New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care now offers a daily online zendo schedule of zazen and dharma events through Zoom video technology. You can enter the online zendo using Zoom video on desktop computer, ipad, mobile devices, and phone. All times listed are Eastern Daylight Time.
As we find our way through these uncertain times, we hope you are receiving some comfort in our meditations, podcasts and dharma talks. We certainly feel held by being together and sharing our practice with you.
As you can appreciate, like so many, the NY Zen Center very much needs your support to continue our work. A donation of any amount is most welcome and deeply appreciated.
Please give what is meaningful to you.
Three Deep Bows,
Chodo and Koshin
Mid-Day, Monday-Saturday (Click to Join)
12:30pm Zazen (30 min)
1:00pm Check In (5-10 min)
1:10pm Four Vows (5 min
Sunday Morning: Zazen and Dharma Talk (Click to Join)
10:00am Heart Sutra Chanting
11:30am Dharma Talk
12:00pm Closing with Four Vows
Evenings: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursdays
Monday Evening (Click to Join)
6:00pm Heart Sutra Chanting
6:40pm Check In
6:50pm Dharma Talk
7:15pm Four Vows and Evening Gatha
Wednesday Evening (Click to Join)
7:15pm Four Vows and Evening Gatha
Thursday Evening (Click to Join)
6:30pm Guided Meditation and community discussion
Serenity Sangha ($5 suggested donation) (Click to Join)
A sober meditation community with a Buddhist approach to inter-fellowship recovery that meets the first Friday of every month promptly at 7:00 pm. For more details about the group, click here.
Online Zendo Forms and Etiquette:
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 Jikido will ring three bells to begin the first period zazen.
The Jikido will ring two bells to signal the end of first period of zazen.
Please feel free to face the wall during zazen.
Please mute your microphone and join the sangha in a chanting service led by the Ino and Doan.
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, and if possible, 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 zazen 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 vows.
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.
The Four Vows
Sentient beings are numberless; I vow to save them.
Delusions 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.
Verse of the Kesa
Vast is the robe of liberation,
A formless field of benefaction.
I wear the Tathagata teaching,
Saving all sentient beings.
Gatha on Opening the Sutra
The Dharma, incomparably profound and infinitely subtle,
Is rarely encountered, even in millions of ages.
Now we see it, hear it, receive and maintain it.
May we completely realize the Tathagata’s true meaning.
Maha Prajña Paramita Heart Sutra
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, doing deep Prajña Paramita,
Clearly saw emptiness of all the five conditions
Thus completely relieving misfortune and pain.
O Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness,
Emptiness no other than form;
Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form.
Sensation, conception, discrimination,
awareness are likewise like this.
O Shariputra, all Dharmas are forms of emptiness:
Not born, not destroyed;
Not stained, not pure, without loss, without gain.
So in emptiness there is no form, no sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness.
No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; no color, sound, smell, taste, touch, phenomena.
No realm of sight, no realm of consciousness, no ignorance and no end to ignorance,
No old age and death, no end to old age and death,
No suffering, no cause of suffering, no extinguishing,
No path, no wisdom and no gain. No gain and thus the Bodhisattva lives Prajña Paramita, with no hindrance in the mind.
No hindrance, therefore no fear.
Far beyond deluded thoughts, this is Nirvana.
All past, present and future Buddhas live Prajña Paramita
And therefore attain Añutara-Samyak-Sambodhi.
Therefore know Prajña Paramita is the great mantra,
The vivid mantra, the best mantra, the unsurpassable mantra .
It completely clears all pain. This is the truth, not a lie.
So set forth the Prajña Paramita mantra,
Set forth this mantra and say:
Gate Gate Paragate! Parasamgate! Bodhi Svaha! Prajna Heart Sutra!
All Buddhas throughout space and time
All Bodhisattva Mahasattvas
Maha Prajña Paramita.
Thank you to our dharma friends at San Francisco Zen Center for this format and support.