The TRC is said to “fly” on four wings. Click the titles below to find out more.
Healthy vegetarian food, mainly organic and locally produced, is served on most workshops.
TRC is the headquarters of Tara Rokpa Therapy for Southern Africa. This is a unique system of psychotherapy or healing for the mind, based on a fusion of ancient Eastern wisdom with modern psychotherapy. It has been developed over the past 25 years by Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche, a Tibetan Lama and doctor of traditional Tibetan medicine, in collaboration with Western professionals (art therapists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, family therapists, social workers and massage therapists.) It is open to everyone and not dependant on following a particular spiritual path.
“Our society, with all its modern wonders and conveniences, bombards us with stimulation while at the same time largely depriving us of what is natural and wholesome on this earth. Our education tends to develop the intellect in a way which is not balanced with emotional and practical experience.
The aim of the therapy programme is to assist many people in understanding themselves and others in the world through ‘acceptance’ and ‘compassion’ for ourselves and others close to us.”
– Akong Tulku Rinpoche
The work is essentially self-exploratory, but where possible local support groups are formed. Further help and twice yearly workshops are held with a visiting senior therapist, who guides participants through the modular process.
TRC activities include:
- Annual Tara Rokpa Therapy family Easter Camp and
- Occasional related training courses and workshops
TRC is able to offer 2 – 5 day courses from the programme ‘Learning to relax’ and ‘Working with the Elements’ for groups of people wishing to explore these aspects.
Other healing workshops hosted to date include different forms of yoga and body awareness work:
- Tai Chi, Chi Gung
- Ayurvedic and Vegetarian Cooking
- Art Therapy
Relaxing massage, and pampering beauty therapy sessions can be arranged at the centre.
The facilities may be hired by like-minded individuals, families and groups for workshops.
The emphasis in the Kagyu tradition is placed more on practice than on academic study, although academic study is still encouraged. Practice in this sense refers both to formal meditation practice and the practice of compassion and wisdom in daily life.
The residents of the centre hold regular dharma pujas or recitation sessions, which visitors are welcome to join. The centre also hosts regular courses by local and overseas teachers authorised to teach in the Kagyu tradition. These courses are usually weekend to ten day courses and we are very fortunate to have at least 1 and sometimes 2, month long retreats every year with Rob Nairn, usually in November and February. The slightly shorter Christmas retreat with Rob is also very popular.
In March 2012 we started our first six month closed Ngondro retreat with Alan Muller. During Lama Yeshe’s visit to launch the retreat, he announced that this will be the venue for Kagyu six month retreats for practitioners accross the world. The womens retreat will be followed shortly by the mens retreat.
This is the start of much more to come.
Spiritual teachings and retreats from other traditions and faiths are also possible, if approved by our spiritual director Dr. Akong Rinpoche.
So we are working on an overarching whole systems design for Tara Rokpa, which includes:
- One Planet Living guidelines, that have been workshopped and form the basis for our long term vision and goals.
- A policy of Zero Waste, in which we have taken the guidelines of the international Zero Waste movement to minimise waste production and recycling.
This has applications in the day-to-day living to the selection of office materials, building materials etc.
- A Permaculture design for the properties owned by TRC. This guides our working with all the elements:
- Water – To preserve this scarce resource we are including rain water harvesting, Storm water control, reduction of water use, recycling and re-use of ‘waste’ water;
- Earth – The zoning of the areas according to their use, the establishment of sustainable food production systems, the use of earth as building materials, erosion control;
- Fire – The introduction of renewable energy sources, mainly from the sun, such as the solar powered pump in operation at Tara’s retreat house;
- Air – The preservation of vital greenbelts for wild life, recreation, oxygen production and of creating space for us to learn from the intricate workings of our biosphere;
In 2008 Rokpa International offered TRC a long term loan to purchase a piece of land, now known as the Training Centre as Akong Tulku Rinpoche wanted us to establish a residential practical skills training centre for disadvantaged youths with a focus on young women.
To date we have renovated some of the buildings on the land and built accommodation for the caretaker and his family and also the Tirisano crèche for the local children.
Skills training in basic woodwork, sewing and ‘permaculture’ vegetable gardening have been undertaken over the past few years. There have been 2 attempts at running basic literacy classes for the local community.
The current ongoing formal activity is supporting ‘Tirisano’ crèche which runs each morning. This is currently used by 14 children from 1 – 6 years old and is run by 2 local women.
Skills training and work is about to begin with a wing of the Dept of the Environment “working for water”, which fells invasive trees in watercourses. This will hopefully benefit 10 unemployed local youths. We are hoping to find uses for the felled trees.
All local staff employed are gaining skills in housework, catering, building and gardening.
We support ongoing HIV/AIDS education, testing and counselling. Many in the valley have been assisted to get relevant identity documents. 6 families have been assisted to get state land for housing. Second hand clothes are sold at very low cost to operate a community fund for assistance with sickness, death, orphans and some education needs.
We hope in the future to develop more formal skills training in:
- Permaculture – organic vegetable growing/processing
- Woodwork, building skills (with a focus on eco-building)
- Housekeeping and catering
We need committed volunteers to help set up and secure funding for more long-term community programmes. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can be of assistance.