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

Date: Sept 26 - Oct 1, 2017
Title: Open the Heart and Still the Mind: From Emptiness to Wholeness
Teachers: Sue Cooper

This 5-night retreat will be held in a contained and nurturing atmosphere of contemplative silence, and will explore the concepts of emptiness and not-self, which reveal the profoundly paradoxical nature of the Buddhist path of healing and transformation. Drawing on an understanding of the transient and insubstantial nature of our sensory experience, we will learn how to transform our addictive, limited notions of ourselves to experience greater wholeness and inner freedom.

Through embodied meditation practices which enable us to cultivate a calm and compassionate heart and mind, we will move beyond the fears which we usually associate with emptiness, to discover a peaceful abiding that arises when we embrace our experience in the silence with compassion, understanding and wisdom. The teachings of Kuan Yin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who Listens at Ease to the Cries of the World and represents the archetypal good-enough mother, will support our process of healing and transformation.

To enhance the integration of body, heart and mind, Sue will offer daily sessions of qigong movement meditation as well as short, individual sessions throughout this retreat. There will also be time for silent walks in the beautiful Mvoleni mountain range of the Southern Drakensberg, as well as for restorative rest, and delicious vegetarian and vegan food will be savoured in silence.

CPD accreditation for health, mental health and allied health professionals: 33 points: 27 general and 6 ethics have been applied for.

This 5-night retreat directly follows a 4-night retreat at the Buddhist Retreat Centre (an hour away), from 22nd-26th September, creating a 9-day retreat, and although it can be attended separately, the intention is to offer an opportunity to deepen your practice and understanding through a longer retreat experience. Transport from the BRC to Dharmagiri on the 26th Sept can be booked through at a cost of approximately R250, depending on numbers.

CPD accreditation for the full 9 days for health, mental health and allied health professionals: 66 points: 54 general and 12 ethics have been applied for.

Sue Cooper

Sue Cooper - Sue is a Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, working in private practice in Cape Town since the early 1990s. She has a long-standing interest in the interface between psychological and spiritual approaches to self-discovery and inner healing, and has attended Buddhist meditation retreats, mainly in the Theravada tradition, for over 30 years, both in South Africa and at Gaia House in the UK. Sue has been inspired by the teachings of Ajahn Chah of the Thai Forest Tradition, and is deeply grateful to her primary teachers: the late Godwin Samararatne, Kittisaro and Thanissara, Ajahn Sucitto and Stephen and Martine Batchelor.

Sue has a particular interest in exploring how our practice enables us to embrace our humanness, integrating love and loss in our lives, so that we can live and die with compassionate awareness.

Sue offers weekend and longer retreats throughout South Africa at Bodhi Khaya, Temenos and Mont Fleur in the W. Cape, Dharmagiri Insight Meditation Centre and The Buddhist Retreat Centre in KZN and Emoyeni Retreat Centre in the North West Province, as well as 6-8 week 'Open the Heart and Still the Mind' courses, on-going weekly groups and monthly half-day/day retreats in Cape Town. Contact details: and

Cost - Daily Rate + Dana for teachers and managers
Date: December 6 -10, 2017
Title: An Introduction to Insight Dialogue: Spiritual Friendship on the Noble Eightfold Path
Teachers: Bhikkhu Sukhacitto & Janet Surrey

This retreat will introduce the meditation guidelines of Insight Dialogue and offer an opportunity to explore the possibilities of a fully engaged co-meditation practice. We will explore the origins of suffering as well as the great potential of cultivating together the factors of awakening, 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.

The Buddha described spiritual friendship as the "whole of the holy life." In this retreat we will contemplate the qualities and power of our fundamental human relationality and investigate our capacity for cultivating spiritual friendship in the service of awakening together on the Noble Eightfold Path.

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.

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.

R2,200 - single ensuite
R2,000 - two bed, bathroom ensuite
R1,800 - two bed, shared bathroom
+ 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