What is Chan?

About the group


Jin-Ho's meetings :
(None at the moment)

An Evening with the Chan Group

Where we meet

Bookings Policy

Reading list

Western Chan Fellowship (WCF)

WCF Retreat Programme

Personal Retreats
Hill Farm

Chan Meditation Center (NY)

Chan Meditation Center (Taiwan)

Network of Buddhist Organisations

Dharma words at the time of great tragedy (9/11 but suitable also for more recent events)

Sally Memorabilia


Bristol Chan Group

Jump to Latest News

Original Dharma Advisor: The late Venerable Chan Master Dr. Sheng-yen  (Please see below )
Teacher: Dr John Crook (Ch'uan Teng Chien Ti)
(Please see below )
Visiting nun: Venerable Jin-Ho, from Dharma Drum Mountain, Taiwan 

The Passing of Chan Master John Crook

             16th July 2011 / October 2011

  It is with great sadness and sense of loss that we announce that Chan Master Dr John Crook has died suddenly at his home at Winterhead Hill Farm in Somerset, UK.

  John was the first Western Dharma Heir of the late Chan Master Sheng-yen. He was the founding Teacher of the Western Chan Fellowship which is a lay Chan Buddhist community with members and associates in UK and Europe. He was a pioneer who brought great wisdom and creativity to the translation of Chinese Chan Buddhism into a Western context. Through the establishment of the WCF and the training of its leaders he has ensured that this work will continue.

John's funeral, which was open to all was held on Friday 29th July at Weston-super-Mare crematorium conducted by Rev. Master Daishin Morgan of Throssel Hole Priory. It was a moving occasion attended by many people, Buddhists and non-Buddhists.

John's ashes were scattered by his family at the Maenllywd on September 10th with beautiful and very fitting ceremony. This was  witnessed by many members of the Western Chan Fellowship and other colleagues.

Welcome to the Bristol Chan Group. We are a small loosely-defined group formed in 1989 to practise Chan meditation. ('About the group'). As you'd expect from our name, we are based in Bristol. Chan is the Chinese forerunner of Japanese Zen and we draw on the wisdom and meditation techniques of both traditions. 

We welcome anybody to our meetings who is interested in meditation, whether or not they have meditated before. For details of our weekly meditation evenings and other events please go to 'Meetings'
'An evening with the Chan Group' describes what we do during these meditation evenings. 

We are affiliated to the Western Chan Fellowship , through which we have links with other Chan groups, throughout the UK and Europe and with the  Chan Meditation Center of the Institute of Chung Hwa Buddhist Culture in New York and Dharma Drum Mountain Chan Centre in Taiwan. The WCF runs a programme of 5 and 7 day intensive retreats in a variety of styles at the Maenllywd, a retreat centre in central Wales. See WCF Retreat Programme

We are very pleased to have The Ven. Jin-Ho in our group, a nun from Dharma Drum Mountain who is studying in Bristol. She runs a meditation evenings form time to time at the University of Bristol Chaplaincy at No.1 Woodland Road and weekend one-day retreats. Please see occasional entries in 'Latest News' below about this. 

From time to time, there is a  Dharma Discussion Group,  usually  organised and run by Alysun Jones. Please see occasional entries in 'Latest  News' below about this.

Obviously following John's death, this valuable resource is no longer available. It was very much appreciated by the many of us who stayed there.
Personal retreats under the guidance of John Crook may be undertaken at Winterhead Hill Farm near Shipham in the Mendips, about 45 minutes to drive from Bristol. Follow the link (WHF) or phone 01934 842231 for details.

We actively encourage newcomers to the Bristol Chan Group. If you would like to find out more about it, please telephone :-
Mike Masheder (0117 924 8819) or Pat Simmons (0117 977 4683)

Or email :  enquiries@bristolchan.co.uk (Please mention 'Bristol Chan' in the 'Subject' of your email and please put your message in line rather than as an attachment. This avoids it being deleted as a possible virus carrier or being treated as unwanted spam.)

