OMUK runs a Zoom Zendo on Tuesday evenings, and you would be very welcome to join us. Currently we are sitting from 7.15 - 9.00 UK time, with two periods of zazen, a Dharma talk, and an opportunity for discussion.
We can send you an email link to the Zoom Room, along with meeting ID and password.
No previous experience is necessary, though it would be helpful to talk to our teacher Malcolm before sitting with us for the first time.
Please read the Zendo guidelines below, they are intended to make sitting together as stress-free as possible for all of us!
On the one hand: please take these instructions seriously... on the other hand: we all make 'mistakes' most of the time...please just follow everyone else and do your best, absolutely no worries...
Sitting Together Online
Coming together to practice is a special time. Even though we are sitting at home, we try to show the same respect to each other and to our practice as in the zendo. We try to create a calm and settled space to attend to the moment-to-moment unfolding of experience in meditation.
Make your practice space as clear and tidy as you can, to minimise distractions for yourself and fellow practitioners. One recommended way to sit zazen is in profile, facing away from the computer screen. This allows you not to be distracted by other people moving around, and mirrors our formal practice of facing the wall during zazen. Some choose to sit off-camera; that’s also fine. The teacher will sit facing the camera. In the zendo we do our best to maintain silence and stillness. So please sit still and do not move (wiggle, fidget, stretch, scratch etc.) until the end of the period.
We invite you to join the sitting from 7.15 pm in order to say hullo to each other, and share any news or thoughts. This is different from the way we do things in the physical Zendo, because online this is our only opportunity just to meet and hear each other, as well as the sense of togetherness we develop sitting in silence.
We sit at 7.30 sharp. The leader will ask you to take your places, and you will hear the sound of the Han, (the traditional Zen woodblock) being struck. Then the leader will light incense, and the bell will ring three times to begin the first period of zazen. The zazen period ends with two bells. On the second bell, make a seated bow. The leader will announce kinhin (walking meditation). Please stand up with your hands together in gassho and face the screen.
Kinhin (Walking Meditation)
Kinhin (walking meditation) is optional, if you do need a comfort break or to get a drink this is the time to do it! Just 'bow out' once you have started walking, and 'bow in' again when you rejoin us.
So...stand in gassho, and wait for the sound of the clapper, at which point bow, and turn in the direction you'll be walking in. At the second sound of the clapper begin walking, and and carry on at a slow, steady pace until you hear the double sound of the clapper, then return to your mat and stand with hands together in gassho, and at the final sound of the clapper bow, and resume sitting on your cushion ready for the Dharma talk.
Dharma Talk and Discussion
Three bells will introduce the talk. Before the talk we chant together the traditional Verse on Opening the Sutra:
This Dharma, incomparably profound and minutely subtle
Is rarely encountered even in hundreds of thousands of millions of ages.
Now we can see it, hear it, hold and maintain it.
May we completely realise the Tathagata’s true meaning.
We always have a period of discussion after the talk, and your contributions are After the Dharma talk, discussion, or rest period, there will be three bells to begin the second period of zazen, and this time three bells to end the period. Make a seated bow on the third and final bell.
We finish by chanting the Ordinary Mind Practice Principles three times:
Caught in a Self-Centred Dream, only Suffering
Waking to a dream within a dream
Each Moment, Life As It Is, the Only Teacher
Being Just This Moment, Compassion’s Way
And finally we offer three seated bows to each other as a sangha.
NB: Please mute your microphone when joining the sangha in a chant. It sounds a little strange at first as you will only hear yourself and the chant leader.