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Many people relentlessly battle with their emotions and end up leading conflicted and unhappy lives. But this does not have to be the case. In Buddhism the negative emotions are described as ‘mind poisons’, but the poison contains hidden gold.
This retreat will focus on working creatively with the negative emotions that afflict us. It will be drawn from the Tibetan Buddhist approach of learning to recognise and express the wisdom nature of our emotions. The view here is that our emotions are a source of vitality that can enliven and enrich our lives. The key is how we relate to them: either they can fuel an inner storm of conflict and suffering or they can fuel a path of inner abundance and waking up.
Choden will offer a path to working with the afflictive emotions of fear, anger, desire, jealousy, pride and ignorance. These are like the primary colours of our emotional life which, when combined, result in the rich variety of emotions we feel.
The path of practice will be to recognise when these emotions are triggered and how they feel within us. This is a mindfulness skill. Next, we turn to look at the mind that is afflicted by anger or desire, for example, and see its empty and insubstantial nature. This is a key insight skill. We then apply the antidote of compassion drawn from the 4 Immeasurable Qualities (loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity). Finally we learn to rest ‘in the midst of our experience’ and allow the wisdom energy to integrate within our being.
The retreat will involve teachings and guided practices from Choden, as well as sharing and inquiry and some periods of silent sitting.


The cost includes accommodation, meals, a supplement to cover travel costs, and an R60 optional environmental levy. Excluded are dana and staff tips.

Dana is an offering to the facilitator as Dharma teachers aren’t renumerated, but dana would be appreciated.

  Camping (own tent)   R900
  Dormitory   R1100
  Twin/double room with shared bathroom (per person):   R1400
  Twin/double room with en suite bathroom (per person):   R1600
  Single room with shared bathroom (only 3 available):   R1800
  Single use of ensuite room (if space available):   R2000

To book:

To book, please click here.

A 50% deposit, non-refundable, but transferrable, will secure the accommodation of your choice.

About Choden:

A monk within the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Choden (aka Sean Mc Govern) completed a three-year, three-month retreat in 1997 and has been a practicing Buddhist since 1985. He is originally from South Africa where he trained as a lawyer and learned meditation under the guidance of Rob Nairn, an internationally renowned Buddhist teacher. He is now involved in developing secular mindfulness and compassion programmes drawing upon the wisdom and methods of the Buddhist tradition, as well as contemporary insights from psychology and neuroscience. He is an honorary fellow of the University of Aberdeen and teaches on their Postgraduate Study Programme in Mindfulness (MSc) that is the first of its kind to include compassion in its curriculum. He co-wrote a book with Paul Gilbert in 2013, entitled Mindful Compassion that explores the interface between Buddhist and Evolutionary approaches to compassion training. He is also the co-author of two other books: Mindfulness Based Living Course (2018) and From Mindfulness to Insight (2019). In 2016 he completed a one-year retreat focused on the foundation practices of Tibetan Buddhism.