We are very sorry to announce the passing of our Dharma Advisor, The Venerable Chan Master Dr. Sheng-yen on Monday 2nd Feb. 2009 at Dharma Drum Mountain in Taiwan. He was the mentor and spiritual inspiration for many members of the Western Chan Fellowship. For a fuller account, please see the news panel on the WCF website at WCF. 

Latest News (9th April
2012) :-

  • See above for the announcement of the passing of our teacher and spiritual guide, John Crook.

  • We are very sorry to have to announce the passing of Alec Lawless, a long-standing member of the Western Chan Fellowship and a friend to many of us. He was killed in an accident  on a boat in Turkey on Monday 26th March. His funeral is to be on Sunday 15th April at the Memorial Woodlands near Bristol. Please ask if you need to know more about this event.
  • On Sunday, April 29th, we will be going on our annual spring walk followed by a nice tea. This year we will be walking in the Mendips near to Wells. You can download the details in a flyer at  Walk - pdf  or  Walk- docx
  • As a way of keeping in touch with the various groups of the WCF, John Crook wrote a number of Teisho. Of these he writes "The idea of these Teisho (short talks/sermons) is for you to read them verbatim to your group meeting on a suitable occason to stimulate thought, meditation and discussion then -- or subsequently."  We have used these at some of our Wednesday meditation evenings. The texts are available in pdf files at
    Teisho one  ;  Teisho two  ;  Teisho three  ;  Teisho four  ; Teishio five  ;  Teisho six   ;  Teisho seven  ; Teisho nine
    Teisho ten ; Teisho eleven ; Teisho twelve ;
    John issued two teishos for the new year, 2010/11
    First New Year Teisho ;
    Second New Year Teisho
    (Not sure what happened to number 8 !)

  • New Chan Forum is always available. To download, go to NCF  and Click the 'more' under NCF44 to reveal the link to the pdf file. The current issue is number 44  

    Events in the recent past - last year or so :

  • In the past John Crook has given us a series of talks at our Wednesday evening meetings during the autumn or winter. Clearly he was not able to do  that this year, so we were very pleased that Hilary Richards gave a Dharma talk on Weds 14th December with the title 'Silent Illumnation in Everyday Life.' This talk was recorded,

  • Our weekend conference, " Western Buddhism: Engaged Buddhism ?", hosted by the Western Chan Fellowship and the Bristol Chan Group was on October 29th/30th 2011.  
    We had several major speakers including David Loy and Jan Willis from the USA.  A wide range of perspectives were presented and these were brought into focus by some participatory work. Was it successful? Well, we never know how these events change people's lives or how they think, but certainly many said they found the weekend inspiring and useful. Recordings of the talks will be availble on the WCF website and print version in New Chan Forum. In the meantime you can see the programme here.
  • On 3rd and 4th September 2011 , we held a weekend of 'sitting' and teachings on the 'Six Paramitas' led by Kaiyo Diana Gerard of the San Fransisco Zen Center.  It was an enjoyable, interesting and usual weekend.
  • On Tuesday May 3rd, Andy Ferguson gave us a most interesting illustrated talk:  "Toward a New Understanding of Bodhidharma".  Amongst other things it gave me (MRWM) a new perspective on the oft-related conversation between Bodhidharma and the Emperor Wu, and the stark differences in their understanding of Buddhism. If you wish to know more, the track down his books, one of which, "Zen's Chinese Heritage", is due to be reissued in the autumn.

  • On Sunday 13th February 2011, there was a meeting in memory of our teacher, Master Sheng-yen who died two years ago. This was in response to a request from Dharma Drum Mountain, founded by him in Taiwan. The idea was that there would be memorial events throughout the world during the weekend of the anniversary of his funeral. Our event was held at Winterhead Hill Farm, the home of John Crook. 
    Because the group as a whole and several individual members had experienced significant bereavements over the past 18 months, we made this an occasion for general remembrance of other people dear to us who have died. [Oct 2011] This is now especially poignant given that we have just lost John as well.


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Last update on  2012 Apr 09