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Chinese Zen Meditation Retreats, Silent Retreats

Event Calendar

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Try one of our retreats to develop your mindfulness and take the next steps to investigate the self. Our events are open equally to both Buddhists and non-Buddhists aged 18 and over and are held at various UK venues, principally England and Wales but also sometimes in Scotland. 

Walking Meditation on a zen retreat

Alongside group instruction we provide a significant amount of individual instruction through personal interviews with participants. An 'interview' is a private conversation about your meditation practice and any difficulties you are experiencing with it with one of our experienced retreat leaders. Typically each participant will be offered at least one interview opportunity during each shorter retreat and two or three during a retreat of five days or longer. This enables you to get the most out of your retreat by ensuring that you are meditating effectively and adjusting your practice according to your individual experience and circumstances.

Some of our Zen retreats ('sesshin') follow closely the traditional methods of teaching and practice, and others such as our 'Western Zen Retreat' include adaptations to match the Western mind. Our meditation retreats are usually silent retreats. We also hold other events such as conferences, local group day retreats, etc.

Event Calendar

Click to view the retreat details to see whether a retreat is suitable for beginners or whether you need prior retreat experience.

TitleFrom / ToTypeVenue
Core Sutras Weekend in DevonSat 19‑Jul‑2014
Sun 20‑Jul‑2014
OtherHigh Heathercombe, Manaton, Devon
Manchester Day RetreatSun 20‑Jul‑2014Day RetreatElms Community Centre, Manchester
Silent Illumination RetreatFri 25‑Jul‑2014
Sun 03‑Aug‑2014
Residential Retreat
9 Nights
Hourne Farm, E. Sussex
Shattering the Great DoubtFri 05‑Sep‑2014
Sun 14‑Sep‑2014
Residential Retreat
9 Nights
Maenllwyd, Wales
Exeter Day RetreatSat 06‑Sep‑2014Day RetreatPenhayes Lodge, Exeter
Manchester Day RetreatSun 21‑Sep‑2014Day RetreatElms Community Centre, Manchester
Silent Illumination RetreatSat 11‑Oct‑2014
Sat 18‑Oct‑2014
Residential Retreat
7 Nights
Maenllwyd, Wales
From the deluded self to the Bodhisattva mission to help all beingsWed 05‑Nov‑2014
Sun 09‑Nov‑2014
Residential Retreat
4 Nights
Hourne Farm, E. Sussex
Western Zen RetreatSat 08‑Nov‑2014
Thu 13‑Nov‑2014
Residential Retreat
5 Nights
Maenllwyd, Wales
Manchester Day RetreatSun 30‑Nov‑2014Day RetreatElms Community Centre, Manchester
Shattering the Great DoubtSat 06‑Dec‑2014
Sat 13‑Dec‑2014
Residential Retreat
7 Nights
Maenllwyd, Wales
Chan Retreat in DevonFri 12‑Dec‑2014
Sun 14‑Dec‑2014
Residential Retreat
2 Nights
Bala Brook Retreat Centre, Dartmoor

 Click to View more events and retreats which may be of interest to you but which are not organised by WCF.

Core Sutras Weekend in Devon

Saturday 19th July to Sunday 20th July 2014

Venue: High Heathercombe, Manaton, Devon

South Devon group is organising and hosting a Sutra Weekend for South West Groups of WCF and others led by Hugh Carroll.

There will be two days of study on 19th and 20th July 2014, led by Hugh concentrating on the Buddha’s core sutras. Hugh has great experience of the Theravada sutras and has refined his approach over many earlier courses. An opportunity not to be missed.

Non-Residential Day Retreat
Day Retreat

Manchester Day Retreat

Day Retreat, Sunday 20th July

Leader: Simon Child, Venue: Elms Community Centre, Manchester

Manchester Chan Group day retreats ("zazenkai") are led by Simon Child Chuan-fa Jing-hong who is a Dharma heir of Chan Master Sheng-yen. Personal interviews are usually available for those who wish to discuss their Dharma practice with Simon. The main purpose for a day retreat is to provide an extended period of practice, spending the day in silence and doing several sessions of Buddhist meditation.There may be a Dharma talk or practice instruction.

Residential Retreat
Residential Retreat

Silent Illumination Retreat

9-night Residential Retreat, to

Leader: Simon Child, Venue: Hourne Farm, E. Sussex

Silent Illumination is a profound meditation practice which leads to a mind of great calmness and insight, using ancient Chinese Zen methods which are just as applicable to the modern West. Silent Illumination is the origin of the Japanese Soto practice of Shikantaza but is approached somewhat differently and full instruction will be given.

This longer silent retreat is an opportunity to learn and deepen this practice through intensive meditation, with instruction and personal guidance by individual interviews with an experienced teacher. Whether or not a breakthrough to Enlightenment may occur, establishing a practice gives a firm basis for subsequent ongoing mindfulness and compassion in everyday life.

