September 2018 Newsletter

Great Plains Zen Center's Wisdom Heart Prairie is ablaze with color this month -- especially the yellows of goldenrods, grey-headed coneflower, rosinweed, prairie dock, and false sunflower. Many thanks to all those who have helped with controlling aggressive species, burns, and planting. More native species are appearing with each year and the prairie is home to many birds, animals and insects as well.

We are continuing to send our newsletter on a monthly basis to all those on our email list. Remember that at any time, you can change your preferences by clicking on the update preferences link at the bottom of this email to confirm your name and email address and tell us your preferences for future emails and which of our practice locations you would like to receive event information for.

You can download our August-October 2018 calendar here.

In this Newsletter:


Great Plains Zen Center offers intensive meditation retreats (sesshin or zazenkai) every month. We recommend that you attend an Introductory Workshop prior to participating in a retreat unless you have had prior instruction and experience in meditation. Part time participation in a retreat is allowed.

Beginner’s Mind Sesshin September 21-23: This retreat is especially designed for those who are attending a retreat with us for the first time, but all are welcome to attend. Instruction in all practice activities is offered throughout the day, including taking meals in the formal 3-bowl oryoki style, sitting and walking meditation, retreat procedures and liturgy. All participants will have the opportunity to meet with our teacher, Myoyu Roshi, for individual guidance during the weekend. Participants are encouraged to arrive by 5 PM for an informal dinner and instruction before the retreat begins formally at 8 PM.

The retreat runs Friday evening through Sunday morning, 9/21-23. The cost for this retreat is $75 for both members and nonmembers. This fee includes lodging and all meals. Attending an Introductory Workshop prior to the retreat is encouraged unless you have had prior (in person) instruction in meditation. Regular meditation practice at home (at least several times per week) will help you be prepared for this retreat. Register here.

Consider staying after the retreat for the workshop with Tiokasin Ghosthorse and Jadina Lilien (below)

Dates for Upcoming Retreats and registration links:


Beloit Zen Community reopens Monday, September 10 on Beloit College Campus We meet every Monday from 4-5:30 PM with zazen (meditation) and discussion. All are welcome to come and participate, not only those affiliated with the college. Whatever your religious affiliation (or not), experience or interest in meditation, we'd love to have you. Instruction provided for those who are new to meditation. Held in the Spirituality Room in the basement of Pearsons Hall. For more information, please contact Bill New.

Click here for a campus map. Information about parking: Visitors are welcome to park in any available space. Street parking most convenient to Middle College (Admissions Office location) and the academic side of campus is open along Chapin Street, College Street, and Bushnell. There is additional street and lot parking throughout and around campus, most of which is unrestricted.

Gathering Story, a workshop with Tiokasin Ghosthorse and Jadina Lilien September 23, 10AM - 12 , GPZC, W7762 Falk Rd., Monroe, WI 53566 Join us as these two extraordinary and gifted presenters invite us to deepen our relationship with our ancestors and Mother Earth. Workshop includes guided meditation and a group Constellation with Jadina, discussion and cedar flute played by Tiokasin. Suggested donation is $40 with sliding scale. All proceeds go to Tiokasin and Jadina. Vegetarian lunch following. Register here.

Tiokasin Ghosthorse is a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation of South Dakota and has a long history with Indigenous activism and advocacy. Tiokasin is the Founder, Host and Executive Producer of First Voices Radio (formerly “First Voices Indigenous Radio”) for the last 26 years in New York City and Seattle/Olympia, Washington. He recently received a Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize 2016 from the International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy. He is currently a Nominee for a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship 2018 and a National Native American Hall of Fame Nominee 2018. He is a “perfectly flawed human being.” A master musician and teacher of magical, ancient and modern sounds, Tiokasin performs worldwide. He serves on boards of several charitable organizations dedicated to bringing non-western education to Native and non-Native children. His upcoming book, Earth Mind, is due to be released November 2018.

Jadina Lilien leads workshops in Systemic Constellations nationally and internationally. Some words participants used to describe their feelings after the workshop were: inspired, content, alive with a wonder and creativity that was familiar but had been forgotten. When doing the Constellations, Jadina is able to be present with participants in a way that helps them take steps forward, untangling knots, and being free to access their own relationships to Source, living a deeper beauty behind the story they are presently constellating. Jadina's training in Family Constellation was with the Bert Hellinger Institute (USA) and many other international teachers. Jadina trained in theater, painting and photography at the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston, receiving an MFA at NYU. Since then, her art work and films have been shown in galleries in the US and Europe. Jadina and Tiokasin are co-authors of the art book Butterfly Against the Wind with words and images reflecting teachings of the Lakota Nation, released in 2016/2017. CreativeConstellations.NET

Personal Collective Ancestors Earth
What are we creating?


Introduction to Zen Practice Workshops:

Great Plains Zen Center offers monthly IntroductoryWorkshops especially for those new to practice. The workshops provide basic, practical information including how to do zazen (Zen meditation), how to establish a home practice, how to make everyday activities practice, the aims of practice, and what programs are available for practice through GPZC.

