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Tributes from Friends

Kogie and Archie
14.01.2021
Dear Chrisi and ALL of the BRC Family

I once again would like to thank you most abundantly for my stay at the BRC. It's a place second to none and just does so much for the soul.

A special thank you from Archie. Thanks for being so accommodating and for all those wholesome meals.

Please stay blessed always.

Love and light
Kogie and Archie
Franchesca Balladon
01.01.2021
It is said to be magical
But that description ignores the human and very real work and effort that went into, and continues to make the BRC what it is.

It was a person - not a sprite or a djinn - who had an idea, a vision and a plan to create a refuge for those in pain, lost, or those knowing the necessity to maintain contact with the spiritual self.

A plot of beautiful land on the edge of a green Ixopo hill giving onto a valley of more hills; trees, shrubs, foliage and flowers which in their green-ness, their extravagant abundance, create a protective armour that gives one the indisputable knowledge that one is supported, protected, nurtured whoever and whatever we may be.

That person with vision constructed spaces, round or symmetrical, all harmonious with rich wooden parquet, as in the meditation hall, balanced with 3x3 4x4 dimensions as in the dining hall, opening over and onto nature as in the chalets hanging over the void of the valley.

That person also conceived of and put into practice a way of being in the world, in that microcosm of a world, that was safe, nurturing, supportive, without caveats. The Buddhist philosophy, yes, reaching far back in time, and yet so right for our times. Eternal, universal.

The beauty of Nature has been harnessed, contracted with, so as to be brought into our, the retreat-ants daily and every need. Nature’s beauty and bounty, in its minutest manifestations have made the experience of being there even more spiritual, more profound. Epicurean. Flowers from the garden, simple, modest, beautiful because of that simplicity, are on the tables in the dining hall, in the studio, in the meditation hall, in rooms, in bird baths and even in the most lowly of places, the restrooms. The warm light of candles, with all its symbolism, along with the flowers and the soft, perfumed soaps and lotions in their elegant containers, transport one into the spiritual realm that is beauty: natural, mystical or created by persons.

And the meals! Food, so basic a need but also such a sensuous pleasure, is from the Centre’s vast vegetable garden, prepared with imagination and care, presented in simple Zen inspired bowls; the soup and the porridge from the huge metal pots of farm kitchens - such an inspired decision - beauty lies also in the most utilitarian of vessels. The pot along with the somewhat ungainly dining room chairs, makes each and everyone, whatever their home backgrounds, feel “at home” and the authenticity of the Centre is confirmed.

With all this, the people who work and live at the Centre, quietly welcoming, respectful to each other, to the surroundings and to us guests, reinforce the sense that we are each a member of a large family, supported and nurtured.

Thank you Louis, Chrisi, Lien, Mdu, Ngakheni, Pauline, Colin, Chris and Lungi

Franchesca Balladon
Kelly Harvey
01.01.2021
Where do I begin?
I have been receiving newsletters from the BRC for over a year and have been wanting to go but it’s “never been the right time” ; always “something going on.” Until I received an email about Shibuie: When Beauty Happens Accidentally : Seeing with deep seeing eyes. - Sumie and Raku: Japanese brush painting and pottery retreat. That was it for me, I was in; this retreat was made for me and it called me. I was literally looking for this. I have a deep love for everything Japanese, and now I got to learn the basics from Ingrid Adams, a very patient, encouraging and passionate teacher.

When she was demonstrating she made it look so easy. Granted, I wasn’t great at painting flowers and I wasn’t too bad at bamboo. It was a great learning experience about myself as I’m a perfectionist, but strangely enough an abstract artist. It was great to reflect on this.

Meditation with Jason made me realise that I can reflect on all these aspects of myself with love, kindness and compassion towards myself. He and his wife Fiona offered a lot of insight into my curiosity about meditation, Buddhism and spirituality which really enriched the experience for me.

I was introduced to qigong by Colin in the morning which was calming and centering.

