KSDH Newsletter ~ October 2012

To download a copy of October’s newsletter, click this link ~ KSDH News.Vol 12.October 2012

In this issue

  • Rob Nairn is presently in Zimbabwe – Find out about his talks and retreats
  • What’s on in 2013 – Calendar of Events
  • Hangani Meditation Group welcomes Donal Creedon, May 2012 by Vivienne Kernohan
  • Rokpa Support Network Update
  • Report: KSDH Management Committee Update – by Barbara Vitoria, Chairperson
  • Regular Events and Contacts
  • How to submit material for the next newsletter

Rob Nairn in Zimbabwe – October 2012

This will be Rob’s last visit before taking sabbatical in 2013!

KSDH welcomes Rob Nairn back to Zimbabwe this month when we are, once again, fortunate to be the beneficiaries of his insightful teachings. Please find below Rob’s schedule for the next two weeks, including a Tantra Course in Harare, a 6-day retreat in Susurumba, Nyanga and a fund-raising talk and lunch.

Rob Nairn Programme : October
Sunday 7 October ARRIVE
Wednesday 10th 5.30 – 7.00 pm
Introductory Talk on Tantric Practice
Venue: 7a Ernies Lane
Entry: $5
Thursday 18th 5.30 – 7.00 pm

Tantra Course (see details below)
Bring and share lunch on Saturday and Sunday
Venue: 7a Ernies Lane
Entry: $100

Saturday 20th 9.30 – 4.30 pm
Sunday 21st 9.30 – 4.30 pm
Thursday 11th Start 6.00 pm
Retreat at Susurumba, Juliasdale
“How Insight and Wisdom Liberates”
(Bookings closed)
Wednesday 17th Finish 10.00 am
Thursday 25th 5.30 – 7.00 pm

Public Talk – “The Power of Perspective”
Venue: 7a Ernies Lane
Entry: $5

Saturday 27th 11.00 arrival for 11.30 – 12.30 talk
1.00pm – 3.00pm – lunch

Fundraiser – talk by Rob Nairn on “Letting Go” followed by lunch at 29 Swallow Hill, Helensvale, Borrowdale, Harare

Entrance by ticket only available from the KSDH offices (mornings only). Tickets will also be on sale at Rob’s talks.Tickets: $20

When talking about “Letting Go” from the Buddhist perspective, we talk about letting go of what causes us suffering i.e. attachments, ideals, preferences, expectations etc.

Sunday 28 October DEPARTURE

Tantra (Vajrayana) Course

An introduction to the principles of Tibetan Buddhist meditation

This course will examine the principles of Vajrayana/Tantra, identifying how and why the practices liberate the mind. Jungian perspectives on symbols of transformation and the impact of archetypes on the mind will be used to elucidate traditional teachings.

Vajrayana is a system of meditation methods.  If applied they progressively transform the mind of the practitioner and free us from suffering caused by ego-centric grasping and ignorance.

There were about 20 people at the introductory talk last night (Wednesday 10th) and Rob provided a stimulating introduction to the course. Places are still available to join in the weekend programme, starting on Thursday evening 18th October.  The course fees include a manual and CD.

What’s on in 2013 – Calendar of Events

Donal Creedon 16th – 27th March 2013: 12 day retreat “The search for the meaning of security: Time and change as the rhythm of life and death”Donal is considered to be one of the most experienced meditators
in the Western world He will be leading a 12-day retreat, topic still to be confirmed.
Melanie Polatinsky 1st – 3rd March 2013 “Relationships are the reflecting mirrors in our search for our true selves”Melanie, from the Randburg Centre, is a devoted student of Lama Yeshe and a dharma teacher full of fun and energy.
Charley Morley Dates still to be confirmed After Charley’s successful visit in June this year, he will be returning to Harare to continue training people in the use of Tibetan Buddhist and Western dream-work techniques. His teachings create a uniquely holistic approach to lucid dreaming and conscious sleeping to support our psychological growth and spiritual awakening.
Ken and Katia Holmes 2 weeks in October/November We are once again privileged to have Ken and Katia Holmes, two well known and respected Buddhist teachers, visit Zimbabwe. Details to follow.

