things that didn't happen.
Often I can default to be focused on the things that I don't have. Need to buy more, become more, give more, either way it is more, more, more.
Then, at times I'm lucky enough to tune into the things I already have. I'm grateful for my partner, my work, clean air etc. But I rarely am grateful for the things that didn't happen.
The accident that didn't happen, the doctor diagnosis I didn't get, the drama that didn't come my way. Just getting a glimpse of all the things that didn't happen is intense. My mind can't hold it all to be honest.
But even seeing a glimpse of it makes me feel like I won a lottery and lands me right in the place where I am, just as I am.
Enough and content.” - Unknown
|Swaying in the mist with Fiona Brittian
|Image: Jason Ross
Sharing experiences with our fellow travellers tends to come at a time of the year when it is a tradition to do just that: to put your life experiences into a more profound perspective; to reminisce on the past year and re-envisage our lives going forward with purpose and clarity.
As we reflect on this past year at the BRC, we are overwhelmed with gratitude to all our teachers and retreatants who have supported us so generously and loyally. The BRC has stayed open because of your friendship and loving-kindness. Thank you!
We wish you and your families a happy festive season.
Louis, Chrisi and the BRC Team
|Re-envisage your path
|Image: Chantelle Flores
Now And Zen: Reboot, Recharge And Retreat
There is no better place than the BRC to rejuvenate the body and mind with nature, meditation and movement to guide you into presence and stillness.
All health protocols and Covid-19 regulations are in place - with social distancing, sanitizing and masks - for your safety and well-being.
|Restorative yoga with Phumla Shongwe
|Image: Kerry-Lee Jesson
Conducted Retreats January 2022
Time To Tune Into 2022: Gently Kickstart The New Year With Qigong, Hatha Yoga, Meditation And Healing Therapies
Deborah Don, Kugan Naidoo and Colin Kemery | Weekend | 7-9 January
It is difficult to make decisions about important issues in your life when you are immersed in them. You need some distance from them, physically and psychologically to see them clearly for what they are. Only then, can you gain a fresh perspective on them. So, if you feel you need a gentle, uncluttered space to tune into what lies ahead for you in 2022, this largely unstructured weekend will prove useful. Experience sunrise qigong, gentle hatha yoga sessions and meditation. Deborah Don, a qualified Self-Esteem Coach and massage therapist, will be offering healing therapies by appointment.
Jonathan Preboy and Anna Scharfenberg | Weekend | 14-16 January
Thoughts are about what is not happening - Paul Hedderman
Vipassana (Insight) meditation is based on mindfulness, which is always available, everywhere, without limit or cost. The challenge is how to realise it. The answer was provided by the Buddha. He taught ways to cultivate mindfulness that lead to insight and awakening. This retreat is an invitation for beginners and experienced meditators to practise Vipassana using the traditional Buddhist method of Ajahn Tong. For beginners it is a simple and direct technique to start meditating and for experienced meditators, it is a skilful method to deepen their insight. Mindfulness is developed by regular walking and sitting practice, by maintaining awareness during normal activities, such as eating, showering, dressing and supported by talks and daily interviews with a teacher. The weekend will be held in silence. Retreatants are welcome to join the subsequent 4-day meditation retreat.
Sustain awareness at every moment in every posture, whether standing, walking, sitting or lying down. This is the way to establish mindfulness in the heart - Ajahn Chah
Jonathan Preboy and Anna Scharfenberg | 4 days | 16-20 January
You may find that the cell is an ideal place to learn to know yourself, to search realistically and regularly the processes of your own mind and feelings ... it gives you the opportunity to look daily into your entire conduct to overcome the bad and develop whatever is good in you. Never forget that a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying - Nelson Mandela - Mandela The Authorised Biography by Anthony Sampson
Vipassana (Insight) meditation uses mindfulness to search for the mental and emotional patterns that cause suffering. The aim is not merely to overcome suffering but to learn how to wake up and be fully alive in the present moment. This four-day retreat is an opportunity to deepen meditation practice using the traditional Buddhist method of Ajahn Tong. Meditators are encouraged to stay for the entire course, but may also stay for a shorter time and beginners are welcome to learn how to start Vipassana meditation. The retreat will be held in silence.
What is looking is what you are looking for - St. Francis of Assisi
John Lockley and Nomusa Mthembu | 3 days | 21- 24 January 2022
Participants will experience a traditional South African healing ceremony over three days during which they will learn to connect to their Ancestors (bones), Dreams, 'Umoya' (spirit) and one another. 'Ubuntu’ means 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. It is a circle of interlinking relationships connecting the seen and unseen worlds. The ceremony will involve a plant cleanse, using medicinal plants to cleanse the spirit and open the heart. Included will be an in-depth discussion on 'African cosmology' and the understanding of ancestors, plant medicine and dreaming. Retreatants will learn one of the most ancieThis is a unique opportunity as there are very few places in South Africa today where people can learn from this mystical tradition. 'Ubuntu' in essence represents harmony and is similar to the Zen circle. Linking the past and present, it is an evolving state of co-operation and compassion whereby every human being is linked to their own families and communities as well as the unseen world of ancestors. John will be assisted by his colleague Makhosi Nomusa who is the resident Zulu Sangoma.
Dr Hu Jin-Yun | Weekend | 28-30 January
Explore this ancient Chinese practice that boosts one’s health and vitality. Participants will learn the key techniques of how to master qigong and incorporate it into their daily lives, effortlessly. These techniques are easy to learn, are useful and powerful. The healing power of qigong works on both the physical and spiritual level - if it is done correctly. These techniques include breathing, timing, warm ups, postures, movement and mind projection. Dr Hu will also introduce some Chinese medicine for detoxing, lowering cholesterol, decreasing body fat and relieving water retention.
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, meditate in garden of the Bamboo Grove.
| Deanne Fouche and her summer harvest
|Image: Lien Duvenage
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.
Recently, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife granted the BRC “Private Nature Reserve” for the conservation of the rare Blue Swallow and Mistbelt Grassland.
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 and sponsoring their trainers and consultants. The Woza Moya Crafters are local women who receive ongoing training and support to enable them to create these unique and charming best sellers.
Please continue to support the BRC 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.
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