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 are the sittings?
The online zendo is held each weekday, Monday through Friday at 6:30 AM (PST).
Participants join the online zendo by accessing the internet at the scheduled time; click this link to open Zoom Video Conference:
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 San Francisco Zen Center residents. Those who have visited the online zendo, have become familiar with the format, and would like to volunteer as facilitators may 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 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 please unmute the microphone and 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
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:
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 the microphone upon entering the online zendo. At the bell to end zazen, feel free to unmute the microphone and join in the closing recitation.
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.
To adjust the audio:
We do recommend muting 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: connects listeners with the moderator, and shows the closing recitation.
Participants: allows attendees to see who else is in the online zendo.
***Note: Please, do not click share screen.
Thank you for joining the online sangha in San Francisco Zen Center's online zendo.
May this community support our practice.
And, may this practice support our community.