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Quarterly Newsletter of the Dharma Center

Autumn 2004 · Page 1 · 2 · 3

Contents

Robertson Abbot's Report · Indra's Net · Rondebosch Abbot's Report
Inside Out · A 31-Day Retreat
China Moon · Art of Living Festival · Exploring the Zen Kong-an · Appeal · Public Lecture


Robertson Abbot's Report

Rodney Downey

This is the first time I've sat in front of the computer since my eye decided to fall apart. It does help to be able to talk to this machine instead of trying to peer at a keyboard. This report will be a little shorter than normal, so please bear with me.

After we returned from our teaching trip to Brazil, it was decided that Anthony would brave the world and leave the Centre. Anthony has been an enormous help during the last four years, but we've taken a decision to not have any full-time residents, certainly not for the foreseeable future. Anthony is now working in Cape Town, has his own apartment and continues to practice at the Rondebosch Centre. Know that he is missed in Robertson!

We finished the year with our sangha picnic, and as always it was a really great day. About 40 people attended, wonderful food was served, and great ice cream to finish the day. Everyone helped with the cleaning up, and by 4.30 p.m., you would never have known that the picnic had taken place.

We started the New Year with the extremely well attended retreat of Stephen and Martine Batchelor. There were many new people as well as old friends for the two-day retreat. The Tuesday before the retreat, they gave a talk at the Rondebosch Centre, which was filled to capacity with about 30 people. They also attended a morning practice session and delivered a talk at Malmesbury prison.

We have had to cancel the Malmesbury prison retreat at the beginning of March, due to my 'wonky' eye. We hope to be able to reschedule it in May. However, by the end of March, I should be able to be up and about for the Art of Living festival on 27 and 28 March. Again we will be looking for volunteers to help (wo)man the stand for the Dharma Centre. We will also be giving a talk at the University of Cape Town on 25 March. Details are at the bottom of page 8 of this issue, or refer to the Art of Living brochure.

It's been an interesting two and half weeks since I had my operation. I'd like to thank everyone for their concern and kind words. As I have said to some of the sangha to whom I've spoken, I wouldn't have wanted to go into this, without the practice being solidly behind me. The first ten days I spent lying on my back in bed, most of the time with my eyes closed. So I was able to do a lot of serious practice - eyes closed practice!

We still have a long way to go, but my sight is slowly returning to my right eye. The doctor has not finished 'welding' the eye, which he does with a 'vicious' laser, but hopefully it will soon be over and then it's just lots of rest and getting back to normal. Don't forget the Easter retreat, April 8 - 12. The retreat will start on Wednesday April 7 in the evening.


Indra's Net

Alka, a sangha member from Johannesburg, is busy working on our new web site, which should be up and running in a couple of weeks. She is registering a new domain name, which will be: www.dharmacentre.org.za.
She is taking care of the NPO status and registration, as well as the design -- not only that, she is also going to pay the monthly fee for the site as Dana! Many thanks to Alka for her generosity. Before we finalise the site we will ask interested parties to have a look at it and make some suggestions and recommendations.


Rondebosch Abbot's Report

By Christine Nachmann

At the end of 2003, I was away on a job and unable to attend practice sessions for about 5 weeks. Once again the 'core sangha' pulled together admirably to share in the responsibilities of running our Rondebosch Centre and I'd like to thank them all for their commitment and support!

After a long, lazy summer break we re-opened the doors for regular evening practice in mid January, with Stephen and Martine Batchelor giving a talk the following week. It was really wonderful to have such renowned teachers and practitioners share their insight with us and I thought it interesting how their basic approach and teaching style seems to be quite similar to Heila PSN and Rodney's.

Our February day-retreat went well and the discussion session in the afternoon was dynamic and lively. Clive commented on the fact that each moment is our teacher and each and every situation represents an opportunity for us to become more aware. Well, not 30 minutes later we got a good taste of this, when we discovered that while we were busy chewing Dharma bones, someone had climbed over the balcony from the staircase and had stolen Clive's bag!! It contained his Cell phone, various sets of keys, cash, ID documents and credit cards, and it goes without saying that the hassle of replacing it all is immense. Kwan Seum Bosal, Clive! From now on we will have to lock the security gate at the bottom of the stairs during practice sessions, so please try and arrive on time if you don't want to find yourself locked out.

Another movie production will take me to Oudtshoorn for March and into the first half of April, so you won't see me at Rondebosch for practice during this time. Ron and Simon have offered to take care of Tuesday nights, while Vicky and Clive will take responsibility for Fridays. Please honour their commitment to sangha and practice by attending evening sessions and offering your support as much as possible.