Linked with the Mandala Trust, and with the Khuphuka Project.

Welcome to Dharmagiri, a Buddhist hermitage nestled in the dramatic Southern Drakensberg (uKhahlamba in Zulu) on the border between South Africa and Lesotho. It is affiliated with the Forest Sangha of Ajahn Chah and was founded by his disciples Kittisaro and Thanissara in 2000 as a hermitage. Dharmagiri is the home of a contemplative community that provides support for self retreatants and practitioners, facilitates meditation retreats and enables access to Buddhist practice and teachings. Dharmagiri runs on a semi monastic ethos and requests that visitors and retreatants join in the community morning and evening practice sessions as well as help with simple daily chores. An extensive library of Dharma talks and Dharma books is available for retreat support … (full text Homepage).

Retreats: Info/schedule, Self retreat; Staying here; Dana;
Teachings; Talks; Year long study; News, articles, events; Newsletter; Links; Donations;
Address: Dharmagiri, PO Box 270, Underberg 3257, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa;

About: Dharmagiri is a Section 21 Company which operates under South African law. It is a registered Non Profit Organisation and has Public Benefit Organisation status. It has three directors, two managers and sixteen members from South Africa, the UK and the US who support and oversee its guidance.
The Founders: … (full text).   

Dragon Mountains & the First People of the Land: (see also the beautiful landscape photos)

  • The Drakensberg (dragon mountain in Afrikaans), more ancient than the Himalayas or Alps, was inhabited by the San people for over 20,000 years. The nearby winding mountain pass, called the Sani Pass, goes up to Lesotho and tracks the route the San would use from mountains to sea when following game. The tragic story of the San genocide is woven into the fabric of South Africa’s bloodied and difficult history. However although not physically present, their spirit is felt in the elemental movement of weather patterns, the spectacular mountains and in the rock art. The San rock paintings weren’t just representations of life but repositories of it. When shamans painted an eland, they didn’t just pay homage to a sacred animal, they harnessed its essence. They put paint to rock and opened portals to the spirit world, enabled through trance. Corollaries between cave images and trance ceremonies appear in the cave paintings around Dharmagiri. These ancient images offer a bridge into the mists of time.

Dharmagiri & Mvuleni Mountain:

  • Dharmagiri is 50 acres nestled in Bamboo or mVuleni, mountain in the Southern Drakensberg range. mVuleni in Zulu means ‘Place of Rain’ and indeed the mountain attracts unusual and dramatic weather patterns. On the back of the mountain and hidden from sight is a cave with San paintings, one of which (unfortunately removed to Pietermaritzburg musem), depicts a shaman wrestling a rain beast. The belief was that the ‘rain beast’ responsible for weather lived within the mountain. Its weather patterns include powerful summer lightening and thunder storms and dramatic rain falls and high winds and snow in winter. Frequently the mountain is cloaked in mists or bathed in gorgeous golden and red hues at sun rise or sun set.
  • To this day mVuleni is known within the local Zulu community as a place to gather to pray for rain. Among many other smaller creatures Dharmagiri has frequent visits from Eland, Jackal, Baboon, Deer, Eagles, Cape Vultures and African Hare. At night Leopard, Lynx and Serval hunt invisible to the human eye
  • When Kittisaro and Thanissara first arrived the land had been abandoned for many years and was overgrown and lacked care. Before opening the hermitage several years were spent taking out invasive gums and pines and encouraging indigenous species. In 2000 a generous donation made it possible to build a hermitage wing, a kitchen and dinning area and a large room for meditation and library.

Sacred Mountain:

  • Dharmagiri means Mountain of Dharma in Sanskrit which we translate as Sacred Mountain. This name honours the important placement of this land in the mythology and stories of the people gone before continuing to engage a practice that integrates spirit and earth.
  • Within this elemental and powerful context the primary purpose of Dharmagiri is the encouragement of mindfulness and meditation practice as the optimum means of Awakening.

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