What is a Zendo?
Zendō or senbutsu-jō is a Japanese "meditation hall".
In Zen Buddhism, the zendō is a spiritual dōjō where zazen is practised.
We bring this sense of spiritual dojo to our online Zendo.
In our online Zendo you can join us for our"Sit with me" Zazen periods (as advertised on our home page.
Amongst our event you will notice our Zazenkai retreats (durations can vary, though no more than 8 hrs); which involves many periods of Zazen and Kinhin.
These and our Zen Sundays generally include Dharma Talks and time for the End of practice.
Here we discuss:
How to find us, your own sacred space, what to wear, online Zendo etiquette, as well as some Zoom tips.
Upaya Zen Center, Zendo, curtsey of Joan Halifax on Flickr
First Things First
Before you enter the online zendo, you may want to prepare your own sacred space, although this is not necessary. This can be done simply by lighting a candle or a stick of incense, or just by placing your hands together and bowing as a symbol of gratitude. If you have a flower, you might add that. You might also want to have a water bottle handy.
Dress comfortably but modestly. We prefer no sleeveless shirts, and no v neck or scoop neck shirts. We generally wear a loose-fitting black, brown, or grey shirt and loose-fitting pants. Anything with a crew neck is acceptable your first time. Leggings or looser gym or yoga pants are appropriate for our online community. We discourage jeans because they are too tight for sitting meditation comfortably.
Entering The Online Zendo
Please plan to sign in 5-10 minutes prior to the start time. When you enter the Zoom room, please say hello and introduce yourself. There are people in our group with visual disabilities who can’t see your name.
Saying hello and introducing yourself is a nice way to “break the ice'' so to speak, and lets those with visual challenges know that someone new has entered the space.
Some of us have unusual names that are our Dharma names, like Kyoji, Daishin and Shinjin, and you have the right to protect your identity online. All we ask is that that is respectfully done.
If you arrive on time or late, please make sure you are muted.
When the priest or practice leader announces that it’s time to begin, everyone mutes their microphone. They will give any announcements and a brief introduction to the practice. So please, read the Newcomers guides, but don’t let them overwhelm you!
You don't have to appear on camera, but we gently encourage you to do so.
You do not need to download the app if you do not wish to and can access it via your web browser. You will have to click on 'launch meeting' before the web browser option appears.
You can usually see the view options top right of your screen and you'll have the choice to make the screen of whoever is speaking the biggest or to display almost everyone in the gallery - if there are too many for the gallery view there is a scroll option, but it should pick up whoever is speaking and highlight them in yellow.
Images from Wix support
We tend to sit for 20 - 25 minutes but have built this up from nothing just like some of you.
We start by sitting for 1 minute and then building up gradually, adding a minute at a time.
And yes, some of us stare at the wall.
You are free to leave at any time, or to turn off your camera - you do not need to explain yourself and disturb the period of Zazen.
If you are building up how long you sit for, sit for the time you are growing accustomed to, readjust and sit for a repeat until our 20 minutes are up.
Achy? Try to abide with it for another breath, and if you can another.
Still uncomfortable? Readjust yourself, take a breath, and bring yourself back to meditation.
Thirsty? Take a sip. Readjust yourself, take a breath, and bring yourself back to meditation.
Coughing? No worries, we're likely to be muted. So take a sip or two of your drink. Compose your self and join back in.
Do family and pets need attention? Camera off and attend to it. Come back to your sacred space, readjust yourself, take a breath, and bring yourself back to meditation.
We welcome family and pets - see our hints and tips on the next page.
No judgments are made. No explanations are needed.
Just know that in a bricks and mortar Zendo things are more likely to be somewhat 'regimented'.
Each Zendo is slightly different. If you visit one, they are likely to let you know their expectations.
If you don't know; ask questions before entering the Zendo to meditate.
We would encourage you to be around to see what else happens and hear some of the discussions we get into.