Zen Retreat: The Moon at the Window

About us

March 9 - 11 - The Moon at the Window: A Silent Retreat with Ryokan
The Zen hermit-monk Ryokan (1758-1831) remains one of Japan's favourite poets. An eccentric original (he is also known as the "Great Fool") his antics have endeared him to successive generations. After his initial Zen training Ryokan spent several years of wandering before settling in a mountain hermitage. However Ryokan was no world-hating recluse and was often to be found playing with village children or sharing a drink with farmers. According to one authority Ryokan's life "was a living sermon". In an atmosphere of contemplative silence this retreat will use Ryokan's life and his luminous poetry to reflect on our own relationship with the world and all the beings who inhabit it alongside us. Apart from a talk on Ryokan and a feedback session this retreat will be held in Noble Silence.

March 11 - 15 Playing a Lute with No String - A Practice Retreat (for those that would like to continue)
This will be a simple no-frills, "bare-bones" Zen-style retreat consisting of sitting and walking meditation including a morning and evening dharma reading as well as time to experience the beautiful surroundings of Dharmagiri while listening to emptiness and capturing the rare sound of a lute played with no string. Held in the supportive space of Noble Silence this retreat presents an ideal opportunity to extend and deepen your meditation practice.

Have no limits, the teaching has not limits, let your mind be limitless. Master Hua

Event Highlights

  • This silent, contemplative Zen retreat is held in:
  • The majesty of the Drakensberg Mountains.
  • The vicinity of Drakensberg Parks, home to wilderness & cave paintings
  • The lap of Mvuleni-Bamboo Mountain, place of rain, openings & sacred to Bushmen.
  • The context of simple vegetarian/ vegan food.
  • The simplicity of being here now.

Venue Highlights

Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat grew out of the influence of its co-founders Kittisaro & Thanissara, who trained in the Thai Forest Monastic School of Ajahn Chah, and who cultivated the atmosphere of Dharmagiri over several decades through hosting and teaching long in-depth retreats that generated a sacred stillness and blessing energy that suffuses the centre.
The core ethos of Dharmagiri is one of simplicity and environmental sensitivity within a fairly intimate space where the practice of authenticity, loving kindness, and care for one another is optimised. Its overarching context is the presence of Mvuleni-Bamboo Mountain and the South Africa-Lesotho Drakensberg escarpment.
Mvuleni (Zulu for "place of rain, or place of openings") Mountain is an ancient sacred site, where many moons ago the Bushman painted their depiction of the rain beast that lives within the mountain who their shamans captured and wrestled to ensure harmonious weather.
More recently, in the early 1900's, a Zulu elder, after a great vision on the mountain founded the Church of Light. Still to this day, disciples come from all over South Africa every few years, women dressed in red, and men with a red lapel ribbon, to climb the mountain for blessings.
Those who retreat at Dharmagiri have access to the powerful blessing presence of Mvuleni, and also the experience of the power of the elemental nature of the mountain weather, it's powerful thunder storms in summer, it's change of light, often magnificent sunsets, spread of bright stars, and feel of wilderness, while being comfortable and secure in one's lodging.

Amenities

  • Free Parking
  • Tour Assistance
  • Coffee/Tea

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free

Menu/Cuisine

We offer simple vegetarian and vegan meals. We can cater for gluten free and vegan.
In the mornings we offer African porridge, oats, muesli, fruit, nuts, toast, spreads.
Lunches are a range of veggie / vegan dishes with salads.
Supper is a soup, salads, breads, cheeses, spreads.
Tea, coffee, herb teas, biscuits are available all day at no extra charge.

Accommodations

At the moment we can house 12 retreatants (we are in the process of building permissions to add more single rooms.) There are 6 single ensuite rooms, that have a shower and bathroom facilities, a bed, writing desk, and wardrobe. The water is both solar heated and backed up by electricity.
There are also two twin rooms that share a bathroom and shower, and an ensuite twin room.
All linen, towels, and basic requisites are available, including hot water bottles for chilly winter nights.
The main meditation room has yoga mats, meditation shawls, benches, sitting mats and cushions available.
There is a well stocked library with audio Dharma talks.
There are also some books for sale.
While there is no spa on site, there is an up market spa and gym 15k's down the road at the Drakensberg Garden Hotel.

Directions

Our nearest airport is Durban.
You can reach Durban from Johannesburg, it's an hour's flight. (Check Kulula and Mango.co.za are domestic budget airlines.)
We have a shuttle service that is R1,500 ($130) per person, or if shared by one other, R750 ($65) each, or by two others, R500 ($45) each.
Greyhound buses are also available from all major cities, and many other smaller towns. You need to aim for Howick or Pietermartizburg. The are a very reasonable rate. For example - Johannesburg or Pretoria to Howick, our nearby larger town, is about $30 - $50.
A shuttle from Howick to Dharmagiri is available for about $30.
Post booking for a retreat, the office will help you with your travel arrangements.

Tags: buddhist meditation zen

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Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

To give my ego a break from all these construction projects. Layth
 

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.

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