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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Great Plains Zen Center has cancelled in person events at all of our sites until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Great Plains Zen Center in Monroe WI
GPZC at Countryside Church in Palatine, IL
Beloit Zen Community
Zen Sitting Group DeKalb
Logan Square Zendo

In place of the in person events, we invite you to attend:

• Online sitting (two periods of zazen) every Sunday evening from 7:00 – 8:30 PM followed by a brief check in.

• Online sitting every Tuesday and Thursday morning 6:15-6:45 AM followed by a brief check in.

• Online sitting every Wednesday and Friday morning 5:45-6:15 AM followed by a brief check in.

Please note that Tuesday and Thursday morning times have changed to 6:15 AM (was previously 7 AM) to accommodate those who need to leave for work earlier.

Please subscribe to our newsletter here to get information on how to connect to our online sittings.

The necessity of having sitting online creates the unexpected opportunity for members and friends from all locations to sit together and participate in the Sunday night discussion and weekday morning check-ins. Please join us!

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Please see our calendar to view upcoming events in 2019.

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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.