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



Date: Nov 23 - 27, 2017
Title: Still Mountain, Flowing Water: Living Your True Nature
Teachers: Sietske Swildens & Chandasara

Are you tired at the end of a full year? And feeling the need for a break – a time of relaxing into just being, reconnecting with yourself, others, and nature, and reflecting on what it is you really want in life? Then we would like to invite you to join us in this retreat.

The retreat program aims to take you on a journey deep inside leading to relaxation, restoration, and renewal. No need to be or do anything special and free to experience whatever is present for you. We will use the theme of the seasons to explore processes of cyclical change in our lives: times of moving inwards into the silence and stillness where we learn to trust the unknown and find our inner compass there; and times of moving outwards into the flow of acting on our conscious intentions. We will explore these processes of change through meditation, mindfulness and exercises inside and outside where we connect with ourselves, each other, and nature, deepening awareness, healing, transformation and alignment with our deepest desires. The weekend will be held in silence apart from the times of sharing together as a group.


Chandasara
Chandasara - from South Africa, spent her early adult life in political exile in Europe and America where she was recruited into Okhela, an Oliver Tambo initiative to facilitate and expand white involvement in the ANC. Following this, she worked as a political analyst with the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg for 14 years. During this period she was also involved in an esoteric spiritual school. Wishing to deepen her meditation experience, she undertook a 6-week self-retreat guided by Kittisaro and Thanissara at the BRC in 1998. Having discovered the revelatory power of sustained and focused meditation, she decided to enter monastic life. Chandasara resided at Amaravati and Chithurst Buddhist monasteries from 2002 to 2010. She put down the robes in 2011. Since then she has resided at Emoyeni Retreat Centre in the Magaliesberg during which time she completed an Honours degree in Psychology. She moved to Dharmagiri in May 2015 where she offers supported self-retreats for individuals wishing to explore and engage more deeply with particular aspects of their life experience. Chandasara leads Underberg Meditation Group, and teaches mindfulness at Riverview Manor rehab centre and clinic.


Sietske
Sietske - as a psychologist and life coach, Sietske has been working for the last 10 years in her private practice in the Netherlands. She has been trained in integrative psychology, trauma healing, relationship therapy, nature coaching, mind body medicine, career coaching and energy work. She has given many workshops, retreats and coaching about trusting the heart, following the inner compass and finding purpose in life. With her fascination for life and her passion for nature, Sietske enjoys giving retreats that combine guiding people back to their true nature, and using the help of nature outside to reconnect with the wider web of life. Recently she moved to South Africa to live with her (South African) husband. She has a holistic approach and loves to make spirituality clear and practical.

Cost - Daily Rate+ Dana for teachers and managers
Date: December 6 - 10, 2017
Title: Communication: A Path to Understanding
Teachers: Bhikkhu Sukhacitto & Janet Surrey

The focus on this retreat is using the form of Insight Dialogue in a safe and supportive space to explore mindful conversation and inquiry so our deeper truth can be heard and received enabling authentic relationship, understanding, and healing.

Insight Dialogue is an interpersonal meditation practice. It brings the mindfulness and tranquillity of silent meditation directly into our experience with other people. As humans, we are relational beings; as we begin to wake up, clarity and freedom can illuminate our relationships with others and we can touch the release of suffering together. Insight Dialogue rests on the foundation of silent practice, and includes speaking and listening as part of our meditation practice.

This residential retreat, led by Buddhist monk Ajahn Sukhacitto and Janet Surrey, will introduce the meditation guidelines of Insight Dialogue and offer an opportunity to explore Insight Dialogue, alongside the origins of suffering as well as the potential of cultivating the factors of awakening together, including mindfulness, concentration, equanimity, loving kindness and compassion. We will investigate Speaking and Listening as meditative practices held and nourished by the deep foundation of silent practice. There will be periods of silent practice, alternating with meditation together in dyads, triads and small groups.


