The Buddhist Retreat Centre
Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
For people of all religions
BRC Newsflash: September 2023
|Ajahn Sucitto inaugurating the Buddha Rupa almost four decades ago
|Buddha Rupa then
The Buddha formulated Four Truths he considered Noble. They are noble because they dignify human existence. They outline not only the average human condition, but also how to transcend it and make it magnificent.
The Buddha suggested that two qualities characterize human existence: an inablility to penetrate into the inner meaning of things and, arising from that, a tendency to grasp and cling to things that are superficially desirable. Both lead to suffering because we are not really in touch with things as they really are. We are looking at them from an extremely limited self-centred perspective, with ignorant eyes, assessing them only in terms of how we like or dislike them. This state of mind is self-reinforcing: it makes everything we experience into an ego project in which our opinions, demands, judgements and expectations dominate. It is a bind that is difficult to escape unless one makes a conscious attempt to escape it. Unless one does, one gets increasingly mired into a very contracted psychologial space and we tend to deal more with our inner world of desires, delusions and aversions than with what things truly are in and by themselves.
|Buddha Rupa now
|Image: S'bonelo Dlamini
It is therefore often difficult to really know the circumstances we are in because we are overwhelmed by our emotions and thoughts. It is then impossible for calmness and clarity to exist in our mind. This invariably leads to wrong perceptions and attitudes, to conflicts and disappointments. We will have created a state of suffering for ourselves. Bringing more enlightened solutions to our problems through our capacity for mindfulness and compassion - to bring moment by moment attention to the flow of mind without the habitual reactivity - will naturally open us into a space for a more discerning response.
The first two Noble Truths deal with these issues, the third Truth declares that it is possible to liberate ourselves from such unevolved mental states. The fourth Truth suggests ways of doing so.
With friendly greetings,
|Step into spring
|Images: Andrew Brown and Christelle van der Merwe
Step Into Spring
Think peace over pressure and serenity over stress. Enjoy some spring time at the BRC mid-week, with nourishing vegetarian meals, sunrise meditation and nature's healing embrace to colour the mood of your day. There is no better place than the BRC to rejuvenate the body and mind to guide you into presence and stillness.
A 10% discount applies for midweek bookings in August and September.
|Walk into stillness
|Image: Angela Buckland
There are still a few spaces left on the following August retreat:
Weekend | 25 - 27 August
People often yearn for an opportunity to recalibrate their lives and to spend some time in quiet reflection. . The BRC provides such a refuge. This weekend will be unstructured for you to do as much (or as little) reading, walking, meditating, relaxing and resting as you choose. Enjoy hiking and bird watching in 300 acres of beautiful rolling hills, savour our delicious vegetarian food, browse our well-stocked library, visit the stupa, the Zen garden, the labyrinth, the Buddha Boma and the Circle of Sound. Self retreating is an ideal opportunity to be in a gentle, sympathetic space where one can be still and get in touch with oneself. Nelson Alvares will lead guided walks and sunrise meditation and Venessa Muller will offer guided meditation.
Conducted Retreats September 2023
Vasintha Pather | Weekend | 1-3 September
Over this weekend, we will engage with the healing powers of story, creativity and embodiment to guide and restore our well-being.
Richard Ellis and Marc Kress | Weekend | 8-10 September
Marc Kress | 5 days | 10-15 September
Marc Kress and Kirsten-Mia Hickey | Weekend | 15-17 September
Dorian Haarhoff | Weekend | 22- 24 September
Dorian Haarhoff | 2 days | 24-26 September
Who is the who that Rumi alludes to? There is something deeply fictional about us human beings. We are the stories we tell about ourselves. Rediscover the lost art of story-telling. Experience the joy, presence, mindfulness and transformation that arrive when we engage with a tale, learn how to craft it and inhabit it. We begin to see our lives as a story, keeping pace with the rhythm of our hearts, balanced between the in and the out of our breathing. Be enchanted by Zen and other tales from many paths.
Lisa Firer | Weekend | 29 September-1 October
| Dew dropped flower
|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 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, signage for our forest paths - 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.
The email was sent to: