Being Dharma

About us

The retreat will emphasize Theravada teachings and practices, especially those of the Thai Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah, alongside the teachings of Master Hsuan Hua from the Chinese Mahayana Tradition. Throughout the retreat there will be an interweaving of Theravada and Mahayana streams that co-inform each other and present an integrated whole. The practice will focus on cultivating embodied samadhi – calming and unifying the mind/heart/body energies, wisdom practices – vipassana – and an exploration of the relationship between calm and insight as foundations for realization of the deathless Dharma.
The Mahayana focus, supported by the foundation in Theravada, explores the Bodhisattva Way through the cultivation of the Kuan Yin dharmas, the archetype of compassionate wisdom in Mahayana, known as the "One Who Listens to the Sounds of the World at Ease." The Bodhisattva heart balances the "letting go" practices of Theravada with "picking up" a skillful and compassionate relationship to the world. The retreat is held in silence, and includes meditation instruction, Dharma talks, Qi Gong, a devotional and ceremonial practice. Each participant will have meet with Kittisaro and Thanissara teacher for individual guidance.

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

Event Highlights

  • This retreat offers a very special opportunity to work with the founders of Dharmagiri who as international, leading Insight meditation teachers Kittisaro and Thanissara bring four decades of meditative practice and teaching to their work.

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


5.30 am Rise, tea
6.00 am Kuan Yin bowing practice
6.15 am - Meditation
7.00 am - Chanting
7.30 am - Breakfast (vegetarian / vegan)

8.10 am - Simple chores to support the retreat (a little cleaning, chopping veggies, etc.)
9.30 am - Morning meditation instruction
10.15 am - 1 pm - Sitting & walking meditation, Qi Kung.
1pm - Lunch (Veggie, vegan)

3.00 pm - Chanting, sitting & walking meditation.
5.00 pm - Q&A
5.30 pm - Light supper. (Veggie, vegan)

7.00 pm - Meditation, Dharma Talk.
9pm - Rest

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: chan - zen insight meditation kuan yin dharmas qi gung vipassana

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Become a friend to myself. Scott

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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