Great Plains Zen Center
Important Things to Know About GPZC

Important Things to Know About GPZC

Important Things to Know About GPZC

GPZC is committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in every aspect of our organization. Our Racial Justice Circle, one of our many stewardship circles, is committed to working actively to dismantle racism within ourselves and in our wider community through education and advocacy.

Who We Are

Great Plains Zen Center’s resident teacher is Rev. Susan Myoyu Andersen, Roshi. Our other teacher is Myoyu Roshi’s Dharma Successor, Gendo Roshi, the resident teacher at Great Wave Zen Sangha in Ludington, Michigan. GPZC has a Circle of Instructors who lead introductory classes and workshops, stewardship circles who manage various aspects of GPZC, and a Board of Directors and Officers who oversee GPZC as a not-for-profit corporation. Members of our community participate as students of Myoyu Roshi, as Engaged Friends, and as Supporters and Benefactors. Our Founding Ancestor Teacher was Rev. Taizan Maezumi Roshi, the teacher of Myoyu Roshi. Visit our About Us page to learn more.

The GPZC Conflict Resolution and Grievance Policy

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva on kitchen altar

Many Buddhist and other faith communities have experienced upheavals over the years as a result of not having clear guidelines or expectations for members and teachers regarding power dynamics and professional boundaries in a spiritual community. Such upheavals have resulted in great harm and, sometimes, dissolution of the community. We recognize that practice can be difficult, differences can trigger strong reactions, the intimacy of shared spiritual exploration can elicit powerful emotions and attractions, and disagreement and conflict can arise. Power has the tendency to corrupt, and individuals and institutions often move to protect and defend themselves in times of crisis rather than attending to the needs of the person or people who were harmed. Having clear written guidelines, procedures, and training about these issues can go a long way toward preventing power abuse from occurring in the first place.

To this end, GPZC has created a Conflict Resolution and Grievance Policy. The document describes both informal conflict resolution and a formal grievance procedure to be administered by the Harmony Circle, a group of trained sangha members authorized by the Great Plains Zen Center Board of Directors. The Harmony Circle is also responsible for providing ongoing training for all members (students), instructors, teachers, and board members about power dynamics, conflict resolution, and professional boundaries. Find more about the GPZC Conflict Resolution and Grievance Policy and the Harmony Circle.

Stewardship Circles

Great Plains Zen Center is administrated entirely on a volunteer basis, except for Myoyu Roshi who receives a salary. Areas of operation are overseen by a Board of Directors who meet four times per year and additionally to resolve pressing issues that arise between meetings. Most business is conducted online, as most Board Members live at a distance from each other. Additionally, areas are managed by stewardship circles, groups of volunteers who meet on a periodic or regular basis to manage aspects of Great Plains Zen Center’s operations. The stewardship circle model of operation allows many voices to be heard and to participate in the creation of programs and general decision-making.

If you would like to volunteer in a stewardship circle, please use the Contact page.  Select “Stewardship Circles” in the drop down menu and then select the circle you wish to reach in the next drop down menu.

Continue to the next topic:  Further Steps in Practice at GPZC