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Nicole’s original events page for reference

Western Zen Retreat

October 14-19, 2016

Led by

Rebecca Li,

Simon Child

and Hilary Richards

photo by Chang Hu Fashi
photo by Chang Hu Fashi

“Who am I?” Thoroughly confronting this question can take us directly to the center 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.

This retreat was developed by the Western Chan Fellowship (WCF) founded by the late Dr. John Crook, an English Dharma heir of Master Sheng Yen. The retreat is designed for individuals who have received a Western education, and are currently led by Dr. Simon Child and the WCF faculty.

Simon Child’s talks and participant retreat reports


Friday, October 14, 2016 – check-in 4:00-6:00pm


Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – 10:00 am




Registration opens in July


October 11

NOTE: Because numerous private interviews are included in the design of this retreat and the teachers want to ensure that each participant receives adequate attention, admission is limited, so please apply early.

Hemera Financial Aid

Sample Retreat Schedule

(subject to some variation from day to day)

5:00 morning boards
5:20 tea
5:25 exercises
5:35 meditation practice
6:40 morning service
7:15 breakfast
7:40 work period
8:30 rest
9:00 Dharma Talk
10:00 meditation practice
12:00 lunch
12:30 work period
1:15 rest
1:45 meditation practice
3:00 walk
3:45 tea
4:05 mantra
4:45 meditation practice
5:50 action meditation
7:00 supper
7:30 rest
8:30 meditation practice
9:45 end
10:00 lights out

Rebecca Li PhD


Rebecca began practicing in 1995, and attended her first seven-day intensive retreat with Chan Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Retreat Center (DDRC), in the following year. Since then she has attended numerous intensive Chan retreats. In 1999 after moving to New Jersey she began translating for Master Sheng Yen. In the same year, she began her training with the Master to become a Dharma and meditation instructor. Currently, she teaches meditation and Dharma classes and gives public lectures at the Chan Meditation Center (CMC) and leads retreats at CMC & DDRC. She has been training with Simon Child since 2008 to conduct retreat interviews and has been assisting in his intensive retreats since 2012. Along with her husband David Slaymaker, Rebecca leads Chan practice at Rutgers University and the New Jersey chapter of DDMBA and teaches on behalf of Dharma Drum in various community activities in the NJ-NY area. Rebecca is a board member of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center and a professor of sociology.

Simon Child


Simon Child received Dharma Transmission from Master Sheng Yen in 2000 and is the principal Teacher of the Western Chan Fellowship, a lay Chan organisation based in the UK. Resident in England he is married with two adult sons. His main career has been as a family doctor and he now works part-time in Clinical Informatics. Simon started his training with John Crook in 1981 and trained with Chan Master Sheng Yen from 1992. His teaching approach uses the orthodox methods of Chan Master Sheng Yen and also some adaptations to help the Western personality engage with traditional practice.

Hilary Richards


Resident in UK, has been practicing in the Chan tradition since the mid 1980s. She has trained with Shifu in the US and also with John Crook and Simon Child in the UK. She is past Chair of the Western Chan Fellowship and leads retreats for the Fellowship at Maenllwyd in mid Wales.