June 2019 Newsletter

June 2019 Newsletter

     Jizo Bodhisattva, the Earth Store Bodhisattva in the GPZC garden, though worn and broken with age,
still holding the 6-ringed staff to guide all beings in the six worlds. 

"Even if their good deeds are as little as a hair, a drop of water, a grain of sand, a mote of dust, or a bit of down, I shall gradually help all living beings to liberation." 

from the Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva (Jizo Bodhisattva)


In this issue, read about how you can join our 2019 Summer Ango by making a commitment to practice with our Ango Commitment Form (downloadable PDF here) including  the Ecosattva Vows (Macy and Johnstone).  Learn about our Tuesday night drop in online gatherings led by Shuso Bonnie Myosen Nadzam here

Join us for an Extended Sitting at Countryside Church Palatine, Sunday, June 9.  Find details here.

We also invite you to join Roshi Myoyu Andersen and Sensei Ryushin Tanoue for The Land and Waters are Speaking; Are We Listening? Zen Life and Meditation Women's Retreat in Oak Park, IL June 21-22.  Read about this event here.

Learn about our new affiliate, Zen Sitting Group DeKalb here.


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 May - July  2019 Calendar


In this Newsletter:


Summer Ango

May 17-July 28 2019


We invite you to join us for the 2019 Summer Ango by making a commitment to any or all aspects of practice: regular sitting at home and with the community at one of our locations, practice with the precepts, chanting, daily mindfulness, metta (lovingkindness meditation), attending retreats, committing to follow the Ecosattva Vows (Macy and Johnstone) and more.  Your commitment can be for as little or as much as you choose -- and many of the practices can be done at home at a time that works for you.  Simply download the Ango Commitment Form here, fill it out and email it to Roshi at myoyu.roshi@greatplainszen.org or bring it to a sitting. 

Jizo Bodhisattva's vow to be there for each and every being, no matter where they stand, includes every one of us.  By making a commitment or vow for this practice period, we are actually making Jizo Bodhisattva's vow in our own words for the benefit  of ourselves and all beings of the Great Earth.  


Extended Sitting, Sunday June 9 at CCUU Summer Ango is a period of intensive practice dating back to the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, when monks were unable to travel due to the rainy season. Our modern observance of Ango at Great Plains Zen Center has adapted the traditional Ango that involves 90 days of residential practice.  Instead, we are including a variety of practice opportunities more accessible for those with work and home commitments. This year, our Summer Ango  began on May 17 with special Shuso and Ango Entering ceremonies at the start of our May Zazenkai.  We are pleased to include, among our offerings for this summer's ango, a new event: an Extended Sitting leading up to the regular Sunday evening program in Palatine, IL. Please join us on Sunday, June 9 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm for zazen, kinhin (walking meditation), and a light dinner. Our regular 7:00pm program, including zazen, kinhin, and teisho (talk by Roshi), will follow. Dokusan will be offered, with special priority given to newer members including those who may be considering their first sesshin. If you're a newer member or friend of the sangha, the Extended Sitting could be a nice stepping stone. If you're an experienced member, this event may simply be an additional  opportunity to deepen your practice. Free will donations are appreciated.  Pre-registration is requested.  Please register here  and let us know in the comments section if you have any dietary restrictions.


Joy, Lightness and Zen

Moshe Cohen (Mr. YooWho)

Free Online Drop In Sessions June 4 - July 16  Also new for Ango this year, will be four online drop in sessions on Tuesday nights, open to anyone who wants to participate.  There is no registration required, but you will need to use the links below to access each meeting online.    Shuso Bonnie Myosen Nadzam will lead imaginative writing shadow work exercises, as well as sacred mischief exercises (from a process of helping Moshe Cohen -- Bernie Glassman's Clown Teacher, also known as YooWho -- in editing and writing a book on joy, lightness and zen). Each session will be run remotely on zoom and will take place on Tuesday nights from 7-8 PM.  Sessions are stand alone,  so you can participate in any sessions you wish.  Sessions may also include council co-facilitated by Myosen and Myoyu Roshi. Warning: these sessions may cause giggle fits and experiences of joy, and may lead to new insights on the precepts.  Click on the date of the session below to see the Zoom information:


