The Buddhist Retreat Centre
Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
For people of all religions
BRC Newsflash: December 2023
Thank you to all those caring and supportive friends who opened their hearts and extended a hand of friendship to help the Centre over these challenging few months.
Your kindness, generosity, messages of encouragement and gifts for our auction have meant the world to us, and confirmed that the BRC has a special place in your hearts and lives. We are eternally grateful to you all.
Please support our online auction; there are still some attractive items up for bidding, and some new listings have been added such as a week's stay in the three-bedded Royal Suite at the Peninsula Hotel in Cape Town.
Click here to browse the catalogue and place a bid.
|Image: Andrew Brown
As enshrined in the Buddhist tradition from the earliest of times, the continued existence of the Dharma is dependent on the goodwill of its Sangha. Our Sangha has followed in that wake with your Noble Giving.
The BRC can only flourish with your friendship, so please consider:
Nowadays, no-one is able to feel on top of the world all the time. Emotional ebbs and flows are normal and come with being human in this crazy world.
We can take comfort in some of the life-learning gems from Maria Popova from "The Marginalian" and try to apply them in our own lives to find moments of sanity and of happiness.
Let nature and the tranquility of the BRC be your sanctuary over the festive season. Take time out to slow down into the moment to find inner peace after the challenging year we have all had. As someone once remarked: "I went to the retreat in search of stillness, but the true gift was discovering that it has been inside me all along."
Spending Christmas at the BRC is a great alternative to the frenetic commercialised Christmas that masquerades as the real thing in the cities . At its deepest level Chrisrmas celebrates the embodiment of spirituality. It crosses boundaries between the various religions and reminds us of the need to adopt a spiritual path and to integrate its teachings in our daily life.
Spending new year at the retreat is a good time to take stock and contemplate our moment to moment, here-now reality in all its fullness, as we bid farewell to 2023 and welcome the new year with a renewed willingness to make whatever comes along workable.
|Quiet mountain, clear sky
|Image: Peter Kloppers
There are still a few spaces left on the following November retreats:
Paul Dorrian | Weekend | 17-19 November
Open The Heart And Still The Mind: Mist Rising, Dew Falling – Embracing Impermanence With Courage, Compassion And Joy
Teacher: Sue Cooper | 2 or 5 days | 24-26 November and 24-29 November ( 2 and 5 day options)
This retreat will be held in ennobling silence. Drawing on the beauty of nature, we will explore living with change and uncertainty as we embrace the truth of impermanence with courage, compassion and joy. We will discover that we can embrace impermanence with less fear and more appreciative joy (sukkha), inspired by the qualities of heart and mind found in the Brahma Viharas (the 4 divine abodes) of loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), appreciative joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha).
This retreat includes guided sitting and walking meditations, short individual sessions with Sue and daily sessions of qigong movement meditation to enhance the integration of body, heart and mind. Additional optional mindful movement and massages will be offered - details to be confirmed nearer the time.
Please note: There is a teacher's fee for this retreat, which is offered on a sliding scale, with reductions and payment plans on request. Please contact Sue on .
CPD accreditation for psychologists and other HPCSA registered professionals: Confirmed with an admin fee.
|When beauty happens accidentally
|Image: Angela Shaw
Conducted Retreats December 2023
Mervyn Croft | Weekend | 1-3 December
Charisse Louw | Weekend | 8-10 December
We will play with the energy we are - exploring qigong, tapping, yin yoga, free dance, sunning, breath work, shaking, and meditation techniques, while exploring creative expression through movement and stillness, the written word and art. This is an invitation to heal in Nature through mindfulness and co-creation. Everyone is welcomed to a compassionate and open-hearted space for remembering who we are.
Ingrid Adams and Lungelo Ncebo | 4 days | 11-15 December
Bruce van Dongen | Weekend | 15-17 December
Tsunma Tsondru | 4 days | 22-26 December
Christmas is a time of the giving of gifts. All birthdays are honoured with gift-giving. Usually these gifts are of ‘things’. Yet the very best gift we can give is not anything tangible or material. It is to definitively take away the suffering of oneself, and of others. And this, after all, is the reason why we give material gifts in the first place. It’s also the reason why we do the myriad things we do in our lives. It’s because we are constantly in pursuit of this (seemingly unattainable) state of being: peace, happiness, contentment, an absence of ‘niggle’. The unlimited and ultimate gift would be to be happy without end, at peace without end, to give happiness and peace to all, without end. The Four Immeasurable Gifts are the ultimate gift. They are boundless equanimity, loving kindness, compassion, and joy.
The retreat will be held in an atmosphere of introspection and silence.
Tsunma Tsondru | 4 days | 29 December- 2 January 2024
New Year is a good time of the year to take stock and contemplate our moment-to-moment, here-and-now reality in all its fullness. It’s a traditional time for clarifying our motivations, and for starting afresh with new intentions. Give yourself the gift of time over this New Year period to collect the Three Wise Medicines of gratitude, ahimsa and contentment, to reflect on the past year, and uncover how you can best live your life in the coming year. During this time together we will let our body, speech and mind fall silent through the practice of meditation and silence. There will also be time for writing and contemplation, walking and ceremony especially outside in nature. We will welcome the New Year with a lantern-lit ceremony in the Zendo, chanting, ringing out the old year with an ancient Chinese temple gong. The retreat will be held in an atmosphere of silence and introspection.
Think peace over pressure and serenity over stress. Enjoy some 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 traditional tea ceremony
|Image: Chrsi van Loon
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.
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