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Online Meeting Practice Guidelines

We will open the online Dharma Hall 10-15 minutes before our start time, and ask that new Zoom users please take 10 – 15 minutes before their first sitting to become familiar with the common functions. Please join on time to help cultivate the harmony of practicing together.

Using Zoom Software

Download and install the software:

To control your microphone/audio:

  • Please mute your microphone during meditation (to limit background sounds that are heard by others), and unmute before you wish to speak. 

  • To do this, click on the microphone icon (conveniently labeled Mute/Unmute) found in the lower-left corner of the Zoom screen. 

  • The image of a microphone with a slash indicates mute.

  • Volume is controlled by the regular controls on your device.

To adjust the video:

The two most commonly used controls to adjust video in the online zendo are

  • Start/Stop Video (bottom left)

  • Enter Full-Screen Click (top right)

Other common controls:

  • Chat: connects listeners with the moderator, and shows the closing recitation.

  • Participants: allows attendees to see who else is in the online Dharma Hall.

  • Gallery View vs Speaker View 

  • Note: Please, do not click “share screen”.

Minimize visual distractions

  • If using a desktop computer, shift the space from a workstation to a practice space by clearing or covering work papers. 

  • Ensure that pictures with text or light sources are not directly in front of the camera.

  • One recommended way to sit is in profile, facing away from the computer screen. This allows participants not to be distracted by the movement of other sangha members. Some choose to sit off-camera which is also fine.

  • Please face the camera away from any direct light sources, including candles. Many members position the camera to face an altar or incense.

  • Please turn off your camera if you are going to be moving around during practice so as not to distract other meditators.

Minimize audible distractions:

  • Best practice includes muting your microphone upon entering the online Dharma Hall and leaving it muted during most activities.

  • During announcements or activities that involve discussion, please unmute while “bowing in” and again mute when “bowing out.” It is best to say 'bowing', or '[Name] bowing in/bowing out' in addition to performing the action.


This information was adapted from that developed by the San Francisco Zen Center. We are deeply appreciative for their guidance.

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