The Land and Waters are Speaking:Are We Listening? ZLMC Women's Retreat led by Roshi Myoyu Andersen and Sensei Ryushin Tanoue with special guest Nance Klehm, Founder and Director of Social Ecologies


"The last 500 years of European colonialism dominated, manipulated and plundered the entire globe. It extracted tremendous wealth, primarily uplifting white-based societies while decimating people of color, and their whole way of life. It left us with a soulless consumerism that continually disconnects us all from the web of life. Alongside that, our religious metaphors place aspiration as apart from the Earth, and have a history of encouraging disregard for this world. In Buddhism renunciation easily becomes confused when transcendence of ego becomes conflated with “non-attachment” to the Earth, which in turn justifies non-action in the face of her decimation." --Thanissara

During this retreat we will explore topics related to the climate emergency we are now experiencing:  we are part of the earth, our bodies are forms of nature, climate change as symptom of a much deeper problem, collective versus individual awakening, the sacred feminine and bearing witness to our eco-grief through sitting, group exercises and council.  Vegan lunch and dinner included on Saturday.  Please register for the retreat here.



June Three-Day Sesshin

July 27-30 2019

Zendo altar with offering for Maezumi Roshi memorial during May Zazenkai

An informal dinner will take place at 5:30 followed by instruction for those who are new to retreats.  The formal retreat begins at 7 PM with Fusatsu, Renewal of Our Vows, consisting of a council circle followed by the chanting ceremony.  The retreat concludes on Sunday morning with the Gate of Sweet Nectar.  Please bring non-perishable goods to donate to the local food pantry for this event.  The suggested donation for this retreat is $150 for members, $180 for others, which includes all meals and overnight accommodations.  Register for June sesshin here by June 23. 

Dates for Upcoming Retreats and registration links: 


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.  8/24 (Monroe), 8/25 (Palatine)

Everyday Life Practice:  
Practicing the precepts at home, at work, in the community and throughout our lives.  Sharing practice with our children and families.  9/28 (Monroe), 9/29 (Palatine)

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) 10/13 (Palatine), 10/26 (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:

  • June 27 7 PM (Monroe - at start of sesshin but open to all)
  • July 21 7 PM (Monroe- at start of sesshin but open to all)
  • August 4 (Palatine) 7 PM
  • September 8 (Palatine) 7 PM
  • October 17 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:

  • June 30 7 AM (Monroe - at end of sesshin but open to all)
  • July 7 7PM (Palatine)
  • August 17 8:30 PM (Annual with memorial lanterns - last evening of Peaceful Way sesshin open to all)
  • September 15 7 AM  (Monroe - at end of sesshin but open to all)
  • October 20 7AM  (Monroe - at end of sesshin but open to all)

Teisho (Public Talks by Myoyu Roshi)


  • June 9 7:30 PM (Palatine)
  • October 6 7:30 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 during the Beloit College academic year.  The schedule will resume in September 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
  • 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.

Zen Sitting Group DeKalb (ZSGD), a new affiliate of the Great Plains Zen Center, continues to meet at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb, 158 N. 4th Street. The steward for the group is John Genshin Knewitz, a student of Myoyu Roshi. ZSGD meets twice monthly on a variable schedule which can be viewed on the Zen Sitting Group DeKalb Facebook page.   There will be no dokusan or teisho offered on a regular basis, but there will be regular formal sitting and some instruction regarding basic Zen practices and philosophy. If you have interest in this group, please checkout the ZSGD Facebook page, or feel free to email John directly at birdsfan53@yahoo.com for further information. 

  • Variable schedule.  Check Facebook Page:  @zendekalb
  • Meets on the 6th and 20th in June
  • 6 PM Instruction, 7 PM Sitting followed by discussion. 
  • For more information, contact John Genshin Knewitz 


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

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Phone:  (608) 325-6248

E-mail:  myoyu.roshi@greatplainszen.org

Our postal mailing address:

W7762 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.