Wesak 2020



pink seeding grasses
on the road to Ixopo
- another autumn

Late on a May afternoon driving the twisting R56 as it ascends the southern side of the Umkomaas valley the sinking sun backlights the autumn grasses growing by the roadside rendering their seed heads blush-pink. It’s a familiar sight at this time of the year for those on their way to the Buddhist Retreat Centre to attend the annual Wesak retreat held under the full moon of May (or the closest weekend thereto) to commemorate and celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, ‘the awakened one’, 2500 years ago.

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Ven. Robina Courtin in KZN


"Happiness is really simple: it's what you get when you give up attachment and the other neuroses.”

Australian ex-political activist and feminist, Robina Courtin, has been a Buddhist nun since 1978. Teaching Buddhism around the world, Robina shatters the stereotype of a Buddhist nun, her intense and direct style leaving an indelible impression on everyone she meets.

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Visitors from Tibet

Hevajra MandalaGeshe Lobsang, Dhondup Geshe, Konchuk Dhondup, Geshe Tenzin Gelek, Geshe Samdup Gyatso

Ms. Tenzin Lhanzey – Traditional Tibetan Doctor, Ms. Tenzin Lhamo – Astro-Science Practitioner

Sand Mandala Events and Talks

Durban sand mandala event will take place from Monday 15 – Sunday 21st October at the Denis Hurley Centre, 2 Cathedral Road, in Durban.

Image credit: Photo by: Wonderlane | Source: Flickr


How To Safeguard Our True Happiness

brcixopo l de venter 520

The philosopher, Epicurus, was a refreshingly wise voice in third century Greece. Refreshing, because he steered away from ponderous philosophical debate - wise, because he placed our rumination about the meaning of life where it really matters: how to live as fulfilled and happy a life as possible before we die. That did not mean that you simply followed your desires and ignored the welfare of others. Because such hedonism, he said, inevitably leads to unhappiness - for others as well as yourself - because our own happiness is inevitably interdependent with that of others'. The Buddha stressed this sentiment three centuries before Epicurus. Jesus, too, had the same message three centuries after Epicurus: "Do unto others...", he said. So, when we sit on our black cushions in the Meditation Hall, we are in excellent company.

In rural Greece you will come across elderly men sitting on park benches in the dappled shade of trees, within a short stroll of the local taverna. They talk idly about their past - stories their companions have heard many times before. They shake their heads occasionally and think of other things - or nothing at all. The stories just waft away in the warm Mediterranean breeze. The talking only halts when a pretty woman passes by - and resumes when she is out of sight.

This is what Epicurus said about the joys of growing old and, hopefully, wise: (Note to the politically correct: please don't be offended by Epicurus' male gender reference...I am sure he meant his sentiments to apply equally well to females - 18 centuries later....)

It is not the young man

Who should be considered fortunate

But the old man who has lived well

Because the young man in his prime

Wanders by chance, vacillating in his beliefs

Whilst the old man has docked in the harbour

Having safeguarded his true happiness

Do we have to wait until we are old to sit on a park bench before we can indulge in such ruminations? How about sitting on a black cushion in the Zendo and finding out what the Buddha had to say about giving our mind some space, stillness and calmness, finding our safe harbour from which to sail forth into the rest of our life? Our forthcoming program offers an array of choices to do that.


Live kindly.


Meet the Dalai Lama on the "Road To Peace"

Experience the character and wisdom of the Dalai Lama and discover why he inspires millions of people of all creeds to live more meaningful lives in harmony with each other and the planet. Filmed during a rare visit to the UK, this fly-on- the-wall documentary follows the Dalai Lama as he shares his spiritual and humanitarian message with the West.

We will show this film at The 35th Annual General Meeting of the Buddhist Institute of South Africa.

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Another Accident of Beauty in Cape Town !

Anthony Shapiro and Louis van Loon have been asked to conduct another workshop on

Japanese Brush Painting and Raku Pottery
3 days: May 23 - 25 2014 

For a detailed retreat description, please read the write-up in this program for the retreat they are conducting at the BRC from December 18 - 22  2013. For more details and bookings, contact Erika

021 786 5621/084 604 9931

Limited space available!