Residential Retreat
Residential Retreat

Shattering the Great Doubt

9-night Residential Retreat, to

Leader: Simon Child, Venue: Maenllwyd, Wales

The ancient Chinese Zen practices of investigating Huatou and Gongan (Koan) are best practised in a supportive environment such as this intensive silent retreat. As one becomes deeply absorbed in the practice, mental constructions drop away and one is confronted by a realisation that one does not know the nature of existence and one's fundamental assumptions of life are groundless. Staying with and cultivating this 'doubt', it can become all-consuming 'Great doubt' which may 'shatter', giving a direct insight into reality which may be what is known as an Enlightenment experience.

Non-Residential Day Retreat
Day Retreat

Exeter Day Retreat

Day Retreat, Saturday 6th September

Leader: Jake Lyne, Venue: Penhayes Lodge, Exeter

The retreat provides an extended period of meditation, spending the day in silence, with a Dharma talk and meditation instruction. Personal interviews are available for those who wish to discuss their Dharma practice with Jake. Lunch is in silence and is provided by each participant bringing vegetarian food to share.

The retreat is free of charge.

Non-Residential Day Retreat
Day Retreat

Manchester Day Retreat

Day Retreat, Sunday 21st September

Leader: Simon Child, Venue: Elms Community Centre, Manchester

Manchester Chan Group day retreats ("zazenkai") are led by Simon Child Chuan-fa Jing-hong who is a Dharma heir of Chan Master Sheng-yen. Personal interviews are usually available for those who wish to discuss their Dharma practice with Simon.

The main purpose for a day retreat is to provide an extended period of practice, spending the day in silence and doing several sessions of Buddhist meditation.There may be a Dharma talk or practice instruction.

Residential Retreat
Residential Retreat

Silent Illumination Retreat

7-night Residential Retreat, to

Leader: Fiona Nuttall, Venue: Maenllwyd, Wales

Silent Illumination is a profound meditation practice which leads to a mind of great calmness and insight, using ancient Chinese Zen methods which are just as applicable to the modern West. Silent Illumination is the origin of the Japanese Soto practice of Shikantaza but is approached somewhat differently and full instruction will be given.

This seven-night silent retreat is an opportunity to learn and deepen this practice through intensive meditation, with instruction and personal guidance by individual interviews with an experienced teacher. Whether or not a breakthrough to Enlightenment may occur, establishing a practice gives a firm basis for subsequent ongoing mindfulness and compassion in everyday life.

Residential Retreat
Residential Retreat

From the deluded self to the Bodhisattva mission to help all beings

4-night Residential Retreat, to

Leader: Ken Jones, Venue: Hourne Farm, E. Sussex

A traveller's guide, employing meditation, guiding talks, playful fellowship with other travellers, personal interviews, and some new outlooks on the Great Matter. All seekers welcome!

Residential Retreat
Residential Retreat

Western Zen Retreat

5-night Residential Retreat, to

Leader: Hilary Richards, Venue: Maenllwyd, Wales

This retreat designed for Westerners enables the mind to face the major paradox - Who am I? The question is investigated within a framework of silent sitting meditation, alternating with a Communication Exercise in which people work in turns with each member of the group to explore this fundamental Koan.

The intensive focus drives each practitioner into a self-presentation that is difficult to experience in other ways. Practitioners are supported through this process by regular personal interviews with the teachers, interviews being offered most days. This method makes use of words to go beyond words and thereby enter the main gate of Chan. The outcome may be a profound journey through the unity of self, and the acceptance of self, to "self at ease". This may possibly lead further to a direct insight into the ground of being. Participants share a rich experience in new self-knowledge, understanding others and the human condition.

Open equally to beginners and established meditators.

Non-Residential Day Retreat
Day Retreat

Manchester Day Retreat

Day Retreat, Sunday 30th November

Leader: Simon Child, Venue: Elms Community Centre, Manchester

Manchester Chan Group day retreats ("zazenkai") are led by Simon Child Chuan-fa Jing-hong who is a Dharma heir of Chan Master Sheng-yen. Personal interviews are usually available for those who wish to discuss their Dharma practice with Simon.

The main purpose for a day retreat is to provide an extended period of practice, spending the day in silence and doing several sessions of Buddhist meditation.There may be a Dharma talk or practice instruction.

Residential Retreat
Residential Retreat

Shattering the Great Doubt

7-night Residential Retreat, to

Leader: Simon Child, Venue: Maenllwyd, Wales

The ancient Chinese Zen practices of investigating Huatou and Gongan (Koan) are best practised in a supportive environment such as this intensive silent retreat. As one becomes deeply absorbed in the practice, mental constructions drop away and one is confronted by a realisation that one does not know the nature of existence and one's fundamental assumptions of life are groundless. Staying with and cultivating this 'doubt', it can become all-consuming 'Great doubt' which may 'shatter', giving a direct insight into reality which may be what is known as an Enlightenment experience.

Residential Retreat
Residential Retreat

Chan Retreat in Devon

2-night Residential Retreat, Friday 12th December to Sunday 14th December 2014

Leader: Jake Lyne, Venue: Bala Brook Retreat Centre, Dartmoor

This is an opportunity to learn the basic techniques of Chan meditation and for experienced practitioners to deepen their practice. The retreat will consist of periods of sitting meditation, walking meditation and exercises. There will be Dharma talks; otherwise the retreat will be held in silence. There will also be and opportunity for private interviews for participants to question and investigate their practice.

(errors and omissions excepted)