Vast Sky from Temple Hill

Reconnecting with Our Vast Vision

On a frosty July weekend, a group of committed practitioners kept warm by focusing heart and mind on the future of TRC. When Akong Rinpoche founded this healing centre, he committed us to a 1000-year vision. This feels daunting at times, but also reminds us to put self-centred desires aside, and keep focusing on the enormous benefit that this place can provide for so many people. We are the stewards of a place that will survive long beyond our own life span. And what an incredible centre it is…

This is a healing place, in the African bushveld, focused on the development of compassion and wisdom.

A Place of Healing

We started by reminding ourselves of the help and healing we have each received from our time at the Centre. Everyone had a story, and the act of remembering created a powerful sense of community and on-going commitment.

“I was at a stage where my life seemed to lack meaning. My time at TRC has given a sense of meaning and of feeling of being of benefit in the long term.”

“I have learnt about compassion here, particularly the difference between idiot compassion and fierce compassion. What I have learnt here means I can now work for the benefit of others without burning out”

“TRC is a place of refuge where I remember feeling utter relief at just being able to be myself and not having to wear a mask.”

“I have always learnt from incredible teachers here and am able to translate the teachings into my professional life. I have brought business people and just the space is helpful for them to rejuvenate. It has helped me, and I have seen it help others.”

“I came to work here. I love the people at TRC. There is respect and I am happy that everyone looks after each other.”

“This is a wild place, where I experience spontaneous joy and excitement.”

 Visioning Thrivability

Our envisioning weekend was inspired by the concept of Thrivability. This is drawn from the work of Michelle Holliday, a maven who works with organisations so that they can align with ‘life’. She writes about living systems, and applies the findings from the natural world to our human communities.

All living systems have four defining characteristics: divergent parts, relationships between those parts, a convergent whole and an integrating ‘spark of life’. These aspects allow a system to be resilient, adaptive and creative. The spark of life is the vision of a centre that provides the momentum for its ‘thrivability’.

She invites us to focus on the conversation that we wish to have with the world around us. For a centre with the slogan, “Preserving the Natural Environment”, it seems only right that we choose to align with life, and learn from the wisdom of the natural world. Yet this is our chance not just to preserve but to create a thriving environment, so that the powerful essence of what TRC has to offer becomes accessible to the entire world. TRC is a place of healing, and once we feel integrated and whole, we can move back into the world in order to inspire and support others in their process of healing.

Our Four Wings

The vision of TRC has always centred on four wings: spiritual practice, emotional, social and environmental healing. Without each separate wing supporting the whole, we cannot fly straight and true. During our workshop, capably facilitated by executive coach, Paddy Gray, each ‘wing leader’ reminded us of where we are heading.

Emotional and Personal Healing, through Healing Therapies

  • Sowa is a Tibetan word meaning healing difficulties from the past and creating the conditions for future health and wholeness.
  • TRC is the Therapy Centre of Southern Africa, for both Tara Rokpa Therapy (TRT) and other healing modalities such as yoga, qi gong, massage etc. These are based on compassion, and commit to causing no harm.
  • TRC provides for the broadest meaning of therapy: time to sleep, connect with nature, a place of refuge, a place for creativity (art, photography, writing, dance, play) and reflection, an opportunity to return to balance and to find replenishment.

Environmental Preservation and Thriving

  • This is a sanctuary for wildlife and life – the external physical world, and the internal subtle world. The water and air are particularly pure, and the geomancy is powerful, with five valleys converging on Temple Hill.
  • TRC has committed to respect and protect the environment, inspired by the Karmapa’s 108 Guidelines.
  • The Tikologo Permaculture Demonstration site is a sustainable enterprise, for growing medicinal herbs and organic vegetables, and will soon offer training.

Dharma or Spiritual Development

  • Spiritual teachings are accessible, grounded in wisdom and compassion, and focused on helping people see through their own delusions.
  • For many years, this was Rob Nairn’s home in Africa, where he helped thousands of people through his Mindfulness teachings, and his understanding of the Psychology of the Mind.
  • For Kagyu Buddhist practitioners, this is an empowered place of practice, and the only retreat centre in Southern Africa where people can be supported, by Alan Muller, through extended (3-6 month) retreats.

Community Development

  • TRC is committed to offer practical skills training for self-reliance, with a focus on supporting women and children. The crèche has served the local community for many years.
  • The Rokpa motto is ‘to help where help is needed’, and TRC is committed to support the local community and beyond, through bottom-up development strategies.
  • TRC has helped residents of the informal settlement to get IDs, bank accounts, and to be allocated their own stands in nearby settlements, where they have access to schooling and services.

Our Current Situation

Like so many other NPOs and retreat centres, we are currently struggling to cover our monthly costs, and although we see the huge opportunity and importance of this special place, we are stuck in survival mode. Many of the existing visitors to TRC were connected either to Akong Rinpoche, or to Rob Nairn. Now that these inspiring human beings are no longer able to visit, we need to transition from person-centred connection to a vision-centred approach. We understand the need to ‘have faith, but tie up your camel’.

Moving Forward

In order to bring back the ‘spark of life’ into the Centre, we focused on what is inspiring and possible in the next 3-5 years. These ideas will be detailed in forthcoming blog posts, so that you can connect with the area of most interest.

With Akong Rinpoche, we always saw how ‘money would come from where it is’, as soon as we were all aligned around a vision. This is the chance for us to believe in the power of pure intention, as a community of practitioners.

How Can YOU Help?

This is where you, the reader, can play a significant part in the future thriving of this special healing centre. In the comments section below, or via email, can you commit to lending support – through your time, your skills or a financial donation? All donations are tax deductible. Simply email Sylva at for a letter.

  • Run a retreat at TRC and bring your community. Email to find out which weekends are still available.
  • Bring your NGO community for a restorative retreat. We can provide facilitators to suit your needs.
  • Come to volunteer for a few months, on the main site or with the Tikologo Permaculture Project. We particularly need someone with maintenance skills.
  • Donate towards the upgrading of our bathrooms. Click here to find out how.
  • Share your healing stories about your time at TRC through news articles, or on social media. Let the world know what we can offer.
  • Visit TRC as part of your South African holiday. Attending a retreat, and visiting a game reserve provide a perfectly balanced way to bring you back in touch with the pace of nature.
  • Bring your skills to TRC as a long-term resident, with a focus on one of the Four Wings.
  • Write funding proposals to support our Community Development wing.
  • Attend a retreat or come for a longer visit to replenish and restore. Our on-site staff can offer meditation instruction, somatic movement and yoga, and permaculture training. Artists find inspiration here.
  • Bring your Matric-level children to do their community service hours with us.
  • Donate towards a minibus, so that we can transport people from the region to access training opportunities. Click here to find out how.
  • Set up an internet café on the corner property. This will require expertise, finance and a vast vision.
  • Maybe you have your own idea? If it is in-line with our vision, just let us know what you would like to contribute. We believe in the power of small acts to contribute to the vast vision.

‘Though the view should be as vast as the sky, keep your conduct as fine as barley flour.’