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Each of us has the potential to be whole and free, but few of us realise this potential. Many of us go through our lives under a spell of imperfection – thinking and feeling that things are not right with us and life never really hits the spot. There is a gnawing feeling of dissatisfaction that the Buddha called dukkha.
This is not surprising because we live in a disjointed society that does not promote wholeness and connection; and many of us struggle with our own psychology and suffer lifelong effects of disconnection, trauma, and addiction in subtle and pervasive ways.
Yet we can work with this situation and gradually come to know and feel that part of us that was always undamaged and free – what is called Buddha Nature in Buddhism. Yet it takes trust and patient work.
Choden will draw on his experience of meditation over many years and will offer insights and methods that cover the full range of experiential mind training: mindfulness, compassion, insight, and wisdom.
He will offer practical skills to help people relate skilfully to difficult issues and blocks within themselves – beginning to break the spell of imperfection – whilst also offering methods for cultivating positive, life-affirming resources that bring us closer to our Buddha Nature within. He will also offer some advice on how to carry our practice into daily life and make challenging life conditions part of our meditation practice.


This will be a light retreat since it is taking place over the Xmas/New Year period. There will be structured teaching and practice sessions with a long break in the afternoons for people to go on nature walks. We will be including periods of silence in the mornings.

There will be a late-night Chenrezig practice on New Year’s Eve and see in the New Year together. Chenrezig is a Tibetan Buddhist chanting and mantra practice. We will also do this practice together every evening and offer simple instructions on how to do it. This part will be optional.

People may attend the whole retreat or part thereof. The preferred option is for all participants to arrive on Sunday 26 December, and then to leave earlier, if needed. Alternatively, if you want to come for the New Year’s weekend, you are welcome to arrive on Thursday 30 December at 6 pm, and depart on Sunday 2 January. This is to minimise the disruption of arrivals to the retreat atmosphere.


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 practising 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, ‘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


The costs include accommodation, all meals from supper on the day of arrival, to lunch on the last day, an optional environmental fee of R60, and a surcharge for flight costs.

These costs exclude dana for the facilitators and staff tips. Dana boxes will be put out on the last day of the retreat for your offerings.

Please don’t let a lack of finances prevent you from attending – contact us at tararokpacentre@gmail.com.

   Accommodation Type  7 Nights  3 Nights
 Single-use of ensuite room (if space available):  R6700  R3100
 Single-use of twin/double room (if space available), shared bathroom:  R6500  R2900
 Single en suite room (only 1 available)  R6500  R2900
 Single room with shared bathroom (only 3 available):  R6200  R2800
 Twin/double room with en suite bathroom (per person):  R5500  R2500
 Twin/double room with shared bathroom (per person):  R4800  R2200
 Dormitory  R4000  R1800
 Camping (own tent)  R3300  R1500



Please fill in the online form to book.

A 50% deposit will confirm your choice of room. The deposit is non-refundable but is transferrable to another retreat.