Bhikkhu Sukhacitto
Bhikkhu Sukhacitto - Bhikkhu Sukhacitto is an Insight Dialogue Teacher. He was born in Germany in 1963 and first came into contact with Buddhism in 1986 in Thailand by attending a meditation retreat, offered through Wat Suan Mokkh. He ordained there as a novice in 1989 and as a monk in 1990. He moved to the West in 1993. Since then he has lived at various monasteries in the West, including Dhammapala Monastery in Switzerland for six years and at Amaravati Monastery, UK for 4 years. On his first Insight Dialogue retreat in 2005, he was amazed by the powerful experience of meditating together with other people and subsequently joined many more Insight Dialogue retreats. In 2010 he began his teacher training with Gregory Kramer and other teachers. In his experience, interpersonal meditation is an extremely helpful aid for the development of wholesome qualities. It bridges the gap between traditional silent meditation and our everyday lives and relations with other people. Bhikkhu Sukhacitto sees Insight Dialogue as an important tool for liberation.


Janet Surrey
Janet Surrey - Janet Surrey, PhD is an Insight Dialogue Teacher. She teaches Insight Dialogue retreats worldwide and leads a monthly practice group in the Boston area. Jan has been a faculty member of Metta's Relational Insight Meditation Program and serves on Metta Programs' Teachers Council. Jan has studied with a number of Vipassana teachers for over 25 years, and has worked with Gregory Kramer since 2007. Her original teacher was Vimala Thakar, but Jan has also done many retreats with Thich Nhat Hanh and Joanna Macy. In 2008 she completed a two and a half year Community Dharma Leader training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Jan is a practicing clinical psychologist and founding scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She is on the faculty and board of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. Jan is dedicated to a lifelong exploration of the power of relationships to create suffering and the power of relationships to liberate and transform suffering. Jan lives in Newton, Massachusetts.

Cost
R2,200 - single ensuite
R2,000 - two bed, bathroom ensuite
R1,800 - two bed, shared bathroom
+ R350 Teacher Travel Contribution Surcharge + Dana for teachers and managers
Date: Dec 19 - 26, 2017
Title: Awakening for Our Times: The Path of Mindfulness, Insight, and Compassion
Teachers: Chandasara & Solwazi Johnson

At this special time of year we celebrate joy, peace, wisdom, and compassion as the essence of pure, loving presence and relationship. This retreat will draw from practices and teachings from the Buddhist tradition as well as ancient and contemporary teachings of awakening that enable us to let go of the strivings and entanglements that obscure these natural qualities of awareness in ourselves and others so that they may become more manifest in our lives and world. The retreat, held in contemplative silence with some interactive inquiry, will be a safe and supportive space in which we can relax the body, open the heart, and release the mind through guided meditations and exercises, dharma talks, qigong and personal check ins with the teachers.


Chandasara
Chandasara - from South Africa, spent her early adult life in political exile in Europe and America where she was recruited into Okhela, an Oliver Tambo initiative to facilitate and expand white involvement in the ANC. Following this, she worked as a political analyst with the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg for 14 years. During this period she was also involved in an esoteric spiritual school. Wishing to deepen her meditation experience, she undertook a 6-week self-retreat guided by Kittisaro and Thanissara at the BRC in 1998. Having discovered the revelatory power of sustained and focused meditation, she decided to enter monastic life. Chandasara resided at Amaravati and Chithurst Buddhist monasteries from 2002 to 2010. She put down the robes in 2011. Since then she has resided at Emoyeni Retreat Centre in the Magaliesberg during which time she completed an Honours degree in Psychology. She moved to Dharmagiri in May 2015 where she offers supported self-retreats for individuals wishing to explore and engage more deeply with particular aspects of their life experience. Chandasara leads Underberg Meditation Group, and teaches mindfulness at Riverview Manor rehab centre and clinic.


Solwazi
Solwazi - from the U.S.A. has been meditating for more than 18 years with a focus on Vipassana (Insight meditation) since 2003. He has studied in Thailand, Burma, India, and South Africa. He is certified as a Community Dharma Leader by Jack Kornfield and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Solwazi worked for over 20 years as health educator and trainer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. As a public health educator and consultant, Solwazi provides training to public health physicians, nurses, epidemiologists, and disease intervention specialists on prevention and intervention strategies related to STD, HIV, and emerging diseases. He also leads mindfulness meditation classes and retreats primarily in the Denver metropolitan area. Solwazi is also a trainer with the Intrinsic Resilience Training Institute, dedicated to teaching mindfulness and resilience skills to people in high stress occupations.

