July 2019 Newsletter

July 2019 Newsletter

This is the last month of Summer Ango 2019. The final sesshin of the ango is a Seven Day Sesshin, July 21-28 that ends with Shuso Hossen, Dharma Combat with the head trainee, Myosen, on Sunday, July 28.  Attend sesshin full-time or part time or come just for Shuso Hossen on Sunday morning.  Learn more here.

Tour and hike beautiful Nachusa Grasslands, 2075 S Lowden Rd, Franklin Grove, IL 61031, Sunday, July 7 with other Sangha members.  Meet at the visitor's center at 1 PM.  Details here.  
Congratulations to GPZC friend Nance Klehm on the publication of her book The Soil Keepers: Interviews with Practitioners on the Ground Beneath Our Feet.  Read more about this fascinating and timely book here.
There is one more Tuesday night drop in online gathering led by Shuso Bonnie Myosen Nadzam in July.  Finding your funny is serious Zen business.  No, really.   July 16, 7-8 PM. More information can be found here

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

During the Annual Gate of Sweet Nectar Ceremony in August, dedicate a hanging lighted lantern to a loved one who has passed on.  Information here.



The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house 
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

                 - Rumi

                                                                           translation by Coleman Banks


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.  

Do you have something you'd like included in next month's newsletter?  Please call Roshi at 608-325-6248 or email myoyu.roshi@greatplainszen.org.

View or download our May - July  2019 Calendar


In this Newsletter:



 2019 Summer Ango continues through the month of July.  You can still join 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. 


Hike at Nachusa Grasslands, Sunday, July 7 at 1 PM

Join us for a hike at  Nachusa Grasslands near Franklin Grove, IL. on Sunday, July 7 at 1 PM.  We'll meet at the visitor's center at 1 PM.  The 3,800-acre Nachusa Grasslands preserve consists of large remnant prairie, woodlands, and wetlands being reconnected through habitat restoration to create one of the largest and most biologically diverse grasslands in Illinois.  The Grasslands are also home to 107 bison, originally part of the herd at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota.  Our guide for the afternoon will be Tom Mitchell of The Prairie Enthusiasts who was one of the original stewards of Nachusa Grasslands.  Join other members of Great Plains Zen Center for this educational summer outing and be inspired by the beauty we walk in.  No charge for this event, but pre-registration is requested so that we know who is coming.  Call 608-325-6248 for further information.  


“Nance Klehm has written a beautiful, moving, and profound series of meditations, practical advice, interviews, poetry . . . all part of her brilliantly intelligent invitation to care for the earth in the most basic and complex of ways. Read this book — it will change your life.” — Timothy Morton, author of Being Ecological

Congratulations are in order to GPZC friend Nance Klehm on the publication of her book  The Soil Keepers:  Interviews with Practitioners on the Ground Beneath our Feet Nance is the founder and director of Social Ecologies.   Her life's work has centered on soil restoration and remediation, long-term landscape planning, and community-focused regenerative soils and water systems in Chicago and around the world. An internationally respected consultant, speaker, and teacher, she has contributed to the ongoing body of knowledge about soils and how to rebuild microbial, mycological, and mineral communities through her publication The Ground Rules, her radio show Spontaneous Vegetation, on Chicago’s WLPN, and myriad writings and artworks of her own.  

This book is a collection of 42 interviews with international practitioners whose work connects them to the earth — geologists, farmers, artisans, engineers, biologists, waste managers, activists, and many others.  Nance has helped the Zen Center to understand and better care for the soil on our land, and taught a soil class here last apring.  During the women's retreat at Zen Life and Meditation- Chicago, she led us on a foraging walk around the block in the Oak Park neighborhood, giving us a better understanding of the complex interaction of plants and soil and showing us a number of very tasty "weeds" that we brought back and added to the lunch salad.  

"To the entire menagerie of animal, fungal, and plant beings,
both the seen and unseen, thank you for your unflinching love
and core teachings.  I am forever your student."

                                 - Nancy Klehm in dedication of The Soil Keepers


Joy, Lightness and Zen

Moshe Cohen (Mr. YooWho)

Free Online Drop In Sessions June 4 - July 16  There is one more free online drop in session with Shuso Bonnie Myosen Nadzam.   There is no registration required, but you will need to use the link below to access the meeting online.    Myosen  leads 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). The session will be run remotely on zoom and will take place on Tuesday night, July 16 from 7-8 PM.   Warning: these sessions may cause giggle fits and experiences of joy, and may lead to new insights on the precepts.  Be brave and show up for a creative and lively hour! Click on the date of the session below to see the Zoom information:


Memorial Lanterns for Loved Ones who have Passed On


During the Annual Gate of Sweet Nectar Ceremony, we chant the complete list of names of people and pets who have passed on over the years. We also invite anyone to make a free will donation (of any amount ) in honor of your loved one and then write a message to them that will be attached to the star suspended in the sky. This is a wonderful way to remember those who were part of our lives and continue in our hearts.  It can help us honor and process our own feelings.  Please let Roshi know if you would like to dedicate a star for a loved one.  Call 608-325-6248 or email myoyu.roshi@greatplainszen.org.  

The Annual Gate of Sweet Nectar takes place during the Peaceful Way Sesshin, August 15-18.



July Seven -Day Sesshin

July 21-18 2019

Seven Day Sesshin is a wonderful opportunity for a full week of  intensive practice.  Part time participation is also possible for those unable to attend the entire sesshin.  Sesshin begins Sunday evening, July 21 with informal dinner at 5:30 PM followed by procedures instruction. The formal sesshin begins at 7 PM with Fusatsu.  Sesshin ends with informal brunch on Sunday, July 28 following Shuso Hossen (Dharma Combat) with Shuso Bonnie Myosen Nadzam at 9AM.  On Saturday evening, July 27, we will have Honsoku Gyocha, a ceremony with formal serving of tea and an announcement of the koan that will be the subject of the Dharma Combat the next day. The suggested donation for this sesshin is $350 for members, $420 for non-members, which includes all meals and accommodations. Part time participation is allowed for this sesshin.

Shuso hossen at Yokoji Zen Mountain Center

Shuso Hossen (sometimes translated as Dharma Combat),  includes elegant ceremony, a procession with bells and drum rolls, dignified chanting of the Heart Sutra and even a dramatic entrance.  The heart of the event is a lively interchange between the shuso and participants.  The shuso gives a short talk on a koan and then gives pithy and sometimes enigmatic or humorous responses to questions from participants ("dragons and elephants") during the fast-paced dialogue that follows.  Completion of this ceremony marks a rite of passage for a student transitioning to a senior role in the community.  Shuso hossen takes place Sunday morning, July 28 at 9 AM followed by informal brunch.  Anyone is welcome to attend shuso hossen even if not attending the rest of the sesshin.  

On Saturday evening, July 27, we hold a beautiful ceremony called Honsoku Gyocha (which translates as Main Case Tea).  This ceremony includes the ringing the bell 108 times as the evening settles in, and an announcement of what koan (case) the shuso will present, followed by formal tea and cookies served in the zendo.  




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.   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:

  • 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:

  • 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)

  • 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 July 11 at UU Fellowship of DeKalb and on Wed., July 17 at Creative Therapeutics, 400 E. Hillcrest Dr., DeKalb
  • 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.