Note: more information on all events advertised will be sent to you closer to the time. Please contact the Rokpa office at 304202 (mornings only) for details.

Please note that inability to pay should not be an obstacle to attend any of the above events – let us know in advance so we can find the middle way.

Hangani Meditation Group Welcomes Donal Creedon

by Vivienne Kernohan

The meditation centre, not yet a year old and situated on the second summit of a steep Chimanimani hill offers a tricky, if short, climb from the road used mostly by people on foot.

In May this year, Jenny Sanders, Dave Sheehan, Pippa Cope (from the Groot Marico centre in South Africa) and I accompanied Donal on his first visit to a rural meditation centre in Zimbabwe. We were also joined by several meditators from Chikukwa, about 13 kms away (uphill coming, and downhill going home!).

We received a warm welcome from the members of the Hangani meditation group as we were escorted up the hill by some of the female members, who were eagerly awaiting Donal’s arrival. “Mauuya, Mauuya kwa Hangani” they sang, hugging each of us. Refreshingly, the group consists of a wide range of age groups, including several young mothers.

It was clear that they had been very busy in the preceding days; steps had been roughly cut on the steeper parts of the path and grass had been slashed; wood for cooking had been laboriously carried up the slope, along with cooking pots and serving dishes, cups and teapots and vast quantities of food. In addition to the between 12 and 16 meditators who joined us for the two day retreat, there were partners, children and dogs, all helping in their different ways to ensure the visit’s success.

Breathless after the climb, I recalled that only a few months earlier, the group had had to rebuild the roof of the meditation centre after it was burned down just before its official opening; the women had carried poles and thatch up this hill twice, to complete their meditation centre.

Once at the top, the centre offers a breathtaking view down the valley towards Chikukwa and more of the Chimanimani mountain range topped by a wonderful cloud-patterned sky, and immediately across, the gentle folds of steep grassy hills. Donal commented that from the point of view of a retreat site, the Hangani location ‘has everything’.

When the two-day retreat began in earnest, group members told us how they had come to meditate and the benefits they gained from it. Hangani is a tight knit community and while relatively comfortable in comparison with other Zimbabwean communal lands, nonetheless, there is a significant amount of poverty and hardship. Everyone knows everyone else and depends on neighbours for all kinds of assistance especially when rains fail, or wild pigs or baboons invade the fields.

For Donal, it was a very different and special experience to hear how mindfulness practice is helping both individuals and the community to deal with disputes over matters such as stray cows and children interfering with peoples’ fields and crops, as well as helping individuals overcome anger and other difficulties.

One meditator told how her donkey had gone into a neighbour’s maize field and eaten a substantial amount of maize. Amai Victor was very nervous about approaching her neighbour – whom she knew to be a meditator – to tell her what had happened. But when she did eventually come clean, the neighbour brushed it off, saying “These things happen. “Perhaps another day it will be my goats in your field!”  Mai Victor was so impressed with her neighbour’s reaction that she decided she too would join the meditation group. This story was greeted with huge laughter and slapping of hands, for the kind neighbour was also present!

Sitting sessions were punctuated with song and dance -a great way to offset the dullness that so often claims us when we sit down to meditate and one which we should perhaps consider adopting in town!

On the second day, the group opted to have a dialogue about community issues, interspersed with meditation practice. Though this was strictly a mindfulness retreat, we ended up discussing the mind poison of jealousy and the difficulty it can cause in a small community with limited resources. We were also treated to two role plays, demonstrating the positive impact of being mindful when relating to marriage partners and family members.

Over the two days, the people of Hangani left us in no doubt of the benefits of mindfulness and community.

