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 janedharmagiri@gmail.com 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. www.suecooper.co.za. Contact details: sue.stillmind@gmail.com and www.facebook.com/suecoopermeditation


Cost - Daily Rate+ R200 Teacher Travel Contribution Surcharge + 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.

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: The Ancient Practice of Awakening for Our Times:
Introducing and Development 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: Stop the Madness: 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: Easter Retreat: Silent Insight Meditation Retreat
Teachers: Chandasara & Nolitha Tsengiwe

Description coming soon.


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