Meditation And Yoga House
From the very beginning, the retreat centre’s serene and pool-like space, hidden amongst limestone rocks, found its purpose. We would come here to do morning yoga before the retreat, or simply to integrate energy, whereas others would come here during the breaks to retreat into themselves for a time. It was about that feeling of being protected and secure. The understanding that this sacred place needed embodiment came naturally, and so our Meditation and Yoga House was built. While meditating in this room ringed by windows, the experience deepens into expansion, as if connecting the inside and outside, and extends the meditation beyond the eight walls.The octagonal building, which became the Center—or the Heart of Shunyata—not only stays in the hearts of those who have meditated here, but it has also been acknowledged in the practical world with a Gold Award in the Master Build Commercial Awards 2022 and the Best Commercial Value Award under one million NZD.
Sheltered from the prevailing winds, the main house rests at the feet of the Clifton hills, built into natural limestone rocks. An abundance of fruitful orange, lemon, walnut, and macadamia trees invites us to rest all our senses upon the breathtaking views that overlook the broad sweep of Golden Bay and vast skies, with its healing verdancy and soothing sounds of birds. A beautiful rock garden and traditional Japanese bathhouse, called a sentō, extend beyond the courtyard and meet the native bush and limestone rocks.
Bamboo Grove And Meditation Hut
Lush bamboo groves rise from in-between the rocky outcrops, creating a green and shady meditation space, alive with birdsong and the whispering of leaves high above. Several benches offer one’s body and mind to settle in, creating an alternative meditation space within the grove. Following the pathway, one encounters blossoming Japanese cherry trees, sheltering an open-sided meditation hut looking over a pond.
Overlooking the property of Shunyata, there is a traditional Japanese bell tower, which holds a bell made by the makers of the Hiroshima Peace Bell. This is an Awakening bell that can not only be clearly heard eight kilometers away in Tākaka, but also invites everyone to center themselves, open up and recite the beautiful verse written under the bell:
“Body, speech, and mind in perfect oneness.
I send my heart along with the sound of this bell.
May the hearers awaken from forgetfulness.
And transcend all anxiety and sorrow.“