“Here is the place; here the way unfolds.” — Eihei Dōgen Zenji
Welcome to San Francisco Zen Center's Online Zendo, a silent space for joining others in the fundamental practice of seated meditation. Please become acquainted with this entire page before attending for the first time.
When do we sit?
The Online Zendo is held each weekday, Monday through Friday at 6:30 AM (PST).
Anywhere you may access the internet, join the Online Zendo at the scheduled time by clicking this link to open Zoom Video Conference: Sit now in the Online Zendo
You may also join by phone:
+1 (415) 762-9988 or +1 (646) 568-7788 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 437-703-267
Practitioners join the Online Zendo from any of several continents. The sittings are facilitated by volunteers and SFZC residents. If you have visited the Online Zendo, have become familiar with the format, and would like to volunteer as a facilitator, please contact the Online Programs Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does it work?
Please join sittings a few minutes before the scheduled time, so as to be seated and settled in your place before the period of Zazen begins.
At 6:30 AM (PST), the moderator will ring three bells to begin Zazen. At 6:59, there will be one bell to end. Then, there will be a pause of about 10 seconds, during which time you may unmute your microphone, and if you wish, join in the closing recitation:
May all beings be free and safe from harm.
May all beings be happy and fulfilled.
May all beings be healthy and strong.
May all beings have ease and joy in their lives and be free from suffering.
Guidelines and Online Zendo Forms
Traditionally, to help facilitate a calm and settled space so that practitioners can attend to the moment-to-moment unfolding of experience in meditation, there are Zendo practices, or forms, agreed upon and practiced with harmony in mind:
Minimize visual distractions for yourself:
If using a desktop computer, shift the space from a workstation to a practice space by clearing or covering your work. Please be sure to not have pictures with text or light sources directly in front of the camera.
One recommended way to sit is in profile, facing away from your computer screen. This will allow you not to be distracted by the movement of other Sangha members. This instruction mirrors our formal practice of facing the wall during Zazen. If you choose to sit off-camera, that's also fine.
Minimize visual distractions for others:
Please face your camera away from any direct light sources, including candles. Many members position the camera to face an altar or incense.
Minimize audible distractions for yourself and others:
Care well for silence in the Online Zendo until the closing recitation.
As a chime sounds when Sangha members enter and leave the Online Zendo, to cultivate the harmony of practicing together, please join on time.
Best practices include muting your microphone upon entering the Online Zendo. At the end of Zazen, when you hear the bell, please feel free to unmute your microphone and join in the closing recitation (see above).
Let your body and mind know that you will be sitting Zazen:
Bow in by bowing towards and away from your cushion/chair. This is traditionally done with palms together.
Bow out, while seated, at the end of the closing recitation. Upon standing, fluff your meditation cushion, or otherwise care for the seat of practice.
Tips for using Zoom
The Online Zendo often opens a few minutes before Zazen is scheduled to begin. I would encourage you to take 15 minutes or so before your first sitting to familiarize yourself with a few of the common functions. It has been our experience that practitioners tend to settle into the Online Zendo more easily after having oriented themselves.
Here are step-by-step instructions for exploring a few common functions in Zoom, the home of our Online Zendo.
To adjust the audio:
We do recommend muting your microphone during Zazen (to limit the background sounds that are heard by others). To do this, click on the microphone icon (conveniently labelled Mute/Unmute) found in the lower left corner of the Zoom screen. The image of a microphone with a slash indicates mute.
To adjust the video:
The two most commonly used controls to adjust video in the Online Zendo are Start/Stop Video (bottom left) and Enter Full Screen Click (top right).
Other common controls:
Chat: allows you to connect with the moderator, and to view the closing recitation.
Participants: allows you to see who else is in the Online Zendo.
***Note: Please, do not click share screen.
Thank you for joining the Online Sangha in SFZC's Online Zendo.
May this community support our practice.
And, may this practice support our community.