Growing to Wholeness: Bringing Meditation Home with Tibetan Teacher, Tsunma Tsondru

About us

I came to realize that the mind is nothing but the sun and the moon and countless stars. - Dogen

Can we also realize Dogen's insight? How can we know that the sun and moon and stars are within, that the wilderness is within, that we are the whole of it? The Buddha meditated until he understood the Truth, and at that moment of freedom, he touched the Earth. At the moment of enlightenment he did not check out of life. He checked in. He had gone away, only to come home. The Buddha shows us that meditation brings freedom, and is a way back home. But what is meditation exactly? And is it a separate compartment of life? How do we check into life when often enough what we most want to do is to run away from it?

This retreat will take a look at all these questions as we find our way back home. Along with more formal meditation instruction and practice, the retreat will blend contemplative walking in the magnificent foothill of the Drakensberg with experiential practices from Joanna Macy's "The Work That Reconnects." Using all these skilful means we'll explore the meeting place of the outer and inner worlds to uncover our connection with ourselves, all beings, the sun and moon and the stars. We will check in to Life.

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

Event Highlights

  • This retreat offers a focus on:
  • Meditation for present moment awakening
  • Exploration of freedom
  • Contemplative walking in the Drakensberg Mountains
  • Joanna Macy's "The Work that Reconnects"

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.


  • Free Parking
  • Tour Assistance
  • Coffee/Tea


Our retreats days include:
Early morning meditation
A simple chore after breakfast
A session from about 9 am to lunch
Lunch at 12.30 pm
A rest after lunch.
Afternoon session from about 3 - 5.30 pm
Supper about 6 pm
Evening session from about 7 - 8.30 or 9 pm.

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free


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.


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.


Our nearest airport is Durban.
You can reach Durban from Johannesburg, it's an hour's flight. (Check Kulula and 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 enlightenment joanna macy mountain walks tibetan meditation work that reconnects

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Growing to Wholeness: Bringing Meditation Home with Tibetan Teacher, Tsunma Tsondru
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Growing to Wholeness: Bringing Meditation Home with Tibetan Teacher, Tsunma Tsondru

at Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat

  • May 23, 2018 - May 27, 2018 (5 days)


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Why Retreat?

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

It would my first vacation in the mountains. I think getting away and beginning a new routine would be good for me and a friend. Dianne

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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