The Buddhist Retreat Centre
Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
For people of all religions
BRC Newsflash: July 2023
|Sunlight in the meditation hall
|Image: Thalente Khomo
Saying Yes To Life
Over Wesak during the full moon of May - as the Buddha did two and a half thousand years ago - we reflected on the possibility of breaking through those veils of ignorance and unknowing and radically waking up to the immensity of our existence so that we can infuse this wonderment of our existence into our ordinary lives. In my 88th year, as I look back on my life, I feel somehow privileged to have occasionally glimpsed fractions of that wonderment which became my motivation to keep trying.
Wesak has always been a powerful and appropriate occasion available to all of us to nudge our minds to incline more towards enlightenment. But any retreat experience is an invitation to come into the freshness and wonderment of the present moment.
|Image: Nelson Alvares
Our June and July retreats are worth exploring as they all offer affirmation of life’s immense opportunities and a fresh perspective on how one can bring depth and meaning to our daily existence as we try to navigate the struggles and joys of life.
We spend our lives trapped in a cycle of stress and anxiety and it is often our personal struggles that bring us to a retreat setting, so taking time out to deliberately connect to our inner resources will help us navigate life’s challenges a little easier.
|Image: Thalente Khomo
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.
|A hike to Nalanda rocks
|Image: Nelson Alvares
There are still a few spaces left on the following June retreats:
indicates retreats held in Noble Silence
Come As You Are: Secular Buddhism, Existential Philosophy And Psychotherapy. Can Buddhism effectively treat the struggles we face in life?
Jason Ross | 5 days | 23-28 June
Richard Chippindal | Weekend | 30 June- 2 July
|Little Buddha at the Family Retreat
Conducted Retreats July 2023
Anisha Maharaj | 3 days | 4-7 July
Duncan Rice and Sharleen Lupke | Weekend | 7-9 July
Tsunma Tsondru | Weekend | 14-16 July
How to respond to these crises? Can we better understand the eco-anxiety of these times? How should we live in these times? Within a framing of Active Hope, the weekend will be spent in group and solo practices from The Work That Reconnects, moving through the spiral of gratefulness, grief, and transformation that will unlock your unexpected resilience and creative power. Hope is waking up to the beauty of life, on whose behalf we can act. As Joanna Macy always says: I am so grateful to be alive at this time of great upheaval, because we are made precisely for these times! Mostly we will practise in silence. As much as possible we will practise outdoors, in contact with nature. The retreat will be held in an atmosphere of silence and introspection.
Tsunma Tsondru | 5 days | 16-21 July
Brett Vallis and Nolwazi Bandezi | Weekend | 21-23 July
Tessa Pretorius | Weekend | 28-30 July
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.
| Candelabra aloes
|Image: Lisa de Venter
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 in the form of PUY and Monthly contributions, new beds and bases, office chairs and a desk, a new refrigerator, microwave oven, bathroom towels, indigenous trees and seedlings, books for our library, a generator, garden benches, pillows, towels and linen, geyser insulation blankets, clothing and Dana for our staff, an inverter and beautiful antique scrolls and Imari platters and ceramics, framed prints and Thankas, new tablecloths and serviettes - 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, to everyone who comes to the Centre - you keep us open and viable - and to our teachers who keep the Dharma wheels turning. 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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