Cost - Daily Rate+ R750 Teacher Travel Contribution Surcharge + Dana for teachers and managers
Date: Dec 29, 2017 - Jan 2, 2018
Title: Reclaim Health and Well Being: Mindfulness and Regulation of the Nervous System
Teachers: Nobantu Mpotulo & Solwazi Johnson

The times we live in are so intense that the pressure of a world spinning out of control often activates patterns of trauma, psychological wounds, reactivity and stress. Caught in cycles of dysregulation, with our nervous system overly stimulated and negativity impacting our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, we land up turning to unhealthy and addictive habits to try and manage the overwhelm.

During this retreat, held in contemplative silence, we take the time to pause in a kind, safe, and supportive space so we can explore healing modalities through the practice of mindfulness, insight meditation, and inquiry. We will also delve deeply into a wide range of ancient and contemporary body-based self-regulation practices which support/enhance resilience and strengthens our ability to cope with stress, change and uncertainty. The retreat will enable us to engage our lives and the world around with increased clarity, compassion, joy and equanimity.


Nobantu
Nobantu - has been a Buddhist Practitioner for 17 years, she believes that through allowing and embracing uncertainties to run their course we develop a capacity to abide in the madness of this world. This helps her not to be too triggered and nor to be reactive. Her courage in facing the madness of this world comes from a quote by Victor Frankl 'Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom'. Nobantu completed a two year Community Dharma Leadership program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, U.S.A, and is accredited as a coach through International Coach Federation as a Professional Certified Coach. In the 90s Nobantu was a co-facilitator of the Truth and Reconciliation Workshops for both victims and perpetrators of violence in South Africa. She facilitates Leadership Development Workshops for UN Peace Keeping managers and leaders focusing on managing and leading with courage through the stressful situations, she also facilitates and leads self-care modules for USAID leaders based in challenging countries. Nobantu is a facilitator of peace circles. She uses Enneagram to help her clients integrate heart, head, intuition and their souls. She is an accredited Enneagram Teacher and Coach. Nobantu incorporates mindfulness in her everyday life, she uses this in mundane activities such as washing dishes and sweeping the floors. She also finds amazing benefits in integrating Mindfulness in leadership development.


Solwazi
Solwazi - from the U.S.A. has been meditating for more than 18 years with a focus on Vipassana (Insight meditation) since 2003. He has studied in Thailand, Burma, India, and South Africa. He is certified as a Community Dharma Leader by Jack Kornfield and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Solwazi worked for over 20 years as health educator and trainer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. As a public health educator and consultant, Solwazi provides training to public health physicians, nurses, epidemiologists, and disease intervention specialists on prevention and intervention strategies related to STD, HIV, and emerging diseases. He also leads mindfulness meditation classes and retreats primarily in the Denver metropolitan area. Solwazi is also a trainer with the Intrinsic Resilience Training Institute, dedicated to teaching mindfulness and resilience skills to people in high stress occupations.

Cost - Daily Rate+ R600 Teacher Travel Contribution Surcharge + Dana for teachers and managers
Date: Jan 5 - 7, 2018
Title: Being Our Own Best Friend: A Meditation Retreat
Teachers: Chandasara

This will be a silent meditation retreat focusing on the theme of our relationship with ourselves: what does 'being our own best friend' really mean? Can we be steady and at ease simply being who we are without needing to be particularly special or better or worse than anyone else? Can we similarly be at peace with others who are different to us without being critical and judgmental? We will explore these questions using insights from both psychology and the Buddha’s teachings on what keeps us trapped in cycles of negativity and how we can restore ourselves to a more natural state of ease and wellbeing. During the retreat there will be periods of sitting and walking meditation, morning and evening talks, and opportunities for dialogue and discussion.


Chandasara
Chandasara - from South Africa, spent her early adult life in political exile in Europe and America where she was recruited into Okhela, an Oliver Tambo initiative to facilitate and expand white involvement in the ANC. Following this, she worked as a political analyst with the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg for 14 years. During this period she was also involved in an esoteric spiritual school. Wishing to deepen her meditation experience, she undertook a 6-week self-retreat guided by Kittisaro and Thanissara at the BRC in 1998. Having discovered the revelatory power of sustained and focused meditation, she decided to enter monastic life. Chandasara resided at Amaravati and Chithurst Buddhist monasteries from 2002 to 2010. She put down the robes in 2011. Since then she has resided at Emoyeni Retreat Centre in the Magaliesberg during which time she completed an Honours degree in Psychology. She moved to Dharmagiri in May 2015 where she offers supported self-retreats for individuals wishing to explore and engage more deeply with particular aspects of their life experience. Chandasara leads Underberg Meditation Group, and teaches mindfulness at Riverview Manor rehab centre and clinic.


