CNN: Ixopo Buddhist meditation centre among world’s finest

2013-07-17 00:00

THE Buddhist Retreat Centre near the village of Ixopo is one of the world’s finest meditation centres, according to United States cable news channel CNN’s website.

Buddhist Retreat Centre director Chrisi van Loon said they are thrilled to have been recognised and featured in CNN’s “10 of the world’s best meditation retreats”.

It is the only retreat centre from Africa on the list, and is alongside meditation centres such as Spirit Rock in California, the Dalai Lama’s main temple in Dharamsala, India, and Plum Village in France, which are all revered across the globe.

In the remote location near Ixopo, 90 km south of Pietermaritzburg, this retreat centre offers philosophy, psychology, meditation and the arts associated with Buddhist culture.

It also prides itself on light-hearted pleasures such as enjoying a breathtaking garden and views, bird watching, eating good vegetarian dishes and dancing.

Van Loon said: “We’re very thrilled that we’re listed among the worlds finest meditation centres.”

“A rural retreat centre. In Ixopo, nogal,” she laughed.

In a fast-paced world where people are trapped in their busy and stressful lifestyles, quietness, stillness and meditation have become crucial — which, according to Van Loon, is the core of every retreat centre.

“It helps people to centre themselves and people leave the centre with positive attitudes.”

It also provides what Van Loon calls “moments of sanity”.

The centre attracts people from different walks of life from across South Africa and the is also a popular spot for holidaymakers from overseas.

The retreat centre used to be a timber farm that Van Loon’s husband and former Buddhist philosophy lecturer Louis bought in a disused state in 1972.

It took years to develop, but it finally opened its doors in 1980 and has since become a paradise for those who seek tranquillity.

With all the local and international coverage that the retreat centre has enjoyed over the years, this meditation establishment’s greatest accolade would have to be when the centre was awarded the Natural Heritage status by Nelson Mandela, said Van Loon.

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