Online Zendo

Welcome to Village Zendo’s online zendo, a silent space for joining others in the practice of seated meditation or zazen. Please become acquainted with this entire page before attending for the first time.

Online Sitting Schedule

The Village Zendo hosts online zazen twice a day throughout the week, in addition to dharma talks at least once a week.

Monday-Friday Morning
7:30am – 8:30am  —  Meditation

Monday Evening
6:30pm – 7:30pm  —  Learn to Meditate

Tuesday Evening
6:30pm – 7:30pm  —  Meditation

Wednesday Evening
6:30pm – 7:30pm  —  Meditation

Thursday Evening
5:30pm – 6:00pm  —  Meditation
6:05pm – 6:30pm  —  Dharma Talk
6:30pm – 6:40pm  —  Four Vows & Service

Saturday
8:00am – 9:00am  —  Bolivian Sitting Group
10:30am – 12:00pm  —  People of Color Sitting Group

Note that there is no People of Color Sitting Group on Saturdays with a scheduled zazenkai. Please see our retreat schedule for upcoming zazenkais or our calendar for details.

Sunday
9:30am – 9:35am  —  Service
9:35am – 10:05am  —  Meditation
10:10am – 10:40am  —  Dharma Talk

Or, on the first Sunday of every month:

9:30am – 9:35am  —  Service
9:35am – 10:05am  —  Meditation
10:10am – 11:00am  —  Practice and Inquiry Circle

Joining by Phone?

You may also join by phone:

+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US
+1 301 715 8592 US
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

Meeting ID: 966 6111 7954

Meeting Password: 249115

Please see below for more details on using the Zoom application to participate in the online Zendo.

How Does it Work?

The online zendo uses a video conferencing application called Zoom. Participants can join the online zendo during the scheduled periods of zazen. You are welcome to join for the entire session or any part that they are able to attend.

Before participating in the online zendo, you must first download the Zoom application to your local computer or device. To do so, click the link to join the Zoom conference, and your browser will give you directions on how to install the app. Participants’ audio will be muted by default when entering the Zoom conference.

Who Can Join?

The online zendo is open to all practitioners. We ask that you observe the guidelines described below to maintain an online environment conducive to silent meditation. The zazen sessions are facilitated by Village Zendo volunteers. Those who have visited the online zendo, have become familiar with the format, and would like to volunteer as facilitators may contact the organizer at zoomhelp@villagezendo.org.

What Is the Structure For Online Zazen?

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

Each session consists of two 25 minute periods of zazen, with a minute or two of silent stretching between the periods. At the beginning of each period of zazen, the facilitator will ring three bells to begin zazen. After 25 minutes, there will be two bells to end the sitting period. At the end of the second sitting period there will be a pause of about 10 seconds, after which you may join the facilitator in chanting the Four Vows. (We suggest that participants chant with their microphone muted, as the Zoom application does not handle many simultaneous speakers).

How Can Students Access Village Zendo Teacher Interviews?

In our Zen tradition, regular private interview with a teacher is an important element of study and practice. Click this link to access detailed information about how you can receive a virtual interview with the Village Zendo’s teachers. This methodology will be utilized during the time that the Covid-19 pandemic prevents us from gathering physically at our practice center in lower Manhattan.

Teacher Interview Schedule

Chants and Gathas

Morning sitting: Work Gatha

Ino:
Maha Prajña Paramita Gatha

All:
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhisvaha
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhisvaha
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhisvaha
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhisvaha
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhisvaha
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhisvaha
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhisvaha Maha Prajña Paramita

Ino:
May our daily work be a source of practice, awareness and compassion.
May this offering be extended to all sentient beings.
May we realize the Buddha Way in every task we undertake.

All:
All Buddhas throughout space and time,
All Bodhisattva Mahasattvas
Maha Prajña Paramita

Evening sitting: Four Vows (chant one time)

Sentient beings are numberless, I vow to save them.
Desires are inexhaustible, I vow to put an end to them.
The Dharmas are boundless, I vow to master them.
The Buddha Way is unattainable, I vow to attain it.

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:

  • Please maintain 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.

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. When you click on the Zoom link, you will be prompted to download and install the Zoom app.

If this is your first time using Zoom, please take 10 – 15 minutes before the first sitting to become familiar with a few of the common Zoom 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.

Audio:

By default, your audio will be muted when you join the online zendo. Please keep your microphone muted during zazen so that you do not distract others. Also keep your audio muted during chanting, because Zoom’s audio does not work well when many people are talking (or chanting) at the same time. You may follow along with the chant leader as they chant. 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.

Questions and Feedback

If you have questions or feedback, please email zoomhelp@villagezendo.org. If you have technical difficulties, the FAQ on Zoom’s web site may be helpful.

Thank you for joining the Village Zendo’s online zendo. Please explore the calendar to see the other events we are offering to support our community at this time.

(These instructions were adapted from the San Francisco Zen Center, with gratitude).

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