Cost - Daily Rate + Dana for teachers and managers
Date: Jan 19 - 21, 2018
Title: A Return to Wholeness: Ayurveda ~ Yoga ~ Meditation Retreat
Teachers: Helen Altman

Helen returns to Dharmagiri with a wonderful retreat focusing on Ayurveda - the knowledge of life - which is a 5000 year-old healing/health system from India that offers integrated, balanced living and preventative medicine. The wisdom of the teachings of the ancients that maintain health from deep within our systems, of which yoga and meditation is a part. There are simple ways that we can bring our doshas (elemental constitutions) back into balance through daily lifestyle practices. In this retreat we will explore the fundamental guiding principles of Ayurveda. The daily retreat rhythm includes an introduction to the fundamental principles of Ayurveda, guidelines for personal application, movement class combining Chi gung and simple gentle dynamic yoga (for all levels), walking meditation, guided visualisation, yoga nidra and breathing practices (pranayama). No previous experience needed.


Helen
Helen - is a Yoga teacher and Remedial Yoga Therapist living in the small village of McGregor in the Western Cape. The central thread of life, beginning at an early age, has been the exploration of the relationship between the body, heart, mind and spirit. Moving from a Classical ballet training to Contemporary dance and choreography, Laban movement analysis and a decade as movement lecturer at UCT drama department to the path of Yoga, yoga therapy and Buddhism. Her deep interest in psychology and mind/body therapies influence her work and interest in transformation and healing. She has established two Yoga centres in Hout Bay and McGregor and continues to teach private students, workshops and retreats. You can find out more about Stillness Sanctuary, and Helen's focus on Ayurveda.


Cost - Daily Rate+ R300 Teacher Travel Contribution Surcharge + Dana for teachers and managers
Date: March 30 - April 8, 2018
Title: Still Clear Water: Transformation through Mindfulness
Teachers: Chandasara & Nolitha Tsengiwe

The focus of this retreat is on experiencing transformation through mindfulness – releasing the grip of stress to rest in a still, clear, peaceful heart – in meditation and in daily life – using the Buddha's teachings as a guide. We will explore particularly the teachings on mindfulness, insight, and the four transcending states of being: compassion, loving-kindness, appreciation and equanimity.

This is a 9 day meditation retreat which will be held in noble silence with morning instruction and evening talks, periods of group sitting and walking meditation, some short meditative dialogue.


Nolitha Tsengiwe
Nolitha Tsengiwe - Nolitha, Catholic by upbringing, has always been, even as a child, 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. Nolitha is a mother of a 15 year old son, Singatha who is her teacher on how to be in the "here and now". She is a facilitator in Biodanza ( Dance ) which is food for both heart and body, and graduate of the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Centre CA USA.

Chandasara
Chandasara - - from South Africa, spent her early adult life in political exile in Europe and America where she was recruited into Okhela, an Oliver Tambo initiative to facilitate and expand white involvement in the ANC. Following this, she worked as a political analyst with the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg for 14 years. During this period she was also involved in an esoteric spiritual school. Wishing to deepen her meditation experience, she undertook a 6-week self-retreat guided by Kittisaro and Thanissara at the BRC in 1998. Having discovered the revelatory power of sustained and focused meditation, she decided to enter monastic life. Chandasara resided at Amaravati and Chithurst Buddhist monasteries from 2002 to 2010. She put down the robes in 2011. Since then she has resided at Emoyeni Retreat Centre in the Magaliesberg during which time she completed an Honours degree in Psychology. She moved to Dharmagiri in May 2015 where she offers supported self-retreats for individuals wishing to explore and engage more deeply with particular aspects of their life experience. Chandasara leads Underberg Meditation Group, and teaches mindfulness at Riverview Manor rehab centre and clinic.

Cost - Daily Rate+ R300 Teacher Travel Contribution Surcharge + Dana for teachers and managers

Longer retreats are usually suitable for more experienced practitioners. For beginners we recommend starting with a weekend. Unless otherwise stipulated guided retreats at Dharmagiri are held in silence which we ask retreatants to agree to and respect. During each retreat there are times for meeting individually with the teachers, group sharing circles and some discussion. Before applying to attend one of these guided retreats please check the criteria below.

Our longer 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