Then came the Raku - something I’ve never done and had no idea what to expect or what it even was; I did zero research on it before I came. It was a most joyful, thrilling experience! I have every piece - created, decorated and scorched - proudly on display in my home on my shelf of gratitude among things that make me smile. One hundred percent of this experience and the joy came from Nina and Jesse’s team work.

The meals were honestly the most tasty, healthy, enriching food I’ve ever had. I’m regretting not buying the recipes books. Thank you to Lien and the lovely, friendly kitchen staff and chefs who always have a smile on their faces and run a tight, organised ship.

My first guided walk with Chris was awesome! He is so enthusiastic.

Pauline thank you for being kind and helpful. Chrisi, thank you so much for making me feel seen.

Oscar, always positive and helpful brings such a great energy to the centre. He is so friendly and really makes people feel comfortable, and of course, Lucky, his beautiful dog, is the most well behaved dog I’ve ever come across and she really brings character to the Centre. I loved having her in meditation sessions. ️

The gardens, location, trees, flowers, labyrinth, zen garden, hiking trails, the dam, the stupa, the amazing Buddha statue, just everything! The BRC is the most peaceful and beautiful place, it truly is, and it transported me into a world of tranquillity with silence in the evening to the morning.

I cannot wait to return.

Kelly Harvey
Claire Marie Tolmay
03.04.2018
I spent a four day silent retreat here over this Easter weekend. What a truly liberating and calming experience. I will keep the teachings from this experience in my memory for the rest of my life. The beauty and serenity of the centre is profound and the sounds and scenes of nature just allow one to fully accept the learnings that one has in the silence. The staff and teachers are exceptional. Thank you.
Natália Marques Leal
12.03.2018
Three weeks as a 'self-retreatant' with some amazing weekend workshops in the mix... What a bliss! :)
Thank you to all the wonderful staff (and teachers) who have made this a key memory for my entire life. For those who have never been here, the BRC is a must.
Bronwyn Foulis Tanner
26.02.2018
It is the best place in the WHOLE world. I highly recommend it.
Belinda Brodie-Gower
26.02.2018
This is going to be wonderful.
Nicolene and Gerhard Vermeulen
26.12.2017
Magical. So blessed to be able to come here. Heaven
Desray Eddey
06.11.2017
We have just spent an unforgettable weekend self retreat at the BRC. Nobody leaves this extraordinary place feeling less than loved, lit up from the inside, peaceful, relaxed, energised, positive and joyful. Thank you Louis, Chrisi, Lien, Reuben, Colin, Jenny and all the happy staff for making our stay so awesome! Love, Gary & Desray xxx
Mari Pete
07.10.2017
For over 20 years of my visits the retreat has cradled me, whichever mood I am in. The home baked bread and honey remain a comfort in a kitchen that brings my grandmother's memories to life. (At home I cook from the coffee table quality BRC cook books.) The coming together of Nature, Art, Science and Spirit at this place where Alan Paton's hills unfold, makes it a place where folks from all faiths, and none, are welcome. Spirit is spacious here.
Natalie Jayne Gossman
31.07.2017
A world class, beautiful, special place with special people. Thanks Tessa for passing on your wisdom ... and to all the others in the group for sharing theirs. I left revived, renewed and relaxed. Thank you! I will be back!!!
Nishara Singh
16.01.2017
Breath taking beautiful place of silence, serenity and majestic scenery of the mist covered valley. The staff were friendly and receptive. Delicious hearty meals, perfect for vegetarians. Absolutely awesome, life altering experience, I would certainly visit again and again
Catherine Klopper
16.08.2016
Thank you for giving us a space to reflect in peace and tranquillity. As always the food was delicious and nourished body and spirit! The gardens, although not as green in winter, still share beautiful and surprising explosions of colour and so are just as wonderful. The morning mist cast a gentle blanket over everything and added to the peace around us. It was exactly what we needed at a difficult time. Thanks to Ray, Sue and Allen especially for our "comfort of strangers" conversation
Hayley Frank
04.01.2015
I am in awe of such a gracious outstanding beautiful centre in the southern part of Africa. Professionally run with utmost love at all times