Myoshinji Renovation Project

The White Plum Asanga in front of the renovated zendo building.

Building Renovation Complete!

(From our November 2016 newsletter.)

In November 2015, the Great Plains Zen Center Board members met to discuss the decision to move forward with a long-term vision–-to renovate the storage/work building on the grounds at Myoshinji, our property in Monroe, Wisconsin. As we have grown, the need for a larger zendo (meditation hall) has been evident for some time. A renovated building would provide that much needed space as well as a flexible facility for other Zen Center events and also potential rental events.

Board members committed over $21,000 and with the help of many regular members and many other friends of the center, over $21,000 more was raised. We also had income of over $4,000 from special fund raising events, bringing our total to over $46,000.

The renovation was planned to take place in two phases. Well beyond our initial expectations, we were able to complete both phases in under a year.

Phase 1 included: high quality insulation in the walls and ceiling; all new drywall on walls and ceiling; all new electrical wiring; energy-saving recessed, dimmable LED ceiling lighting and quality ceiling fans; 10 large well-insulated windows allowing beautiful natural light and two new steel doors; natural wood trim on doors and windows; grading of the earth around the building to improve drainage.

Phase 2 included: installation of a propane-fueled heating system; a new metal roof (to match the main building); new flooring and custom-made floor moldings. We’ll be completing the transformation by adding gutters and interior furnishings such as window blinds and shoji screens.

Our October Honoring The Way of Zazen Sesshin was held in the new zendo, as was the jukai ceremony that followed. Everyone who attended felt the uplifting effect of our new meditation hall.

We are very grateful to all who have supported us in making this vision a reality. We hope that all contributors and all supporters of the Zen Center will come and see the new zendo in person.

What We Did

The renovated zendo building underwent a major transformation from its origin as a work building/garden storage shed. Now a large, airy space (24'x40') with high ceiling and lots of windows, it served as the venue for the 2016 White Plum Asanga Meeting in early May. The building now has all-new insulation, electrical wiring and drywall. Recessed LED lighting has been installed. The 10 large windows have natural wood sills and both doors have natural wood trim. The building has new fascia, soffits and siding and the earth around the zendo has been excavated and graded to prevent water damage to the building. A beautiful barn quilt with the 8-spoked Dharma Wheel hangs above the door and we have another oval barn quilt with our logo, the Kuroda family crest, on the Sangha house. Both quilts were drawn and painted by Chris Wellington with help from local artists Kathy King and Nana Showalter. A restoration of prairie on the land is also underway.

The building is now our permanent zendo and also an available space for a variety of classes including the Ripples Children's meditation programs, yoga, qigong, and larger gatherings such as interfaith meditation. We will make the space available to be rented by like-minded groups when not in our use. The building is in compliance with Wisconsin commercial code, including ADA accessibility. We are grateful for the hard work and expertise of the builders and contractors, Henry Sefrood and Jason Vogel and all of the subcontractors, and architect Aaron Holverson, who drew the plans for state approval.

All of this was completed in time for the hosting of the White Plum Asanga in early May, a gathering of dharma successors in our lineage from all over the world, from Glarus, Switzerland to San Diego, California. It was a wonderful meeting and the new building at Myoshinji played a big part in making the meeting a success. The participants made many comments about the beauty and versatility of our new space.