Buddha statue photo by Jon Voss

photo by Jon Voss

Resources for Online Zendos and Zoom Hosts

This page has been set up to support communities as they adapt their ceremonies, small groups, and meditation for an online setting during the global pandemic. For the most part, instructions and training utilize the Zoom platform, but techniques and ideas can certainly be applied to any online meeting platform.

All are welcome to join our weekly drop-in clinics, Wednesdays at 11am Pacific time. These weekly clinics are designed as open workshops in which participants bring any questions or problems they are facing, as well as their own ideas and expertise for what is working in their own sangha. We share resources we’ve discovered during the week, try out different methods, do hands-on training, and generally provide a place for mutual support. If you need the meeting password, please contact Jon Voss.

Zoom hosts: please be sure that you are using the latest software! From Zoom: Important Notice: Please begin updating all your clients to Zoom 5.0 now. After May 30, 2020, all Zoom clients on older versions will receive a forced upgrade when trying to join meetings as GCM Encryption will be fully enabled across the Zoom platform. Click here for more information.

Essential article from NYT on basic steps to stop Zoombombing This is a little bit dated already after the last 2 Zoom software updates, but you should still make sure you are checking all of these issues on your settings. If you are using the up-to-date Zoom software, when you are a host or co-host you will see a security button on the bottom of your screen, which gives quick access to these main features like disallowing screen sharing, etc. (How to Keep ‘Zoombombers’ Out of Your Meetings – PDF)

Establishing forms for Online Zendos This is obviously something that is quickly evolving, but the detailed information that SFZC lays out on their Online Zendo page is really helpful in letting people know what to expect when they join an Online Zendo.

Resources for sound files for use in online zendos, or for ideas for ceremonies:
1. SFZC Temple Sounds
2. Services, Sutras & Texts
3. Jon Voss’s Soundcloud Sets, including a slightly edited version of the SFZC han, clappers, large bells and others. We are updating this based on other temples’ needs, and let me know if you need help setting up a specific sound or ceremony.
Remember that if you are using sounds for your online zendo, you will want to use the Zoom feature to Share Screen/Advanced/Music or Computer Sound Only (see below). You may also want to check your audio levels, usually you want to reduce sound output to about 40%.

showing the interface on Zoom

This is the advanced screen share interface, select audio only.

An example of an online Full Moon Ceremony, and some details about how it works

The Full Moon Ceremony, above, has been abbreviated and simplified to help the flow for a Zoom ceremony. It’s not highly produced and is just recorded from the Zoom call. One of the hardest parts about doing ceremonies on Zoom is that the audio is designed to reduce “squawk,” so it give preference to one speaker vs another. In this ceremony, Jiryu (the speaker you hear at the beginning and the male voice in the call and response) was serving as Doan from Green Gulch (on one computer), and Abbess Fu was serving as Kokyo, on another computer. The Doshi was Abbot David at City Center, who had a laptop facing him in the Buddha Hall, and also an iPhone closer to the alter. I was the host of the Zoom meeting and was using the “spotlight video” feature to select the camera view between David bowing with full view of the alter and room, David making offerings at the altar, and Fu chanting. Jiryu, who was co-host on Zoom, was doing any necessary muting or unmuting with he and Fu. All participants were muted without the option to unmute, until the ceremony was completed.