The Western Chan Fellowship

Chan is the Chinese ancestor of Zen Buddhism. The Western Chan Fellowship is an association of lay Chan practitioners, a lay Sangha, based in the UK. We are registered as a charity in England and Wales, but we also have contacts in Europe, principally in Norway, Poland, Germany, Croatia and Switzerland, and also in USA. Our Zen retreats and other activities are open equally to both Buddhists and non-Buddhists.

Zen Retreat, Buddhist Retreat, Meditation Retreat, Silent Retreat, Solitary Retreat

Meditation Hall

We lead a range of different types of Buddhist meditation retreats at centres in England and Wales. Some of our Zen meditation retreats follow the traditional methods of practice, and others such as our 'Western Zen Retreat' include adaptations to match the needs of Westerners. Most of our Zen retreats are silent retreats - read the retreat descriptions for details.

Zen Meditation Groups

We have Chan meditation groups meeting around the UK. Visit us ask about meditation and the WCF. You will find a Zen sangha helpful to support your practice and the cultivation of mindfulness in daily life.


Our Teacher Simon Child, Chuan Fa Jing Hong, is the second Western Dharma heir of the late Chan Master Sheng Yen of Taiwan, receiving Dharma Transmission in 2000. Our Founding Teacher was Master Sheng Yen's first Western Dharma Heir, Dr John Crook.

Our practice includes a variety of Buddhist meditation methods from the lineages of both Linji Chan (Japanese: Rinzai Zen) and Caodong Chan (Japanese: Soto Zen) -  e.g. Gong-an (Japanese: Koan), Hua-tou, Silent Illumination (Ch. Mo-zhao, related to Jap. Shikantaza), and other methods such as use of the breath.

Latest News


New Chan Forum 49

NVF 49 is now in the post to subscribers and available for download from this website[more]

Category: WCF News, 2015


Newsletter 29 / 2015 Retreat Programme

The 2015 programme is now published on the website and also in Newsletter 29[more]

Category: 2014, WCF News


Newsletter 28 - updated Retreat Programme

The retreat programme for the first part of 2015 is now published in newsletter 28[more]

Category: WCF News, 2014


Dharma Drum Conferences

Simon Child (right) with Zarko Andricevic (left)

Simon Child, Teacher of the Western Fellowship, attended the 3rd Dharma Drum Mountain Monastic and Followers conference in Taipei, Taiwan, June 27-28.[more]

Category: WCF News, 2014


Connected Practice: Enhancing your practice in your own environment

Join us in a commitment for a period of connected and enhanced practice. We will undertake this in our daily lives, whether at home or in the workplace, with the silent support of knowing that we are not practising alone. We intend to raise the tempo of our practice for this period, increasing our...[more]

Category: WCF News

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Being With

A Dharma talk from a 10-day intensive Silent Illumination retreat at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center, May 23 to June 1, 2014[more]

Category: Talks by Simon Child, Simon Child, New Chan Forum, 2015


Connected Practice For Wesak: An Experiment For Lay Chan Practitioners

The sangha is important for Buddhist practice. It is the third Jewel of Refuge. However, it is not always possible for people physically to come together either for short meditation sessions or for longer periods on retreat. In order to address this and as part of the invitation to develop new...[more]

Category: New Chan Forum, 2014, Others


Finding a Way to Practise

A talk given at a weekend retreat 28th April 2013[more]

Category: New Chan Forum, Simon Child, Talks by Simon Child, 2014


Glimpsing myself

I had never been on any kind of retreat before I arrived at the Western Zen retreat at Maenllwyd in November. It was something I had been building up to for quite some time. I knew I was searching for a path, and I was increasingly convinced that this may help me to begin walking it. But I didn’t...[more]

Category: 2013, WZR Reports


Unethical Zen Masters

There have been several well-publicised scandals involving unethical behaviour by Zen masters. This is not a uniquely Zen problem, nor a uniquely Buddhist problem – there have also been similar problems involving other religions, for example with Christian priests – but I'm going to talk about it...[more]

Category: Simon Child, 2013, by Simon Child, for Newcomers


The Middle Way

This article is based on the Teacher’s Address to the AGM of the Western Chan Fellowship on 23rd March 2013.[more]

Category: New Chan Forum, Talks by Simon Child, Simon Child, 2013

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