Visit from Buddhist Literature Class

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Natalie Gummer and the students of her Interpreting Buddhist Literature class from Beloit College on Saturday, November 4 at Myoshinji. The class will have the opportunity to see how Buddhist scripture can be used as liturgy, as a guide to actualizing practice in everyday life and as a focus of practice itself. Dr. Gummer’s academic specialty is in the Mahayana Buddhist sutras.

Beloit College Students Visit Myoshinji

On Saturday, October 28, 22 students and 2 faculty members from Beloit College attended a half-day workshop at Myoshinji including zazen, discussion and a modified oryoki lunch. The visit was organized by Bill Conover, Director of the Spiritual Life Program at Beloit. Many attendees were from Dr. Alfred “Roc” Ordman’s “Biochemical Issues: Nerve Signalling” class. Dr. Ordman uses His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s The Universe in a Single Atom as one of the texts and includes meditation as part of this upper level biochemistry course. The students enthusiastically participated in the workshop, asking insightful questions Myoyu Roshi was asked to provide guidance for an on-campus sitting group being established by Bill Conover.

August--October Newsletter Ready for Download

[Please note, some calendar events have been updated since publication of the newsletter. For an up-to-date calendar, please go directly to our calendar page. --Gendo, 9-17-06]

The August—October 2006 installment of our newsletter is chock full of news, a printable calendar of events, and membership pledge and sesshin registrations forms. To download, just click here.

Please note that in an effort to conserve resources and save on production and postage costs, the Great Plains Zen Center Sangha Newsletter is moving to electronic delivery as the default mode. We recently sent an email to everyone in our database for whom we have an e-mail address and informed them that we are converting to electronic delivery (.pdf files). If you did not receive that e-mail, please send your current email address to:

Roshi to Lead Workshop on Forgiveness in St. Paul, Minnesota

Roshi will lead a workshop on Forgiveness from a Buddhist perspective at the Clouds in Water Zen Center, St. Paul, Minnesota on Saturday, August 12, from 9:00–3:00. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about a process of forgiveness based on the work of Robert Enright, Ph D., as experienced from a Buddhist perspective. Journaling, reflection and small group discussion will be used to help participants experience the forgiveness process. Please visit for more information or to register. Please contact Great Plains Zen Center at gpzc@greatplainszen if you wo

Tokudo Ceremony in Ludington, Michigan

Congratulations to John Gendo Wolff on becoming a Buddhist priest. The ceremony took place on July 15, 2006 during the Great Wave Zen Center sesshin in Ludington, Michigan. Members of the Great Wave presented Gendo with a beautiful series of banners of each of the 10 Ox-Herding Pictures painted by artist Rebecca Mott with assistance from Sangha members.

The banners now hang in the Sangha room at the Zendo.


Roshi Receives Inka

Susan Myoyu Andersen, Roshi, spiritual director of GPZC, and several of her fellow teachers, recently received Inka Shomei ("Legitimate Seal of Clearly Furnished Proof"). Myoyu Roshi received Shiho from Maezumi Roshi in 1995, giving her permission to teach in our Soto lineage which comes through Hakujun Kuroda Roshi. This Inka ceremony grants final approval in our Rinzai lineage through Musa Koryu Roshi, another one of Maezumi Roshi's teachers.

Dennis Genpo Merzel, Roshi, President of the White Plum Asanga, wrote, "I am very pleased to announce that on April 30th, Jan Chozen Bays, Nicolee Jikyo McMahon, Charles Tenshin Fletcher, and Susan Myoyu Andersen received Inka from me at the White Plum meeting held at Shishin and Shinko's lovely new Zendo. It was wonderful to be a part of Maezumi Roshi's great effort and dream."

The White Plum meeting was hosted by Shishin Roshi and Shinko Sensei at the Great Mountain Zen Center in Lafeyette, Colorado. The lineage, which has been growing nicely, now has a total of 53 teachers who have received transmission from Maezumi Roshi or his successors.

Congratulations to all!

May Newsletter

The May newsletter is now available in PDF format. This issue contains information on retreats and workshops through July, as well as our Ango Commitment form. Ango literally means "peaceful dwelling," and this year will last from May 1 through August 6th. Ango is a time to deepen our commitment to practice--to attend retreats and other activities, offer dana, study the precepts, or simply to commit to a regular weekly schedule of zazen. To complete your form and to read about other Center activities, just click here.

New Introduction to Zen Practice Workshops!

If you are new to Zen or to the Great Plains Zen Center, please think about attending one of our Introduction to Zen Practice Workshops. Workshops run for three hours on a Saturday and are followed by an optional lunch. To find out more, go to our workshops page.

Pay Membership Dues Online

A new feature recently added to our evolving website is the ability to pay monthly membership dues online. Membership dues are essential for the ongoing work of the Great Plains Zen Center, and we hope that this convenient means of payment will help you support the Center regularly each month. To pay your dues with a credit or debit card, just go to the membership page.

New Website Features

We're pleased to announce that as of December 31, 2005, anyone with a credit or debit card can make online donations to the Great Plains Zen Center. Just click the "Dana (Giving)" link in the left-hand column.

We're also happy to report that it is now possible to register online for sesshins, zazenkai, and other events. Just go to our calendar page, and you will see information on how to do it. For those of you who still wish to register by snail mail, that too is possible by printing our mail-in registration form right off the site.

We hope you find these new features helpful as we enter a new year of practice together.