Event Calendar


Western Zen Retreat

5-night Residential Retreat

7:00pm Saturday 5th November to
2:30pm Thursday 10th November 2016

Leader: Simon Child

Venue: Maenllwyd, Wales

Who am I? Thoroughly confronting this question can take us directly to the centre of our being. Over the course of this five-day retreat you will investigate the question "Who am I?" within a standard retreat framework, using silent meditation in conjunction with a unique method of verbal inquiry. This format allows you to use words to go beyond words and thereby enter the main gate of Chan.

The intensive nature of this process of inquiry drives each practitioner into a self-presentation that is difficult to experience in other ways. To guide and support you, personal interviews with the teachers are offered regularly throughout the retreat. With whole-hearted engagement this retreat may lead to the acceptance of self, the experience of "self at ease," and may even provide an opportunity for direct insight into the ground of being.

Open equally to beginners and established meditators.
email: secretary(at)westernchanfellowship.org

Leader: Simon Child

Chan Master Simon Child, Jing-hong Chuan-fa, Guiding Teacher of the Western Chan Fellowship, is the third Dharma Heir of the late Chan Master Sheng Yen. Simon trained for over thirty years with both Dr John Crook and Master Sheng Yen, and was the Secretary of the Western Chan Fellowship from its founding until his appointment as Guiding Teacher in 2011.

Simon is married with two adult sons. His main career was as a GP, and he now works part-time for the National Health Service as a Clinical Informatics Advisor.

Maenllwyd, Wales

Maenllwyd is an old farm-building, several hundred years old in parts, in a remote valley in mid-Wales, UK. Modernisation extends to mains water only. There is no electricity, and no telephone, and no reception for mobile phones. Heat and light come from candles, gas and paraffin lamps, fires, and gas or paraffin stoves. No one passes by except occasional local sheep-farmers with their flocks. It provides an ideal environment for intensive meditation practice, which is the main emphasis of our retreats. The centre is not open to casual visitors, only for pre-booked residential retreats. We give full travel details on booking.

The meditation hall (Chan hall) is kept clean and dry and warm. It is a converted barn which enjoys the benefit of a modern wood-burning stove that both keeps the hall warm and fuels the hot showers. It also boasts modern, eco-friendly, composting toilets.

Sleeping accommodation is basic, the nearest equivalent being a sleeping barn as used by the YHA. Several people of the same sex sleep in close proximity, each with their own low bed and mattress. Typically this will be in the eaves of one of the main buildings with the roof beams visible above, and such areas can be draughty and dusty. Heating in these areas is minimal and this requires you to have adequate warm sleeping-bags and blankets along with warm night-clothing. Autumn, winter and spring can be surprisingly cold in these Welsh hills.

The yard is a traditional farmyard, and can be muddy in wet weather. Wellingtons or boots are advised for this area and for walks on the hillside.

Vegetarian food is cooked for us by an imaginative Zen cook, using fresh and largely organic supplies, and bread and cakes are made on the premises. Special diets can be catered for if the cook is advised in advance.

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