In order to support regular daily practice in the midst of our busy lives, No-Rank Zendo hosts a virtual zendo (via video conference) every weekday morning from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM.
The virtual zendo is accessible via Zoom which can be downloaded onto a computer, tablet or smart phone simply by selecting the link. Zoom will then ask to be installed. This is a simple process that requires no computer skill.
Navigating the app may be a bit harder but should not be daunting. Here are some pointers.
Please angle your camera/phone or tablet so that it faces either some part of your body or your altar. (There is no need to have the camera pointed toward your face.)
Everyone except for the head of zendo will automatically be muted upon entering. Please leave yourself muted (even during chanting).
There are two options for viewing. Either focusing on the speaker or grid mode. Given that no one will be speaking, it is best to set your interface for grid mode. This is handled differently on different consoles. For instance, on a computer or tablet, tapping on the window will offer a grid button. On a phone, swiping to the right should bring up options.
It may be wise to play around with the app prior to the actual sit to familiarize yourself with the settings -- although some options may not be available without others also online.
The zazen period starts at 6:00 AM with a stretch bell at 6:25 AM. The closing bell is rung at 6:50 at which the head of zendo will lead in in chanting the Four Great Vows in Traditional Verse.
For those unfamiliar with the forms, each zazen period begins with a clap, followed by four bells. A period is closed with one bell and two claps. The stretch break will last for about one to two minutes, after which there will be another clap and four bells. Again, the period will close with a bell and two claps.
Because your microphone will be muted, feel free to come in at any time and leave at any time. Ideally, you would come for one or both of the zazen periods, but this is not necessary. What is most important is that everyone is supported in increasing their practice to some extent before beginning their day.
You may join in with the chant or simply listen. The chant is repeated three time and is as follows:
SHU JO MU HEN SEI GAN DO
BO NO MU HEN SEI GAN DAN
HO MON MU RYO SEI GAN GAKU
BUTSU DO MU JO SEI GAN JO
A series of bells will then mark the opportunity for sampai (Buddhist prostrations acknowledging Buddha, Dharma and Sangha). These will be hard to follow without having been in the room with others performing sampai, but suffice it to say that after a series of bells, there is a single bell indicating that it is time to bow followed by a clank indicating it is time to stand again.