Online Zendo

Here is the place; here the way unfolds. — Eihei Dōgen Zenji

Online ZendoWelcome to San Francisco Zen Center's Online Zendo, a silent space for joining others in the fundamental practice of seated meditation.   San Francisco Zen Center now offers an expanded online zendo schedule of zazen and dharma events.  The online zendo meets using Zoom video conference technology.   You can enter the online zendo using Zoom video conferencing on desktop computer, ipad, mobile devices, and phone.   

Please take a moment to review this page before joining the online zendo to become familiar with the schedule, using Zoom, and online zendo forms.

PLEASE NOTE: Zazen Instruction is CANCELLED this Saturday, 3.28.20 due to the 3-day sesshin.

To join the Online Zendo using Zoom:

Join Online Zendo (click link below) with computer or mobile device:

Join using a phone:

Meeting ID: 437 703 267

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Online Zendo Schedule

Mornings :


5:50-6:20 am     Zazen (30 min)

6:20-6:30 am      Kinhin (10 walking meditation)

6:30-7:00 am      Zazen (30 min)

7:00 am    Brief Robe and Metta chants with online participants ━ At 6:59, there will be one bell to end. Then, there will be a pause of about 10 seconds, during which time we will conduct two brief chants. Chants are posted in the Zoom chat window, so please open Zoom chat to view chant text.  See Online Zendo Forms and Etiquette section below for details.


6:30-7:10 am      Zazen (40 min)

7:10 am    Brief Metta chant 

9:25-10:00 am      Zazen (35 min)

Late Afternoons & Evenings:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday Afternoon 

5:30-6:10 pm     Zazen (40 min) ━ no post-zazen service (yet)

Tuesdays & Thursday Afternoon

5:30-6:30 pm     Practice Session with Abbot David NEW Offering (60 min)

Starting Thursday, March 19, in addition to an expanded Online Zendo schedule, we are also introducing a new twice-weekly Online Sangha Practice Sessions with Abbot David. These interactive practice sessions will be hosted on Zoom and will feature 25 minutes of zazen, a brief dharma reflection or encouragement from Abbot David, and an opportunity for group practice sharing and discussion during the latter part of the event.

Thursday Evening 

7:30-8:00 pm     Zazen (30 min)

Dharma Talks:

Wednesdays nights, 7:45-8:30 pm

Saturdays mornings, 10:15-11:00 am (followed by Q&A)

Online Zendo Forms:

Please join sittings a few minutes before the scheduled time, so as to be seated and settled in place before the period of zazen begins.

The Doan will ring three bells to begin the first period zazen.  (5:50am)

The Doan will ring two bells to signal the end of first period of zaxen (6:20am)

The Doan will sound the koshaku (clackers) once to signal the beginning of kinhin/mindful movement (6:20am)

The Doan will sound the koshaku (clackers) once to signal the end of kinhin/mindful movement (6:30am)

The Doan will ring three bells to begin the second period of zazen (6:30am)

The Doan will ring one bell to signal the end of morning zezen. (6:59)

Transition from zazen to brief robe chant and metta chant: (7:00)

Robe Chant:

 Kokyo:  "Now we'll chant the robe chant. Please chant along with the kokyo with your sound muted:"
                 Dai sai ge da pu ku
                 musō fuku den e
                 hi bu nyo rai kyo
                 kō do shoshu jo (2x)

                 Great robe of liberation
                 Field far beyond form and emptiness
                 Wearing the Tathagata’s teaching
                 Saving all beings (1x)

Metta Chant:

 Kokyo:   "Please unmute your sound and follow the kokyo as we will chant a brief metta sutra in call and response fashion, one line at a time"
                   May all beings be free and safe from harm. (clack)   (sangha response repeating line)
                   May all beings be happy and fulfilled. (clack)  (sangha response)
                   May all beings be healthy and strong. (clack) (sangha response)
                   May all beings have ease and joy in their lives and be free from suffering. (clack) (sangha response)

Online Zendo Guidelines and Etiquette:

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

  • If using a desktop computer, shift the space from a workstation to a practice space by clearing or covering work papers.  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 the computer screen.  This allows participants not to be distracted by the movement of other sangha members, mirroring our formal practice of facing the wall during zazen. Some choose to sit off-camera; that's also fine.

Minimize visual distractions for others:

  • Please face the 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:

  • To cultivate the harmony of practicing together, please join on time.

  • Care well for silence in the online zendo until the closing recitation.

  • Mute your microphone upon entering the online zendo (if it is not already muted). 

Before zazen let the body and mind know:

  • Bow in by bowing towards and away from cushion/chair. This is traditionally done with palms together.

  • Bow out, while seated, at the end of the closing recitation. Upon standing, fluff the 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. New attendees, please take 10 - 15 minutes before the first sitting to become familiar with a few of the common functions. 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 the online zendo.

Mute Your Audio:

Please mute your microphone during zazen if it is not already muted (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.

Adjust Your 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: connects listeners with the moderator, and shows the closing recitation.  Click the "Chat" button on your control bar at the bottom of your zoom window to launch the Chat box

Participants: allows attendees to see who else is in the online zendo. Click the "Participants" button on your control bar at the bottom of your zoom window to open the Participants box.

*** Important Note: Please, do not click the Share Screen button in the middle of your control bar.