Silent Illumination Retreat

Silent Illumination Retreat

7-night Residential Retreat

7:00pm Saturday 1st October to
10:30am Saturday 8th October 2016

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.

Previous experience of a residential retreat is recommended but serious beginners are also accepted.

email: secretary(at)

Leader: Fiona Nuttall

Fiona Nuttall, Zhi-jing Fa-hong, is the first Dharma Heir of Simon Child. Fiona trained with John Crook and Simon Child from the 1990's, and is Chair of the WCF committee. She has been leading retreats for WCF since 2007.

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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