Some forethought and prep can help you create a more supportive environment for sitting and help you to make the most of this opportunity.
Create Your Space
- Check the wifi signal where you plan to sit.
- If possible, arrange yourself to sit facing a bare wall with your computer set up nearby and to your side. Get your camera up at eye level, so we’re not looking up at you from below.
- Before sesshin starts, choose where you will walk for kinhin (if you have the space), and clear it of distraction or clutter.
- Having a Buddha figure or picture and/or lighting incense may reinforce your intention for sitting.
Meals and Gear
- Plan Your Meals: Before sesshin begins, reduce the number of decisions you’ll have to make during sesshin. Plan out your meals, or even have them ready to pull out of the fridge.
- Have your mat, cushions, and supports at the ready. The less arranging you have to do between rounds of sitting, the more focused you can stay.
- Turn off your phone AND leave it in a different room. Studies show that just knowing our phone is in the room with us can be distracting. Determine ahead of time if there is a reason you need to check your phone and when to do that.
- You will need to download the Zoom app onto your device. Get oriented to these functions (they show up in different places on tablets and laptops):
- Gallery/Speaker View. You can toggle back and forth between these two. Whichever you’re in, the other will be displayed in the corner of your screen so you can toggle back.
- Mute/Unmute. Be sure to unmute when you go to dokusan.
- Video. This also toggles on and off.
- Before you go to dokusan, switching to “Speaker View” will minimize your own picture and put Roshi in the foreground. When you are IN Speaker View, the upper left or right corner says “Gallery View”.
- Dim your screen during rounds of sitting to prevent distraction.
- You’re also free to turn your sound up or down as you wish.
- Hover over your own video and click “…” for some options like “Hide Self View” in which others can still see you, but you won’t get distracted by looking at yourself.
- Make sure you’re correctly named (check the lower left corner of the box with your own video). If you click on “…”, you can rename yourself.
Going to Dokusan
- Anyone who is attending at least two blocks of sitting per day is eligible for dokusan.
- As in live sesshin, you will be assigned to a dokusan group. Be sure you know your dokusan group number.
- At the beginning of each block of dokusan everyone will receive an invitation to dokusan on their screen. Please accept the invitation ONLY if your group is called first and you wish to go. Otherwise click “Later.” You will be able to re-access the invitation when your group is called by clicking on Breakout Rooms on your screen. If you select “Later”, the Breakout Room will still be available (at the bottom on a laptop, in the upper right corner on a tablet).
- If you have accepted an invitation to go to dokusan, you will be moved to a Breakout Room titled Dokusan Line. You can continue sitting with your screen to the side, and when your turn comes, you will be moved into the Dokusan Room, and Roshi will ring a bell to alert you. At that point, unmute yourself and face your screen. Make sure you have it up at eye level. You can dispense with the customary bows and prostrations. Just tell Roshi what your practice is and begin. When your dokusan is over, select Leave Breakout Room, and you will move back to the zendo (the main meeting room).
- If your spouse or partner is also in sesshin, you will have a different group number and will be going to dokusan in a different block. When your group number is called, your partner can do zazen in another room during that block. The person in the other room can log onto the Center’s audio-livestream (https://www.rzc.org/library/streaming-audio/) so they won’t need to time their own rounds.
- If you have trouble signing onto the meeting, check https://www.status.zoom.us and keep trying. It’s always possible that there may be technical difficulties. The sound might drop out or the app might crash. Just roll with it. We’ll do our utmost to keep things flowing and reset things as there are issues. When in doubt, just keep sitting and mind the schedule.