Personal Practice Retreats
2019 Dates to be confirmed. For enquiries please email us.
A 3 year 3 month traditional retreat is out of reach of most people leading modern lives. And it is a great challenge for lay practitioners to find the time or place to complete practices such as Ngöndro – the foundational practices of Tibetan Buddhism. In response to these needs, Chöje Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Chöje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche initiated a space for longer-termed retreats at the Tara Rokpa Centre (TRC) in South Africa.
Tara’s Valley Retreat Area
Tara Rokpa Centre is situated in wooded valleys, bounded by perennial streams, and surrounded by rolling hills, on 280 hectares of land. One of the valleys – Tara’s Valley – was chosen by Akong Rinpoche for cloistered retreats and intensive practice. The environment is pristine, the air unpolluted and the night sky fantastic. Retreatants are welcome to walk in the surrounding areas during their breaks.
The retreat area is sustainably built, and uses solar power for lighting and water heating, and wind power for water pumping. There are two adjacent buildings; a brick-built house, which contains four single retreat rooms, a kitchen/dining area and the shrine room, and a mud built house with three single rooms.
The retreat is supported by Alan Muller who also lives in Tara’s Valley. He took refuge in 1997 with Akong Rinpoche. In 2003, he completed a one-year closed retreat under the guidance of Lama Yeshe Rinpoche at Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland. During this period, he took novice monks vows. Alan remained a novice monk for six years and now presents courses and retreats as a layperson. He has formed Ngöndro practice groups since 2004 around Southern Africa.
Structure of Personal Practice Retreats
People can come for a minimum stay of one week or the full practice period (3 weeks to 3 months).
This annual retreat in Tara’s Valley Retreat House is open to both men and women who want time to focus on practice such as meditation or have a quiet time to contemplate.
You will practice alongside Alan Muller, who will be taking the opportunity for a personal retreat. Here is a message from him:
“I’ve continually seen the benefits of going on retreat for myself. A precious time where we can practice undisturbed by the usual obstacles to meditation, such as cell phones ringing and emails waiting to be answered. It will be great if I had some dharma friends there to share the experience.
Group practice will happen twice a day if you wish to join in or you can continue with your own practice, or go for walks in the valley. Green Tara Practice will take place at 7am and Chenrézik Prayers at 6pm in the Tara Retreat House shrine room. There will also be a daily recorded teaching played in the shrine room at 11am.
The famous wonderful TRC lunches will be provided at the retreat house, with soup in the evenings. Retreatants will need to make their own breakfast with the ingredients provided.
You can join me in retreat for a few days or a few weeks.
Hope to see you there.
TBC for 2019
R275 per day.
Full payment is required before starting your retreat.
Dana ~ (a donation) will be accepted by the retreat support in appreciation.
In keeping with the Buddhist tradition, the retreat support’s only compensation is a donation of a size appropriate to the perceived value of the support provided and the means of the giver.
Retreat Daily Programme
You can follow your own retreat schedule or one could be made up for you in line with your practice needs
Summer (September-April) is hot with average daytime temperatures well above 30°C. There are occasional, heavy rainstorms with as much as 80mm falling in one hour. In winter it is very cold with severe night frosts and temperatures which can drop to as low as -14°C. Average night temperatures in June to August are -7°C. During the days the skies are blue and temperatures high enough for light clothing to be worn. It is extremely dry and dusty in the winter.
What to bring to TRC
Comfortable clothing is advisable, preferably not white or pale colours, which cannot be kept clean at TRC. Warm clothing and fleeces for winter months (May to August), and summer clothes for the summer months (Nov to March). Participants will need to wash their own clothes by hand. Linen and towels will be done once a week at the main site laundry.
Please also bring:
- a torch, (and spare batteries)
- rainwear or umbrella,
- a hat
- walking shoes, swimming costume
- This is not a malaria-infected area and anti-malarial medication is not required. Mosquito repellents can help to prevent bites: any organic products (most contain citronella oil) or non-organic products like Tabard.
For your Practice and Shrine:
- Practice texts
- practice items
- If you wish to have your own shrine, each of the retreat rooms has a basic shrine stand for you to set up with your offering bowls, pictures and rupas (Buddha statues) – you will need to bring your own shrine objects.
If anyone needs special food for medical reasons, arrangements need to be made beforehand. Retreatants may have to purchase their own needed supplies before arrival.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org