Sacred Space for Home Retreat

As we find ourselves with sangha while also in our own home, we invite you to consider how to create the most supportive environment for yourself while online, knowing this contributes also to the entire mandala of our practice together. 

We have learned much already from our collective experience online, and we offer these guidelines to strengthen the retreat field for everyone.  

The basic principle is that we bring to the event the seriousness, focus, and singleness of participation that we would to a physical retreat.

To make these precious teachings and transmission speak to you, it is important we are able to see you as you participate. This cannot be underestimated. Dharma teaching is by its nature dialogical. Buddha did not say the same thing to everyone. He, like our own precious teachers responds to the people as they are in the moment. We strongly, strongly request you to be on Zoom, so that we can see you. If you cannot do this for the whole session, please do it at least at the beginning so we know you are there before going to YouTube.

Make sure you have good internet connection in the space and test your equipment for audio/video on Zoom while in the space.

Know the Zoom Controls – especially “raise hand” in the “Participant” menu, mic volume controls, mute/unmute (if instructed to), turning video on/off. You can find more instructions here.

As possible, set up your retreat participation screen as a space apart from the ongoing activities of your so that you can fully orient to the matter at hand.  Most if not all of you do this already. Please do not eat during the teaching and practice sessions unless there is a health reason to do so.  Drinking non-alcoholic liquids is fine.

Silence and put away cell phones, forgo conversations with others in your household, including interaction with pets if it interferes with your own or others’ focus. 

If you have upper or lower robes (for example, the red and white sen, please wear them)

It is a physical manifestation of a commitment to being a lay practitioner. If not, dress comfortably and modestly, and in a way you feel shows your respect.

In a large group, it is a kindness to start on time. Please do your best, knowing that sometimes it is not possible. If you join late, please do your own bows before sitting down (you can do this before turning on your camera, and simply offer folded palms to the teachers and the group as you sit down). Please allow 5-10 minutes to get set up on zoom so you can be ready. 

The same applies (except for physical prostrations) when we reconvene after meals and breaks.

 When on zoom, try to avoid sitting in front of a bright window as your face will then be in shadow.  Please allow yourself to be seen and have adequate lighting so we can see your face.  You can have a very good idea as to what we see by what you see on your own screen of yourself.  Please check, too bright, or too dark?

Audio:  Any distinct, or even distant sounds in your environment will transmit into the collective experience.   Therefore, keep muted unless you are recognized to speak.  And any time you are unmuted, please be mindful. Depending on your computer, even touching it can sound like a wind storm.

Please do not distract yourself and others by chatting in the chat box during teaching, unless you have relevant questions such as what page we are on, or what book is being referenced. All names for the dedication book are to be sent via private chat to “Dawn Mountain Prayer Book.” If you need urgent tech support, reach out via private chat to either “DM Tech” or “Gary.”