retreat schedule

PLEASE NOTE: All retreats begin at 5pm (supper), please aim to arrive after 2pm. Retreats finish after breakfast on the finish day.

Engaged Buddhist Practice for the Earth and for These Times

with Ani Tsondru
11 – 18 October 2019

A week dedicated to silent contemplation on Buddha’s wisdom teaching of interdependence, wilderness walks, and Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects.

Single R4150 / Shared R3450 / Low Income R2490 / R2070

The transformation of suffering is what Buddhism is all about. It means to create a personal life of peace and joy, as well as a life-sustaining world. For this, we need to harmonise our inner world with the outer world. But how do we do this, living in such perilous times? The Buddha taught that all things are inter-dependent. Understanding this brings liberation from suffering. The Work That Reconnects, based on the teachings of the Buddha, take us through four stages beyond despair and shut-down, to rediscover our connection, and they ignite our power to act. Through these practices the future becomes do-able.

Tsondru has practised with Joanna Macy in California, engaging with the Work that Reconnects, and teaches it in Cape Town and elsewhere. She dedicates her time to being of service to SAFCEI (SA Faith Communities Environment Institute); helping people reconnect with inner wilderness through leading contemplative “Wilderness Within” trails in the iMfolozi-Hluhlue wilderness area.

Doodling, Dreaming, Describing and Discovering a Meditative Approach to Drawing

with John Roome
25 – 28 October 2019

A Meditative Approach to Drawing

Single R2150 / Shared R1850 / Low Income R1290 / R1110

The retreat is open to both beginners and experienced drawers. I will introduce a number of different approaches to drawing ranging from playful doodling to careful observation. I believe that drawing is a skill that can be mastered by everyone. I also believe that the practice of drawing teaches us valuable lessons about ourselves, and our relationship to the world around us. It helps develop awareness, sensitivity, and a range of skills. Many of the lessons learnt through drawing can be applied to our daily lives, such as the ability to face challenges, learn from mistakes and find creative solutions to problems.

“My work is grounded in my experience of the world around me. I use drawing as a way of understanding, interpreting, and expressing my response to people, places, and things I come into contact with on a daily basis. Drawing provides a direct and immediate interface with the world. Drawing is not only a vehicle for recording the visual stimuli I encounter, but it is a way of processing and expressing my thoughts and emotions.”

To refrain from the unwholesome, to lift up and promote the wholesome, and to purify the heart, this is the teaching of all the buddhas.

– the buddha, exhortation of training

A Way Through the Woods

with tim wigley & anne keating
15 – 23 November 2019

“We are in a challenge so great, a revolution so profound, that everything has to be re-examined, overturned, and reconfigured, at quantum speed.” Thanissara

A Way Through the Woods

Single R5500 / Shared R4700 / Low Income R3300 / R2820

So, what are the ramifications of climate chaos for us and how do we respond to the urgent call of our times? Professor Jem Bendell asks us to consider that climate change could be understood as an unfolding tragedy rather than as a problem that can be fixed and made to go away. This retreat is designed to help us explore “a way through the woods” by reconnecting with the natural world. We need to look for a way through the woods using Bendell’s three key words – Resilience, Relinquishment and Restoration. And we will not forget Reconnection and Love.

Tim is a farmer, fieldworker, trainer and workshop facilitator helps people, often in the face of overwhelming social crises, to find ways to feed their families and live in healthy, life-giving ways. Tim’s passion is encouraging and inspiring people to grow their own food. Tim is inspired by the work of Joanna Macy, scholar of Buddhist thought and systems theory, and has received the Three Jewels and Five Mindfulness Precepts from Thich Nhat Hanh.

Anne Keating is married to Tim and together, over the last twenty years, they have been exploring ways to help people look more deeply at the current global crisis. Anne is a school teacher (English & Drama) and recently finished her first book (with a card set), Wild Voices: Messages from the Soul of Africa. Anne received the Three Jewels and Five Mindfulness Precepts from Thich Nhat Hanh at his centre Plum Village, and given the Dharma name Joyful Awakening.

Cost – Daily Rate + Dana for teachers and managers

Mindfulness & Calm Abiding

with Elizabeth gaywood
29 November – 2 December 2019

A retreat that those beginning meditation will find accessible.
Also those more experienced, and those wanting to reconnect with their practice. 

Single R2150 / Shared R1850 / Low Income R1290 / R1110

Happiness and contentment should be part of our daily life, but somehow these natural feelings elude us. Meditation has proved to be particularly helpful to balance emotions and find a new and more meaningful approach to living. This results in much happier and more contented people. The retreat essentially covers various mindfulness & calm abiding practices. Experiencing these methods will enable those attending to incorporate them into their daily-life activity, whilst at the same time creating space to allow the mind to settle and to become more peaceful and focused.

