April 2019 Newsletter

Early spring has arrived at Great Plains Zen Center!

During Beginner's Mind Sesshin a few weeks ago, trees were pruned and the soil had warmed up enough to begin preparing the vegetable beds for planting.   The prairies are being prepared for spring burning and we welcome anyone who wants to come and help.  Please contact us at 608-325-6248 to volunteer. The tentative date for the burn is Sunday, April 7, but you are advised to call before coming as the date may need to be changed due to weather.  

Please sign up by Wednesday, April 3 for Buddha's Birthday celebration on Saturday, April 6. This is a wonderful way to introduce your child to Buddhism and mindful practices they can do everyday.  More information about this joyful event can be found here

If you've been reading about Zen and are wondering how to get started, our Introductory Workshops can help. They are offered at two locations.  Click here to get details.  Be sure to follow up with the monthly Aspects of Zen Practice classes.  Upcoming dates of these classes can be found here

Please register for the Honoring the Way of Zazen Sesshin taking place April 11-14 by Monday, April 8 here.  Dates for all retreats for 2019 can be found here


Madison Action Day was a great success with over 750 people attending from all over Wisconsin.  Speakers represented diverse communities and perspectives and inspired participants to visit with their state legislators to advocate for a range of social justice issues.  A sample of pictures below:

We are happy that you have chosen to receive our monthly newsletter with periodic announcements.  You can change your preferences or contact information at any time by clicking on the update preferences link at the bottom of this email and following the instructions.  

View or download our February - April 2019 Calendar


In this Newsletter:


Honoring the Way of Zazen Sesshin, April 11-14 is an intensive retreat with periods of zazen (sitting meditation) alternating with 10 minute periods of walking meditation throughout the day.  As with our other retreats, there will be silent meals with oryoki bowls, a work period and time for rest.  However, unlike other retreats, there will be no talks, no chanting services, no dokusan (face to face) instruction with the teacher.  Sitting on the Buddha's seat, we immerse ourselves in our practice throughout the day with determination, great faith and great questioning.   Sesshin begins Thursday evening with informal dinner at 5:30, procedures instruction at 6 and fusatsu, with council, at 7 PM.  Sesshin ends on Sunday morning with Gate of Sweet Nectar at 7 AM.  Please bring non-perishable items for the local food pantry.  The suggested donation is $150 for members and $180 for non-members, which includes overnight accommodations and all meals.  Part time participation is allowed. Register here

Dates for Upcoming Retreats and registration links: 



Buddha's Birthday Celebration, Saturday April 6, 12:30 - 2:30
Join us at the Zen Center for 2 hours of fun for the whole family in celebration of Buddha's Birthday.  A light lunch will be served followed by a special service in which children take turns playing the temple instruments and offering flowers and sweet tea.  
 We’ll also have mindfulness activities and a craft.  Families will be able to take home a booklet of age-appropriate mindfulness activities and suggestions they can do throughout the day.  And of course, there is plenty of time for adults and children to socialize.  This event is free and takes place at Great Plains Zen Center, W7762 Falk Rd, Monroe WI.   Please register here by Wednesday, April 3 and indicate the ages of your children attending in the comments section. Also let us know if you are able to arrive early and help with making the flower houseQuestions? Contact Myoyu Roshi at myoyu.roshi@greatplainszen.org or 608-325-6248.


Community Organizing Training - 5 week series, April 11 - May 9, Thursdays 6-8 PM in Janesville, WI   An outstanding opportunity to learn leadership skills from experienced community organizers.  Attendance at all sessions preferable, but not necessary, as each topic is stand-alone. No charge and open to anyone. Contact Michael Bell for more information. 


Writing and Zen: Creativity and Obstacles
a workshop with
 author Bonnie Myosen Nadzam
Sunday May 19 2019 9:00 - 4:00

You and your life are fundamentally creative—arising spontaneously and intelligently. The writing process can lend itself quite well to revealing some of the obstacles that can freeze up, block, and derail this force. In so far as we bring awareness to these obstacles on the page, we bring the awareness to our lives, and insofar as we bring awareness of such obstacles in our lives, we bring awareness of them to the page. In this 1-day workshop, writing assignments, discussion and Zen meditation will present opportunities to investigate each of our own obstacles with, hopefully, a little urgency and honesty.

