Student Member Benefits of Practice at GPZC
Becoming a student (member) at Great Plains Zen Center has many benefits:
- Personalized study with Myoyu Roshi, our resident teacher, who is one of Taizan Maezumi Roshi‘s Dharma successors in a dharma lineage that includes Soto and Rinzai traditions. She has many years of experience in Zen training, both in residential training and in family life combining the responsibilities of family, work, and Zen practice. She is an active member of Zen Peacemakers International. Myoyu Roshi has completed koan study with Maezumi Roshi and can therefore offer koan study as a possible course of practice for students.
- The opportunity to deepen practice through the ongoing relationship with a teacher and with the support of other students and members of the GPZC Community. Making a commitment to a teacher and community helps a student continue, through inevitable challenges, to achieve real personal transformation, in a way that casual practice does not.
- Support in raising the Bodhi Mind of wisdom and compassion, and deepening one’s commitment to practice for the benefit of all.
Student members can derive these benefits by participating in
- individual, face-to-face meetings (dokusan) to receive ongoing personal guidance from Myoyu Roshi (including internet platform as an option);
- regular sitting with the Sangha (community of sangha practitioners);
- retreat practice, the many components of which deepen practice;
- talks by Roshi (teisho), by senior students, and by guest speakers;
- use of the center’s library collection;
- a variety of classes and workshops that are designed to help students in their practice, from early stages through advanced practice; and
- the opportunity to make a commitment to the Buddhist path by taking the 16 Bodhisattva Precepts in a ceremony called jukai.
The Student Path
GPZC’s Community Development Circle has created a framework or pathway to help new practitioners navigate the many offerings at GPZC. The path outlined below is by no means a fixed plan but simply used as a guide for new students. We encourage you to feel free to adapt this framework to fit your circumstances. We honor the unique perspective of each student coming to GPZC and are here to serve you in fulfilling your Dharma aspiration.
From the time a student first attends a weekly sitting or Introduction to Zen Practice Workshop, they will find support from everyone in the GPZC community. As outlined in the Beginning a Practice section, students are encouraged to establish regular (daily) practice at home, participate in group sitting on a regular basis, begin study with our teacher, and attend an Introductory Workshop.
Once a student has begun to attend GPZC activities on a regular basis, the student is encouraged to attend the series of Aspects of Zen Practices classes, a Half-Day sitting at GPZC, and their first full retreat (usually one of our Beginner’s Mind Sesshin that take place in March and September).
As the student comes to identify as a student of GPZC and Myoyu Roshi, it is appropriate to begin paying Provisional Student Membership Dues. The base rate for Provisional Student Membership Dues is $30/month.
Dues-paying Provisional Students receive a discounted Student Rate for most retreats, classes and workshops. (Please see the section on Dues & Fees, below.)
The list below includes the activities appropriate for a Provisional Student who decides to make a commitment to their own practice and to a formal student-teacher relationship. The sequence, pace, and time-frame may vary from student to student.
- Attend an Introduction to Zen Practice Workshop
- Establish a regular home practice schedule
- Attend a weekly group sitting at least twice monthly
- During weekly sittings, attend dokusan (individual, face-to-face meeting with the teacher)
- Begin attending the series of 4 Aspects of Zen Practice Classes (60 minute classes that may be taken in any order)
- Attend a Half-Day Sitting
- Attend a Beginner’s Mind Sesshin
- Make a request to Roshi to become a Practicing Student by completing a Practicing Student Application
Note: Students who come to GPZC with training and experience with another teacher and center should discuss their background with Myoyu Roshi, as it may be more appropriate for them to become a GPZC Practicing Student directly, rather than first becoming a Provisional Student.
Once accepted by Myoyu Roshi as a Practicing Student, the student typically continues their study by
- completing the 4-part series of Aspects of Zen Practice classes;
- continuing to attend group weekly sittings, at least twice monthly;
- continuing regular dokusan with Myoyu Roshi;
- attending retreats as schedule allows. ideally, at least quarterly; and
- participating in classes as they are offered.
A student who becomes a Practicing Student at GPZC is expected to pay monthly Practicing Student Membership Dues. The base rate for Practicing Student Membership Dues is $50/month. Dues-paying Practicing Students receive a discounted “Student Rate” for most classes, workshops, and retreats. (Please see the section on Tuition & Fees, below.)
Affiliate Student refers to students who–while they would otherwise be recognized as Practicing Students–will be participating in practice events on a more limited basis due to distance or scheduling restrictions. These students are asked to pay base rate dues of $30/month.
Important Information about Fees and Dues
The core of the Zen Center’s revenue–necessary for its ongoing operation–is from Student Membership Dues and the fees charged for workshops, classes, and retreats.
GPZC is committed to ensuring that everyone who has an interest in classes, workshops, retreats, and formal study can be included without financial barriers to participation.
In all instances, the published dues or fee is considered the base cost. Individuals for whom the published base fee or dues would represent a barrier can pay on a “sliding scale” reduced rate.
For those who are able to comfortably do so, we appreciate (tax-deductible)* donations above base event fees or monthly dues as these help offset need-based fee reductions granted to others.
Wishing to support families in their practice, we invite families who cannot comfortably afford base tuition for each practicing student, to simply request a reduction or waiver of tuition for additional family members wishing to become students at GPZC.
*Great Plains Zen Center is recognized by the IRS as a qualified 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is classified as a church under sections 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(i) of the Internal Revenue Code. Published base fees for events and classes are not tax-deductible. However, student membership dues, donations, and any amount paid for an event or class above the base fee are generally considered tax-deductible. We issue all donors and dues-paying members tax letters after the close of each calendar year. Please consult your individual tax advisor for advice on claiming deductions to charitable organizations