Rokpa Support Network Update

The Rokpa Support Network is glad to be able to update friends of ROKPA and the KSDH community on the work we are doing.  RSN is part of Rokpa Trust and is involved in charity and development work with underprivileged communities. For more information, visit our website at  www.rokpa.org/zim. Please Like Us on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/RokpaSupportNetwork and follow us on Twitter: @RokpaSupportZim

The first Info Evening of 2012: 19th September

RSN held an annual report back session at the Rokpa Quendon Road Centre (QRC) for friends of ROKPA and the KSDH community for the year ended June 2012. The presentation was mainly on our work in the community and we briefly looked at our plans for the coming year. The turnout was good for a first time event in many years; we expect to make it much bigger in the coming mid-year report back session in January 2013. Feedback was excellent and many commented that they didn’t know such good work was being done by the Network. Two people volunteered their expertise to work with us in the Food Security Programme, and we received some donations, such as soft toys for our Chitungwiza project. For those who would like our full Annual report (July 2011 – June 2012), please feel free to make an e-request on Zimbabwe@rokpa.org or wiseman@rsn.co.zw

Overview of our Work

RSN is involved with development work with underprivileged groups in Zimbabwe.  These include people infected and affected by HIV, children with disabilities and their caregivers, their siblings, and other vulnerable people who cannot afford to make ends meet. Our work is divided into four programme areas:

  • Tara Rokpa Therapy,
  • Food Security,
  • Child Protection and
  • The Drop-in centre.

Each programme area has a number of modules with different activities.  In addition to addressing the practical needs of vulnerable groups and their caregivers, the Tara Rokpa Therapy (TRT) approach also caters for their psychological issues and the need to build up self-esteem.

The range of programmes has allowed us to provide a holistic approach to underprivileged communities both in urban and rural areas.   We also focus on training people to become self-sufficient, to help their communities and to pass on what they have learnt at RSN to others.

Food Security for parents of children with disabilities

Regina Sabuneti: “I would like to thank Rokpa for the support of low-input gardening. This has helped me to grow better vegetables for my family and to sell.”

  • She has five children – the fourth child is handicapped with Cerebral Palsy
  • Her husband  has TB and is unemployed
  • Regina is a part of RSN’s Chitungwiza Group of Mothers of Disabled Children

She needs $151 per term to cover school fees.

Report from the KSDH Management Committee Chair, Barbara Vitoria

At our last KSDH AGM, members requested that they know more about the activities of the Management Committee.  Here is a brief summary of our mandate and what we’ve been focusing on in the last few months.

The KSDH Management Committee’s main focus is to enable and support spiritual practice and the development of the Sangha.  We are involved in various activities to make sure this happens. Much of this is mundane (administration, fundraising, finance, building maintenance, human resource management), but without which we could not do what we do. A new initiative is the Sunday morning practice and talks which have been a great way to build community, do practice together and to share our knowledge and experiences with fellow Sangha members, as well as visitors to the Centre.

The Management Committee has several sub-committees which have enabled more people to be involved and more energy to be put into our work, much of it happening in the background. For example, communications, both internally amongst the Sangha as well as external communications, was identified at the AGM as an area that needs more focus. As a result, a communications sub committee was formed with six people. This has already led to some improvements, including the upgrading of our website and opening of a Facebook page. More will follow.

An issue that has recently come to the fore is how to work more synergistically with the other three wings of Rinpoche’s vision: Rokpa Support Network, Tara Rokpa Therapy and care for the environment. The Rokpa Trustees as well as KSDH and RSN are currently giving thought to how this can be enhanced.

We welcome any feedback from members and, if you are interested in joining any of the subcommittees, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Looking forward to seeing you at KSDH events.

Regular Events and Contacts

For details of our regular events click here.

Contact details for Sangha members click here.

Next Newsletter

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Note that the Rokpa office is only open in the mornings 8am – 1pm Monday – Friday


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