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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
Shattering the Great DoubtSat 26‑Apr‑2014
Sat 03‑May‑2014
Residential Retreat
7 Nights
Maenllwyd, Wales
Portsmouth Day RetreatSun 04‑May‑2014Day Retreat
Compassion and Wisdom: Wings of the Same BirdFri 09‑May‑2014
Sun 11‑May‑2014
Residential Retreat
2 Nights
Hourne Farm, E. Sussex
Western Zen RetreatSat 10‑May‑2014
Thu 15‑May‑2014
Residential Retreat
5 Nights
Maenllwyd, Wales
Manchester Day RetreatSun 11‑May‑2014Day RetreatElms Community Centre, Manchester
Connected PracticeSun 18‑May‑2014
Thu 29‑May‑2014
Other
Silent Illumination RetreatWed 18‑Jun‑2014
Wed 25‑Jun‑2014
Residential Retreat
7 Nights
Bala Brook Retreat Centre, Dartmoor
How to Travel the Great WaySat 28‑Jun‑2014
Thu 03‑Jul‑2014
Residential Retreat
5 Nights
Maenllwyd, Wales
Introducing MahamudraFri 11‑Jul‑2014
Sun 13‑Jul‑2014
OtherRoselidden Farm, Helston, Cornwall
Core Sutras Weekend in DevonFri 18‑Jul‑2014
Sat 19‑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
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
Weekend Chan (Zen) RetreatFri 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.

Residential Retreat
Residential Retreat

Shattering the Great Doubt

7-night Residential Retreat, Saturday 26th April to Saturday 3rd May 2014

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

Portsmouth Day Retreat

Day Retreat, Sunday 4th May

Our Day Retreat will start at 8.00am on May 4th and end by 4.00pm.

The morning will be silent meditation. After a silent lunch a walk by the sea and some talk, followed by a meditation and closing ceremony.

Residential Retreat
Residential Retreat

Compassion and Wisdom: Wings of the Same Bird

2-night Residential Retreat, Friday 9th May to Sunday 11th May 2014

Leader: Jake Lyne, Venue: Hourne Farm, E. Sussex

Teaching will be given on the method of Silent Illumination, a profound meditation practice that leads to a mind of great calmness and insight, using ancient Chinese Zen methods that are applicable in the modern world. To be compassionate we need to be silent enough to hear another and to act on compassion we need a mind that is illuminated with the energy and clarity that wisdom brings. In Silent Illumination, these qualities develop together.

This silent retreat is an opportunity to learn and deepen this practice - all welcome.

Residential Retreat
Residential Retreat

Western Zen Retreat

5-night Residential Retreat, to

Leader: Fiona Nuttall, 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 11th May

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.

Connected Practice

Sunday 18th May to Thursday 29th May 2014

Enhance 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 capacity to be aware in our daily lives. A Mindfulness Bell will be rung at noon every day, when all participants may pause and be joined in the silence that the bell marks. Members of our Sangha may use this opportunity in different and creative ways. Open to all.

Residential Retreat
Residential Retreat

Silent Illumination Retreat

7-night Residential Retreat, to

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

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

How to Travel the Great Way

5-night Residential Retreat, to

Leader: Ken Jones, Venue: Maenllwyd, Wales

This retreat will cover the whole span of Chan (Zen) practice, from the beginnings of belief to the opening to wisdom and active compassion in the world. Through lively social interaction and body work it will draw on the radical teachings of Eihei Dogen, the great 13th century Zen sage, and no less on the ups and downs of our everyday lives -- "straw into gold". It will range from a warm hearted liturgy and an opening to landscape to personal guiding interviews.

Both beginners and experienced practitioners are welcome.

Introducing Mahamudra

Friday 11th July to Sunday 13th July 2014

Venue: Roselidden Farm, Helston, Cornwall

Leader: Sophie Muir

Memorial retreat marking 3 years since the death of Dr John Crook.

(Event also held in respect of Teachings to have been given in Cornwall by Ven. Lama Chime Rinpoche, July 13th, before his year-long retreat was announced, following the death of Akong Rinpoche).

"To realize Mahamudra is really true freedom" (LCR).

Through the Four Yogas we will explore Mahamudra - how it may enrich our practice and the Path.

Core Sutras Weekend in Devon

Friday 18th July to Saturday 19th 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

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

Weekend Chan (Zen) Retreat

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)