Upcoming Introductory Workshops at GPZC, W7762 Falk Rd, Monroe, WI 53566:

All workshops take place 8:30-11:30. Register here:

Upcoming Introductory Workshops at Countryside UU Church, 1025 N. Smith St., Palatine, IL:

All workshops take place 8:30 – 11:30 followed by vegetarian lunch. Register here:

Fusatsu (Renewal of Vows)

All are welcome to join us for monthly Renewal of Vows ceremonies. We begin with a short meditation followed by a council circle. Council is a practice that teaches us to speak and listen from the heart. Fusatsu ends with a chanting ceremony. Upcoming dates are as follows:

  • No fusatsu in September
  • October 21 7 PM (Palatine)
  • November 18 7 PM (Palatine)
  • December 30 7 PM (Palatine)

Gate of Sweet Nectar

In this ceremony, the main liturgy of Zen Peacemakers, we offer nourishment to those who are forgotton, marginalized and not cared for. The ceremony includes raising the Bodhi Mind and inviting all those who hunger to partake in a meal to ease their distress and includes singing, chanting and musical instruments. Participants are asked to bring non-perishable food items which will be taken to the local food pantry after the ceremony. Upcoming dates are as follows:

  • September 9 7 PM (Palatine)
  • October 7 7 AM (Monroe – following October sesshin but open to all)
  • November 11 7 AM (Monroe- following sesshin but open to all)

Teisho (Public Talks by Myoyu Roshi)

  • September 22 10:30 AM (Monroe – during September sesshin but open to all)
  • October 28 7 PM (Palatine)
  • November 10 10:30 AM (Monroe - during zazenkai but open to all)


No registration or fee is required to attend weekly sitting at any location.

Great Plains Zen Center, Monroe, WI

  • Zazen at 5:30 AM and 7 PM on Fridays.
  • Chanting service at 8:30 AM followed by Zazen at 9 on Saturdays
  • For those new to practice, a brief orientation is offered during the first sitting period.

Palatine, IL at CCUU

  • Zazen at 7 PM on Sunday nights. For those new to practice, a brief orientation is offered during the first sitting period. Join us for informal tea and chat at 6:15 on 8/12, 9/16 & 10/14.

Beloit Zen Community (on Beloit College campus)

  • Monday afternoons at 4:00 PM beginning September 10. Zazen and discussion held in the Spirituality Room, Pearsons Hall at Beloit College. For information, please contact Bill New.

Logan Square Zendo, Chicago

  • Zazen every Tuesday night at 8 PM. For those new to practice, a brief orientation is offered during the first sitting period.


  • Narrative Identity Workshop presented by Matthew Dewar, Ed. D. October 27 9-5 PM. Our everyday sense of who we are is a narrative uniting our past, present, and future. This storied self is a collage of characters, conflicts, values, beliefs, and themes. Reflecting on our “narrative identity” can reveal assumptions about who we are and how the world works. More importantly, it can reveal story lines that ultimately affirm or negate our well-being. In this workshop, we will explore the stories we live with the intent of better understanding who we are and what is possible for our lives. Matthew Dewar, Ed. D. is the founder of JOURNEY 30K. He is also a high school teacher, well-being coordinator, and learning facilitator who has designed and implemented teacher professional development and school wellness curricula, including mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for faculty and students. He is the author of Education and Well-Being: An Ontological Inquiry. $60 for members, $75 for non-members. Register here.
  • Your Footsteps are the Path: Buddha's Teaching on Life and Suffering with Myoyu Roshi. November – April. In this 12 session course, we will look at the Four Noble Truths (including the Eightfold Path), the fundamental teachings of the Buddha, as they unfold in our own lives. What kinds of suffering are we experiencing? How are we contributing to them? Is it possible to end or lessen this suffering and if so, how?

    The class will meet about every two weeks for a hour and a half via online platform and in person at Great Plains Zen Center in Monroe. To accommodate everyone's schedule, there will be two sections --- one meeting Sundays from 1-2:30 PM and the other Wednesday evenings 7-8:30 PM. Participants can vary attendance (i.e. attending on a Sunday sometimes and a Wednesday at other times) according to their schedule. Attendance at all classes is not mandatory, however participants are asked to commit to the self-reflection assignments.
    Dates for Section 1 (Sundays 1-2:30 PM) are Nov. 4 and 18, Dec. 2 and 16, Jan. 6 and 20, Feb. 3 and 17, Mar. 3 and 17, April 14 and 28.
    Dates for Section 2 (Wednesday 7-8:30 PM) are Nov. 7 and 21, Dec. 12 and 19, Jan. 9 and 23, Feb. 6 and 20, Mar. 6 and 20, April 10 and 24.

    Class periods will consist of some short talks by Myoyu Roshi, guided exercises and sharing. Participants will be encouraged to do the self-reflection assignments with as much self compassion and honesty as possible, but need only share in class what they feel comfortable with. The class will focus on helping each of us to see our life unfolding as the Eightfold Path. We will use The Noble Eightfold Path. The Way to the End of Suffering by Bikkhu Bodhi as the primary text, but will also draw on resources applying the Eightfold Path to addiction recovery. The course is applicable for everyone, as we all struggle with imbalances, cravings and addictions including those who are in recovery from substance abuse. All are welcome. Through our diversity of experiences and viewpoints, we can help each other. $75 for members, $90 for non-members. Register here.


Several types of membership are available. More information about membership can be found here.

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Phone: (608) 325-6248


Our postal mailing address:

W7762 Falk Rd • Monroe, WI 53566


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.