Elizabeth’s interest in Buddhism and in particular meditation has spanned some 40 years. She co-founded the Tibet Society of South Africa (TSSA). She has been involved with the visits of his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and other Tibetan teachers. She has conducted courses on “meditation for beginners” for a number of years and has completed training in Transformative Mindfulness Methods, which has accreditation from the University of Toronto, Canada. Elizabeth has been a strict vegetarian and now vegan.

Practice is to realise the difference between mind and the activity of mind.

– ajahn tate

Transformation through Mindfulness

with nolitha Tsengiwe & Sumedha
13 – 17 December 2019

Grounding in the Heart, Seeing More Clearly  

Single R2800 / Shared R2600 / Low Income R1680 / R1560

Through accepting what is happening within us, staying with experience and learning to see more clearly we can sense into, and connect with, a mind and heartfulness that is larger than our habits. We may taste into awake presence and start a voyage of discovery into who we are beyond our ideas. Grounding into our bodies through bringing presence to our breath, our flesh and bones, our elements, and different dimensions of our being, come into the shared embodied realm. We may find an aliveness, interconnectedness and sensitivity that is profoundly transformative.

Grounding into our hearts through listening into its natural qualities of depth kindness, joy, compassion and equanimity we discover the light we can bring in ourselves and in the world. Drawing on tools from the Buddha’s teaching in this retreat we will embark on this voyage together, in a shared context, as the inner journey of each of us also finding its own inner way. The retreat will be held in noble silence; there will be dharma teachings and Q & A sessions as well as one to one interviews offered, guided and silent meditations

Nolitha has always been curious about “what truth is.” Her search for answers led her to become a practicing Buddhist. She is a Psychologist in private practice and an Executive Coach. In both roles her primary task is to create a holding space for people who are also in search of truth as a doorway to freedom. She is a mother of a 19 year old son, and facilitator in Biodanza ( Dance ) and graduate of the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Centre CA USA. Nolitha is in a four year Buddhist teacher training program under Joseph Goldstein at Insight Meditation Society IMS in Barre, MA, USA.

Sumedha grew up on the wild beaches of the outer Hebrides in Scotland, which, as well as forging a certain hardiness in the face of adversity, enabled a faith in the healing power of nature, especially important for these challenging times. She studied comparative religion at Manchester University and went on to be a Buddhist nun in the Ajahn Chah Forest Tradition for 12 years. Sumedha trained in Christian icon painting and enjoys painting Tibetan thangkas. She was manager at Dharmagiri, with Noon, from 2010 for a year, after their time at Dharmagiri, they went on to co-create an Eco-retreat place called Ekuthuleni in the South of France, where they continue to teach while aspiring to a simplicity and questioning in life.

Celebrating our Deeper Being

with Sumedha and Milo Burn
20 – 27 December 2019

Inner listening, bodily knowing, interconnection

Single R4950 / Shared R4250 / Low Income R2970 / R2550

In this retreat we will touch into the deeper qualities of our being – inner listening, bodily knowing and interconnection – which can give us a different perspective on our habits, sense of who and how we are in the world. This exploration – as the Buddha pointed out – can be tinged with a gentle joy and growing trust. We are all invited to the dance.

We wish the forms of this retreat to support the opening of one’s being. Beginning in the early morning, the days will unfold with a rhythm of sitting, walking meditation and heartful awareness of all activities. Adhering to the five precepts and to noble silence, we can support an inner and outer refuge in which we can meet ourselves more deeply than daily life typically allows.

There will be daily meditation guidance, one to one interviews, Q & A opportunities and regular dharma talks. This, alongside the meditation practice and presence we each cultivate, will help us to authentically walk towards, explore and celebrate the deeper qualities of our being.

Sumedha grew up on the wild beaches of the outer Hebrides in Scotland, which, as well as forging a certain hardiness in the face of adversity, enabled a faith in the healing power of nature, especially important for these challenging times. She studied comparative religion at Manchester University and went on to be a Buddhist nun in the Ajahn Chah Forest Tradition for 12 years. Sumedha trained in Christian icon painting and enjoys painting Tibetan thangkas. She was manager at Dharmagiri, with Noon, from 2010 for a year, after their time at Dharmagiri, they went on to co-create an Eco-retreat place called Ekuthuleni in the South of France, where they continue to teach while aspiring to a simplicity and questioning in life.

