Lotus Realm Traders Team
In August 1993 the Tararu Trust bought 80 hectares just north of Thames on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula to establish the Sudarshanaloka Buddhist Retreat Centre. A third of the land –bordered by two streams and state forest –is primary forest. Over a third is well-established secondary growth including impressive rata, rimu and kauri trees with a diverse and abundant understorey. We plant to increase the native plant diversity in the remaining area of regenerating bush. The land is accessible but offers the qualities of retreat, especially quiet and natural beauty.
The retreat centre plans:
The retreat centre site nestles in a natural amphitheatre surrounded by lush New Zealand bush and overlooks the waters of the Firth of Thames.
Its design, generously created by architects Hugh Tennant and John Hunt, is based on the notion of a path. This path becomes a strong thread moving through the buildings to circle the shrine room –the meditative and devotional focus of the site. In keeping with Buddhist principles of non-violence, the low impact design uses environmentally empathetic materials and energy systems.
At the heart of activities are men and women who have made a wholehearted commitment to centre their lives on the Buddhist Ideal of human enlightenment, the development of wisdom and compassion. The trustees of the land are all associated with the Western Buddhist Order. Like each of the more than 50 Friends of the Western Buddhist Order Centres Worldwide, Sudarshanaloka is autonomous. It is not run for financial profit. Its dana economy is funded by koha.
Those who are inspired by the vision of building the Sudarshanaloka Retreat Centre express their connection in diverse ways, from attending festivals and retreats to volunteering there time and energy to help with the upkeep. Some of us live in the Sudarshanaloka community house, others in Thames and plenty more throughout New Zealand. We also have a myriad of supporters, internationally, many of whom have come and stayed to experience the delights of this land and New Zealand.
The solitary huts:
While we planned the main retreat centre facility we built solitary huts for those who wished to intensify their spiritual practice on the land or just take time out. Each hut gave us the chance to refine designs and seek suitable building materials for eco-friendly construction so they are as sustainable as each site permits. We use passive solar and wind power, compost toilets, bio-waste water systems and worm gardens to recycle food wastes in the longer stay huts. They are each, places of beauty for tranquil reflection.
It is essential in these troubled times that there be sacred places such as the Sudarshanaloka Retreat Centre dedicated to training the heart and the mind. We would like to give you the opportunity to participate in the vision to create a place that is a home where wisdom and compassion can flourish for generations to come.
There are any number of ways you can help to build this place of retreat in a magical secluded valley in the South Pacific.
You can do it by donation, volunteering your time, attending retreats, using the huts or buying from our shop, the Lotus Realm (Thames) or trading with our wholesale venture, Lotus Realm Traders. Each little bit helps.