Participants can expect to finish with workshop with several short pieces that might be lengthened or revised independently, and with new tools and strategies for navigating and working with the obstacles that arise during the writing/creative process. 

Bonnie Nadzam is an American writer whose work has appeared in Harper’s, Granta, Orion, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Epoch, and many other journals. Her first novel, LAMB, has been translated into several languages and was recipient of the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and made into an award-winning independent film. Her second novel, LIONS, was a PEN Literary Prize finalist. Her third novel, 31, is forthcoming. She holds degrees in English Literature and Environmental Studies from Carleton College, an MFA from Arizona State University, and an MA and PhD from the University of Southern California. She is a long-time practitioner of zen and a student in the White Plum asanga.

The workshop takes places at Great Plains Zen Center, W7762 Falk Rd., Monroe.  Cost is $75 for members, $90 for all others. Student or senior scholarships available. Register here.


Introduction to Zen Practice Workshops:

Great Plains Zen Center offers monthly Introductory Workshops 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:


Aspects of Zen Practice at GPZC  This series of four classes helps those who have taken an Introductory Workshop review the basics and continue to learn about the various elements of practice and ways to participate at Great Plains Zen Center.  Classes are held once per month in Monroe and in Palatine and may be taken in any order.  The class series repeats throughout the year, so you can take a class you missed the next time it is offered. These classes provide a great way to continue learning after the Introductory Workshop.  All classes are 1 hour with optional zazen following. Saturdays at 9 AM in Monroe and Sundays at 5:30 PM in Palatine.  The cost of each class is $5. 
Forms of Practice Review the basics of zazen (body, breath and mind), zendo procedures, and the teacher-student relationship. 7/14 (Palatine), 7/20 (Monroe)
Liturgy and Lineage:  The role of ceremony and ritual in Zen, our teaching lineage, an overview of services (including prayer list, memorials, baby blessings and weddings) and the Gate of Sweet Nectar.  4/7 (Palatine)4/20 (Monroe)

Everyday Life Practice:  
Practicing the precepts at home, at work, in the community and throughout our lives.  Sharing practice with our children and families.  5/5 (Palatine)5/11 (Monroe)

Being a Part of the GPZC Community:  Shared stewardship circles and opportunities for volunteering and leadership, Council Practice and GPZC Vision, Mission, Guiding Principles and Practices.  6/23 (Palatine)6/15 (Monroe)

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.  Pre-registration not required. Upcoming dates are as follows:

  • April 11  7 PM 7 PM (Monroe - at start of sesshin but open to all)
  • May 5 7 PM (Palatine)
  • June 27 7 PM (Monroe - at start of sesshin but open to all)

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.  Pre-registration not required. Upcoming dates are as follows:

  • April 14 7 AM (Monroe - at end of sesshin but open to all)
  • May 19 7 AM (Monroe - at end of zazenkai but open to all)
  • June 30 7 AM (Monroe - at end of sesshin but open to all)

Teisho (Public Talks by Myoyu Roshi)

  • March 31 7 PM (Palatine)
  • June 9 7 PM (Palatine)


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
  • See calendar for classes scheduled on Saturdays
  • Chanting service at 8:30 AM followed by Zazen at 9 on Sundays
  • 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. Periodic special events (see calendar). For those new to practice, a brief orientation is offered during the first sitting period. 
  • Beloit Zen Community meets every Monday from 4:15 -5:30 PM.  Schedule as follows: 
                4:15 zazen (sitting)
                4:45 kinhin (walking meditation)
                4:55 short talk/discussion
                5:10 zazen (optional)
  • All are welcome to come and participate, not only those affiliated with the college.  Whatever your religious affiliation (or if you have none), 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

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.  
  • For further information, please visit the Logan Square Zendo website here.


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

Support our community by making a donation here.

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You can also ask to join the Facebook Group, Great Plains Zen Center Sangha


Phone:  (608) 325-6248

E-mail:  myoyu.roshi@greatplainszen.org

Our postal mailing address:

W77962 Falk Rd • Monroe, WI  53566

Website: http://greatplainszen.org/


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 Sangha that truly welcomes all persons and commits to structuring our community in ways that empower and enhance everyone’s participation.