I first encountered the dharma in 2007 through Zen and Insight teacher and founder of Insight Retreat Centre, Gil Fronsdal in California, and continued practice on long retreats in the Insight tradition at Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society and Forest Refuge, where Greg Scharf and Joseph Goldstein were particularly influential guides. With the stabilisation of mindful awareness the motivation to nourish dharma in community opened. This orientation led me to the San Francisco Zen Center and its mountain monastery, Tassajara, where I studied with disciples of Suzuki Roshi, in particular Reb Anderson, Leslie James, and Victoria Austin. I have also spent several years living a solitary life in a small cabin in the Pacific Northwest, where I more recently began an on-going project of hosting long, intensive meditation retreats. In 2016 Thanissara and I worked to bring the “Dharma Dome” into being at Standing Rock. My wish is to nourish the dharma in society and also at the level of the heart-mind. I look forward to our meetings together.

2020

New Year’s Weekend: 

Letting Go & Picking Up; Grounding & Remembering

with Sumedha, Milo Burn & Mbali Marias 
30 December – 2 January 2020

R2550 / Shared R2250 / Low Income R1020 / R900

This New Years’ Retreat promises to be a meaningful, beautiful & nourishing gathering. These days will be quiet with meditation, mindful communication, and also time in nature and contemplative ceremony. Held by the mountain we will acknowledge our burdens and release them. We will renew our agreements deeply immersed in our earth story and call in new beginnings with practices of renewal and ceremony that take us into the heart of indigenous African knowledge, where endings and new beginnings are recognised as inevitable ways of knowing.

Ending and Beginning are part of a sacred circle. There’s tenderness in endings and beginnings but also aliveness and creative potential. Through Buddhist practices and teachings we will explore qualities of heart and mind that allow us to wake up to our lives in the present moment and move forward with wisdom and compassion. Entering the New Year from Healing Presence.

PLEASE SEE Milo and Sumedha’s bio above, who are also teaching with Mbali.

Mbali is a medicine woman and diviner, and has been a healing arts practitioner for the last 30 years. Her work is rooted in the Dagara tradition from West Africa, which like the Bushmen she also works with, sees the seamless connection to the natural world. She is founder of Return To Origin an NPO in Cape Town that reconnects underserved youth to Nature. Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa she was raised and educated in London. During her 16 years living in the USA she has lead transformative retreats and devised traditional medicine programs for mainstream medical models. She is a trained HIV and AIDs Counselor, and has worked with the homeless in Oakland, she has also participated in relationship work with the men at San Quentin Prison, California. Her teachers and guides include the late Dr Angeles Arrien, Michael Meade, Malidoma Some and Baba Credo Mutwa. Mbali served on the diversity committee at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and has taught mindfulness in California schools. She is completing her training in family constellations with a focus on Land and Nature.
www.returntoorigin.org.za
www.ourdivinemedicine.com

Living a Higher Frequency

In Our Planetary Emergency

with Thanissara, sumedha and Milo Burn
5 – 12 January 2020

Ultimately you’re not a person, but a focal point through which the Universe is becoming conscious of itself. Eckhart Tolle

Single R5000 / Shared R4000 / Low Income R2000 / R1600

Can we change the old stories that haunt us, personally and collectively, that keep us locked in cycles of suffering, harm, fear and grief? The Buddha said, “Mind is the forerunner of all things.” What is this mind? Max Planck, father of Quantum Theory said, “All matter originates by virtue of a force, we must assume behind this force, the existence of a conscious, intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

At the heart of all evolutionary change there is a shift of consciousness. Within our planetary emergency, as we journey through shadow, loss, destruction, and dismemberment, there is an invitation. We are invited to co-create a new story. A story that can transmute old suffering and dysfunctional beliefs into the light of freedom, clarity, creativity, and love. We have the possibility of forging the more beautiful world already seeded within us. A world where, as said by Thich Nhat Hanh, we “awaken for the illusion of separation.”  

Join us as we draw from Dharma teachings, meditative practices, deep breath journeying, inquiry process, mantra practice, and explorations through art, writing and ceremony. Together, let’s focus 2020, a momentous year for planetary orientation, towards a more positive trajectory, generating a loving frequency that can resonant throughout the year.

