The Buddhist Retreat Centre
Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
For people of all religions
BRC Newsflash: February 2023
|Image: Andrew Brown
‘Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention’
The book “Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention” by Johann Hari recently caught my attention. Hari suggests that it is the perfect storm of ‘cognitive degradation’ - I call it rather the pleasures of distraction and constant diversion - that pull one away from being centred and focussed.
Your attention is your life - your reality. Only by paying such attention, can you fully engage with what is front of you - screaming for your attention. If you are too locked up in your own neuroses and agitation, you drain away all that energy that could go into engaging what it confronting you with a clear mind. It is all about training our restless, chaotic mind to be more focussed, to see with clarity, to have more spaciousness for more purposeful living and to feel more connected.
|Cape Batis focussed
|Image: Andrew Brown
Twenty-five centuries ago before Mindfulness became a popular commodity in modern culture, the Buddha laid great emphasis on the need to fully engage and be present in any situation that requires you to interact with it, so whether you are simply eating a meal or shaking someone’s hand or doing complicated mathematics, it just requires paying attention in different degrees and intensity.
I began meditating more than five decades ago, with teachers from the Theravada, Zen and Tantra traditions. I may not have achieved any higher states of consciousness, but mindfulness and meditation practice were instrumental in helping me maintain a greater degree of equanimity in my daily life and in the workplace. I am happy to say I have had a ‘look in’ and gleaned enough to taste this exquisite capacity of the mind to overflow into something else other than one’s own story - and to find stillness and presence.
In early January, we were fortunate to have Anna Scharfenberg and Johnathan Preboy from Prague lead a 10-day Vipassana retreat on how to realise ever-present mindfulness. They will return next January, so this may be an opportunity for you to acquaint yourself with a powerful practice that can lead the wandering mind to calmer waters.
For 2023, let’s all be ambassadors for joy and kindness.
|Image: Kim Ward
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.
|Entrance to the Buddha Boma
|Image: Chantelle Flores
There are still a few spaces left on the following January retreats:
indicates retreats held in Noble Silence
John Lockley and Nomusa Mthembu | 3 days | 27-30 January
|Image: Lisa De Venter
Conducted Retreats February 2023
Carol Segal | Weekend | 3-5 February
Rajes Govender | 2 days | 5-7 February
Steve Davis | Weekend | 10 -12 February
Theresa Hardman | Weekend | 17-19 February
The Practice Of Embodiment Through Therapeutic Yin Yoga, Therapeutic Sound And Mindfulness Meditation
Despina Forbes | 5 days | 19-24 February
Corinna Botoulas and Duncan Rice | Weekend | 24 -26 February
Max Weier | 2 days | 28 February- 02 March
Max will be in situ from mid February to guide qigong sessions mid-week.
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.
| Labyrinth at night
|Image: Andrew Brown
|Image: Antony Lavoipierre
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 forty two 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-two 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.
We have been very touched by your appreciative letters, emails and friendship towards the BRC - your spiritual home from home.
We are deeply grateful for your generous gifts to the Centre this year: new beds and bases, office chairs and a desk, a new refrigerator, bathroom towels, indigenous trees and seedlings, books for our library, a generator, garden benches, clothing and Dana for our staff - and so much more. Thank you to all of you who continue to support our work in Ixopo with monthly and Paid Up Yogi contributions and donations, with gifts, or with skills and time. And, of course, everyone who comes to the Centre keeps us open and viable. We are deeply grateful for your generosity towards us; it encourages us to continue Louis’ beautiful vision and legacy for the future.
Please continue to support the BRC by becoming a friend of the Buddhist Retreat Centre (a registered non-profit organisation) and find out more about the BRC's Paid-Up-Yogi and Sangha Friends’ projects.
Visit our website for further information, directions, image gallery etc.
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