Welcome to Great Plains Zen Center

The Great Plains Zen Center is a Soto Zen Buddhist temple and community with locations in both the northwest suburbs of Chicago and southern Wisconsin. We are part of the White Plum Asanga, a worldwide network of Zen centers established by Taizan Maezumi Roshi and his Dharma Successors. Our teacher is Susan Myoyu Andersen, Roshi, one of Maezumi Roshi's twelve original Dharma successors.

The Great Plains Zen Center's retreat center and main facility, Myoshinji (Subtle Mind Temple) is located near the town of Monroe in rural Green County, Wisconsin. Great Plains Zen Center is also active in the Chicago area, with regular zazen and other events at Countryside Church in Palatine, Illinois.

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For this summer of 2022, everyone is invited to complete an Ango Commitment Form describing your practice commitment for the 90-day period from June 1 through August 28. As in prior years, this is an opportunity for you to intensify your practice during this time through a commitment to daily zazen, monthly retreat, practice with the precepts, the Three Tenets, engaged Buddhist practice, and more. Read more here.

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Sunday evening sitting at 7 PM has resumed in person at Countryside Church, 1025 N. Smith St., Palatine. You can also attend this sitting online. See below for Zoom link. The schedule continues as before, with zazen from 7:00 – 7:30, kinhin from 7:30-7:40 and zazen from 7:40 – 8:10. Dokusan will generally be available during these sittings. Instruction will be available during the first period of zazen for anyone new to sitting. As before, online participation will be an option (see below). Note the following COVID-related precautions for those attending in person:

  • We are requiring that anyone attending in person be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and will require proof of vaccination. We strongly recommend also having the booster shot, but do not require it.
  • Anyone providing proof of medical contra-indication (i.e. a letter from their doctor) for the COVID vaccine (or booster, should we require it in the future) can provide proof of a negative molecular COVID test (NAAT, PCR, etc., not an antigen test) within 72 hours prior to attendance in lieu of vaccine.
  • Participants will be seated 6 feet apart and asked to maintain social distancing when possible.
  • Participants must wear N95, KN95 or KF94 grade masks and will be provided with one if they do not bring one.
For the summer ango, starting May 31, online sitting will be expanded to 4 days per week: Tuesday through Friday mornings. The time will be changed to 6AM (formerly 6:15) for all days.
There is one zazen period opening with the Gatha of Atonement and Three Refuges and ending with the Verse of the Kesa. A brief check-in follows.

Use the following Zoom link and meeting ID to connect to all morning sittings:

Meeting ID: 389 549 801
To dial in by phone, call: 312 626 6799 and enter the above meeting ID when prompted.

Basic protocol for morning sittings: At the start of sitting, we chant the Gatha of Atonement and Three Refuges and we end the sitting with the Verse of the Kesa, as we do during retreats. Please turn off audio during chanting. Turn off video and audio during sitting periods. Please turn video and audio on for check-in following.

Sunday evenings at 7 PM: To join the Sunday evening sittings in Palatine virtually, use this zoom link:
Meeting ID: 744 106 602
Dial in: 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

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Please see our calendar to view upcoming events in 2022.

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, along with other important news.



All are welcome

For those attending for the first time at Myoshinji (Monroe, WI) or Countryside Church in Palatine, we offer brief beginning instruction on regular sitting nights and a monthly three-hour Introduction to Zen workshop. More information for those new to practice can be found on our Starting Zen Practice page. We also offer an Introduction to Zen Practice, available as a PDF download.

Opportunities to practice

The Great Plains Zen Center offers regular meditation (zazen, or "sitting") periods every Sunday at 7:00 PM at Countryside Unitarian Universalist Church, located at 1025 N. Smith Street in Palatine, Illinois. At Myoshinji, located at W7762 Falk Rd. Monroe, Wisconsin, zazen is offered Wednesday through Friday evenings and Friday and Saturday mornings.

We hold a variety of special events and retreats throughout the year, many of which are open to families, children and community members. Workshops and other scheduled events may be found on our calendar page, and we publish a quarterly newsletter as well.

The Zen Center provides a number of other practice opportunities for a wide range of individual interests, including a monthly fusatsu, or Renewal of Vows service (everyone is welcome whether or not they have formally taken the Buddhist vows); Introduction to Zen Practice workshops; periodic retreats, ranging from 2 days (zazenkai) to 3-7 days (sesshin), including Beginner's Mind sesshin, for those attending their first retreat. We provide resources and opportunities to support your practice at home as well. We also feature monthly dharma talks (teisho) by our teacher, Susan Myoyu Andersen, Roshi and senior students. Detailed information can be found on our calendar and Starting Zen Practice pages.

We have two affiliate groups: the Great Wave Zen Sangha, a center located in Ludington, Michigan where the resident teacher is Myoyu Roshi's first Dharma successor, Gendo Wolff, Sensei and the Logan Square Zendo in Chicago.

We hope you find encouragement and support for your practice at the Great Plains Zen Center.

Inclusion Statement

Recognizing that systems of power, privilege, and oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories, Great Plains Zen Center strives to foster a climate of purposeful inclusion of all people. We pledge to do all we can to replace such barriers with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We strive to be a congregation that truly welcomes all persons and commits to structuring congregational life in ways that empower and enhance everyone’s participation.