Beside a daily schedule, this retreat includes mountain walks, guided meditations, mindfulness practices, individual consultation with the teachers, and a beautiful diet of nourishing, plant-based food.
PLEASE SEE Sumedha and Milo’s bio’s above, who are also teaching with Thanissara 

Thanissara spent 12 years as a Buddhist nun and founding member of Chithurst Monastery and Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in the UK. She has facilitated meditation retreats internationally the last 30 years and has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice. Thanissara has written several books, her most recent being Time To Stand Up, An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for our Earth, published by North Atlantic. She is recently co-founder, with Kittisaro, or Sacred Mountain Sangha U.S.
www.sacredmountainsangha.org 

Firm Centre, Open Heart

with Ajahn Sucitto
4 – 10 February 2020

Single R4,400 / Shared R3,800 / Low Income R2640 / R2280

In this retreat we will touch into the deeper qualities of our being – inner listening, bodily knowing and interconnection – which can give us a different perspective on our habits, sense of who and how we are in the world. This exploration – as the Buddha pointed out – can be tinged with a gentle joy and growing trust. We are all invited to the dance.

We wish the forms of this retreat to support the opening of one’s being. Beginning in the early morning, the days will unfold with a rhythm of sitting, walking meditation and heartful awareness of all activities. Adhering to the five precepts and to noble silence, we can support an inner and outer refuge in which we can meet ourselves more deeply than daily life typically allows.

There will be daily meditation guidance, one to one interviews, Q & A opportunities and regular dharma talks. This, alongside the meditation practice and presence we each cultivate, will help us to authentically walk towards, explore and celebrate the deeper qualities of our being.

Ajahn Sucitto is originally from London and has been a Theravada Buddhist monk since 1975. He is a co-founding member of Cittaviveka, Amaravati, and Hartridge Buddhist monasteries in the UK. Ajahn Sucitto’s main work has been teaching, writing, editing, and is known as one of the foremost Western meditation teachers in the West.

Being Dharma 

Month-Long, Silent Depth Meditation Retreat

with Kittisaro & Thanissara
14 february – 12 march 2020

The retreat synthesises Theravada and Mahayana, in particular drawing from Insight and Kuan Yin practices and teachings that highlight depth realisation and compassionate response. Throughout the retreat there will be an interweaving of Theravada and Mahayana streams that co-inform each other and present an integrated whole. The retreat is held in noble silence and includes meditation instruction, Dharma talks, Qi Gong, mantra and chanting practice, and has a strong emphasis on devotional and ceremonial practice. Participants are offered regular individual guidance from Kittisaro and Thanissara.

Attendance at the retreat requires previous experience of long silent retreats (minimum 10 days) primarily either Kittisaro and Thanissara or Insight teachers and a core familiarity with Theravada / Insight teachings and practices, and an openness to Zen and Pure Land, in particular informed from Chinese Mahayana.

To Apply & for Costing: Please write office.dharmagiri@gmail.com 

Kittisaro is a graduate of Princeton and Rhodes Scholar who ordained in Thailand with Ajahn Chah in 1976. He was a monk for 15 years, during that time helped found Chithurst Monastery and Devon Vihara in the UK, trained monks, was a prison Chaplain, and taught extensively. He has taught internationally for 35 years. He has studied and practiced Chan (Zen) and Pure Land for 35 years, informed by the Chinese school of Master Hua, and has completed two year long silent self-retreats.

Thanissara, from London, spent 12 years as a Buddhist nun and founding member of Chithurst Monastery and Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in the UK. She has facilitated meditation retreats internationally the last 30 years and has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice. Thanissara has written several books, her most recent being Time To Stand Up, An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for our Earth, published by North Atlantic.

Together, Kittisaro and Thanissara were guiding teachers at the Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo for 7 years. They went on to co-found Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat in 2000 in the Southern Drakensberg, and helped initiate and support a number of rural development projects in South Africa. They co-authored Listening to the Heart, A Contemplative Guide to Engaged Buddhism. Currently Kittisaro and Thanissara are based in the Bay Area, California. They are on the Spirit Rock Meditation Center CA Teacher Council, and are Core Teachers at Insight Meditation Society, MA. The co-founded Sacred Mountain Sangha (SMS) Non Profit in the US in 2017, which facilitates their two-year Dharmapala Training currently happening in the US. More recently SMS launched the Declare Climate Emergency Now initiative, geared for Dharma practitioners.

Awakening Our True Nature

Meeting Our Inner and Outer Wildness

with Mbali and Maia
June 16 – 23 2020

“The power of nature exists in its silence. Human words cannot encode the meaning because human language has access only to the shadow of meaning. Malidoma Patrice Soma, Of Water & Spirit.”

