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

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 520-390-4668 for details.

Zen Meditation Groups

We have Chan 775-205-4135 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 Guiding Teacher, Chan Master Simon Child, 淨宏傳法 Jing-hong Chuan-fa, 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

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...

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The WCF retreat programme tends to fill up quickly, but there are other Chan retreats available. Often these are run by WCF or DDM leaders, but as they are not run by WCF nor on the WCF programme they are listed separately from WCF retreats. We hope to publish the WCF programme for the rest of 2018 fairly soon, but in the meantime don't forget to also check this list of additional retreats when...
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The European Buddhist Union (EBU) has issued a statement condemning the recent and ongoing violence in Myanmar. The Western Chan Fellowship CIO is a member of EBU and joins in that statement and commends it to our readers. / A large group of Buddhist teachers in USA have issued a similar statement and are encouraging support for...
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From 1st July 2017 Western Chan Fellowship, registered charity 1068637, is winding down its operations and passing its activities and assets to a new charity with a similar name and objects, Western Chan Fellowship CIO, registered charity number 1166162. If you have an outstanding retreat booking with Western Chan Fellowship then it has been transferred automatically to Western Chan Fellowship...
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In terms of our ceremonies, as lay practitioners, we only undertake a small part of what occurs in monastic communities, but, as with everything, we need to examine and question what it is that we actually do. We need to discover the larger sense of...

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Meditation, spirituality and religion can work together; however, they can also work apart. We can meditate as if doing a technical exercise, engaging neither spirituality nor religion. Meditation works then on the psychological level, similarly to...
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John Crook used to like to say that the essence of Chan is self-confrontation. I’ve already spoken about Dogen’s saying, “to study the Buddha way is to study the self ”. And on the first evening here a few of you mentioned you came here to understand...
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We introduce Simon Child’s second dharma heir, Rebecca Li, interviewed by Skype from New York in January 2017. She edited the text and added some content that was not covered in the interview.

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Meditation itself cannot be replaced by any words that can be said about it. But before setting off on a journey, it is worth having a look at a map. Meditation means investigating the mind: observing it and its phenomena directly and non-verbally....
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