*Online* Zazenkai, Sat, March 21

Dear Oxbow Zen Sangha,
We hope this note finds you and your family well.  In these uncertain times, with social distancing, our practice and community connection is ever more important.

We are excited that the Zazenkai originally planned for this coming Saturday, March 21, will actually be taking place online, in a half-day format (8:45-Noon).  We are especially excited to do so in close collaboration with our friends from the New Paltz Zendo, another affiliate group of the Village Zendo, under the leadership of Jo An Hoshi.  Its wonderful to all join together for practice!

Dana:  We are acutely aware that the Village Zendo relies on people’s financial contributions for its existence.  Maintaining space in New York City is very costly and the rent is high.  And yet the Village Zendo has touched so many lives and the ripples keep spreading far and wide.  Given that social distancing means that the Village Zendo is not receiving donations from people for its programming, we ask that your Donations for this Zazenkai be made to the Village Zendo (https://villagezendo.org/support-us/).   Listen to your heart’s generosity in making your offering.

Schedule: We invite you to join everybody on Zoom by 8:45 AM to set up and test your tech, and to settle into your space, so that we can start Zazen promptly at 9 AM.  Notice that a “ping” is heard whenever somebody joins or leaves the Zoom meeting, so please join or leave during a Stretching/Break period only.
Here is the schedule for the Zazenkai, so you can plan your day.

8:30 AM The Zoom meeting room will open.

8:45  Be done signing on, so you can test your tech, connect with folks, and settle into your space.    As we settle into Zazen, please mute your microphone.

9-9:30 Zazen (Jikido)
9:30-9:35 Verse of the Kesa 
9:40 – 10:10 Zazen
10:15-10:35 Dharma Talk 
10:35-11:05 Zazen
11:10 Seated Heart Sutra Service (Ino & Doan) 
11:30 Open Sozan
12:00 Shared sit ends.  
(Interviews may continue until about 1:30 PM.)

For the chants, please keep your microphone muted.  You will hear the Ino/Chant Leader so you can chant along.  

Interview will be offered by Jo An Hoshi and Soshin Hoshi.  The teachers will call you using WhatsApp video.  Interviews will be taking place after the talk and will continue into the early afternoon (even past Open Sozan, as needed). Please make sure you have WhatsApp installed on your phone before the Zazenkai.  The teachers will contact you on WhatsApp when it’s your turn.  

Action Item:  If you would like to meet with a teacher, please sign up by sending email to Kenko (volker.ecke@gmail.com) with the following information:

  • Which teacher would you wish to see?  (Jo An Hoshi, Soshin Hoshi, either one)
  • What is your phone number?  (Which we will use using WhatsApp.)
  • Do you have particular needs to see a teacher *before* Open Sozan?  Do you have a preference to see a teacher *after* Open Sozan?

We will share a preliminary list of interviewees for each teacher, so you have a rough sense whether your interview will take place before or after Open Sozan.  

Robes:  Given that the external forms of a Zendo do not hold us during as firmly this online Zazenkai, we think that robes might be a helpful container supporting our practice.  So, if you have robes we would encourage you to wear them.  

Looking forward to practicing with you this coming Saturday (and maybe more frequently as a balance to social distancing),

Oxbow Zen Sits Now **Online**

Hello everybody,
We hope this message finds you well.  As part of the recommended efforts at social distancing, the Friends Meeting House has closed until at least the end of March.  
Starting immediately and continuing until at least the end of March, the Oxbow Zen Sunday morning meetings will connect us all *online* for meditation using a video platform.  (We just did a quick test-run. A few technical recommendations below.)

Remember: Times of upheaval can be important times for practice.  Let’s stay connected!

Sunday schedule for tomorrow:

  • 8:00 AM:  A link to a Google Hangouts video room will be emailed to this list.   Connect early if you want to test your tech.  You can point your camera wherever you like.  It might be nice to get a visual sense of all the people sitting together.
  • 8:15 AM:  The Jikido (time keeper) will start the sit.  
  • 8:45 AM:  The sit will end with Four Vows and Three Bows.  (We can see how the chanting together works over video 😉  )

Right after this sit (8:50’ish), there’s an opportunity to connect for a check-in, to hear what’s going on with everybody.  It’s a chance for connection in this time of social distancing.  And also an opportunity to brainstorm opportunities for practicing together; e.g. additional evening sits, connect the online sits with sangha members at other Zendos, e.g. at the Hyannis Zendo or the New Paltz Zendo or the Village Zendo, etc. etc.   
Everybody is invited to participate! 

We can figure out a schedule for future Sunday sits at the check-in.

This email list can also serve as a path of connection.  Every person on the list can post.  If you have ideas, suggestions, concerns, etc. related to our evolving practice together, don’t hesitate to post and reach out!

Looking forward to practicing with all of you,

Tech recommendations:

  • For now, we’re using Google Hangouts (https://hangouts.google.com/).  I suspect you might need some kind of Google login …
  • The video link can open in a browser on your PC.  There is also a “Google Hangouts” app for your phone.
  • Connect early to test your tech.
  • After connecting, you can mute/activate your microphone and your video camera using the controls that appear below the center of the screen.  (Both start set to ON, I think.)
  • For loudspeakers & microphones, make sure they are turned up just right and not redirected to a smart speaker somewhere.  (e.g. turn off Bluetooth)
  • For the conversation, please use head-phones to cut down on echo and feedback for everybody.  I don’t think they are needed for the silent sit.
  • … and a space for the traditional unexpected tech mishap … 
Prepare and take your seat, wherever you are.