This retreat is a meeting with nature, into the wildness that exists within and outside of us. We will journey beyond the mask of social conditioning into authentic relationship with our inner wilderness, an entry point to our connection with the wondrous existence of this world. With Nature as our alter we will draw from the Dagara cosmology of West Africa which acknowledges the seamless link between humans, nature and community. We will ground our work together through transformative practices of silence, journeying, deep listening, ritual, sit spots, and creativity to foster a holding space for our inward journey. Following nature’s law of ever changing life, death and rebirth we rekindle our relationship with the mystery that surrounds us everyday.

Mbali is a medicine woman and diviner, and has been a healing arts practioner for the last 30 years. Her work is rooted in the Dagara tradition from West Africa, which like the Bushmen she also works with, sees the seamless connection to the natural world. She is founder of Return To Origin an NPO in Cape Town that reconnects underserved youth to Nature. Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa she was raised and educated in London. During her 16 years living in the USA she has lead transformative retreats and devised traditional medicine programs for mainstream medical models. She is a trained HIV and AIDs Counselor, and has worked with the homeless in Oakland, she has also participated in relationship work with the men at San Quentin Prison, California. Her teachers and guides include the late Dr Angeles Arrien, Michael Meade, Malidoma Some and Baba Credo Mutwa. Mbali served on the diversity committe at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and has taught mindfulness in California schools. She is completing her training in family constellations with a focus on Land and Nature.
www.returntoorigin.org.za
www.ourdivinemedicine.com

Maia is co-founder of lalela. a place of listening – a home, farm and retreat space in Magaliesburg – where she is a dream maker and guides their programmes. Her spiritual practice is as diverse as her identity, including meditation, writing, yoga, chanting and communing with her ancestors and nature. Her teachers include Mbali Marais, Thanissara and Kittisaro, and all the myriad beings and energies that she lives alongside. Maia has worked with people in a variety of ways and contexts, in schools, NGOs and on retreats, facilitating storytelling, self-expression and listening to bring about connection within ourselves and within our environment. Her aim is to create spaces of gentle holding and kindness where we can all just be ourselves.

Together, Kittisaro and Thanissara were guiding teachers at the Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo for 7 years. They went on to co-found Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat in 2000 in the Southern Drakensberg, and helped initiate and support a number of rural development projects in South Africa. They co-authored Listening to the Heart, A Contemplative Guide to Engaged Buddhism. Currently Kittisaro and Thanissara are based in the Bay Area, California. They are on the Spirit Rock Meditation Center CA Teacher Council, and are Core Teachers at Insight Meditation Society, MA. The co-founded Sacred Mountain Sangha (SMS) Non Profit in the US in 2017, which facilitates their two-year Dharmapala Training currently happening in the US. More recently SMS launched the Declare Climate Emergency Now initiative, geared for Dharma practitioners.

Save the Dates!

Baba Mandaza returns to Dharmagiri in April 2020

  • April 3 – 7: All welcome – Dharmagiri 20th anniversary ceremony on the 4th.
  • April 10 – 14 (Easter weekend): Primarily for families, youth in particular, camping available
  • April 17 – 21: For leaders, those in corporate, business, education etc. worlds

    Details, costs & bookings open soon.

Dharmagiri’s 20th Anniversary Day

April 4th, 2020:

Dharmagiri’s 20th anniversary day, preceded by a retreat, hosted by Kittisaro & Thanissara, 30th March – April 2nd, leading up to 4th April.

The retreat will be spacious, with a Kuan Yin ceremony, Dharma talks, Visioning and Healing for our Earth, sharing circles, and time to enjoy our collective company together. This retreat is offered on a dana (free will offering) basis. All welcome.

to lift up in the heart, that which is worthy of praise, this is the greatest blessing.

– the buddha

Our longer silent retreats are best suited for those who:

  • Have had some experience of meditation
  • Have psychological well being. Although the practice and context is a healing one, we are unable to offer rehabilitative or therapeutic care.
  • Are willing to enter into the communal life of the hermitage.
  • Are willing to engage in simple duties that enable the smooth daily running of the hermitage.
  • Are satisfied with simple, healthy food and accommodation
  • Are comfortable practicing in a Buddhist context. Respect for Buddhist precepts, (though not adherence to the Buddhist religion), is a requirement.

The 5 ethical Buddhist precepts:

  • To refrain from harming and the taking of life – to maintain respect for life.
  • To refrain from taking what is not offered – to practice generosity.
  • To refrain from misuse of the senses & sexuality – to practice renunciation.
  • To refrain from harmful, deceptive and harsh speech – to practice speech that promotes truth, accord and clarity.
  • To refrain from intoxicating drugs & alcohol – to respect the instrument of awakening which is consciousness