Connecting Through Virtual Sitting

As we navigate through this uncertain and challenging time, our ongoing Virtual Sitting has given us a place of refuge where we are able to inspire and uplift each other through our sitting, connecting us all in loving support for one another. One thing is clear, not a single one of us is going through these tough times alone.

Ever since we started Virtual Sitting through various Viber groups created for this purpose, we have been practicing everyday, at various times of the day, with different people of like-minded persuasion. Everyone has been meditating and praying, not only with members of Zen Center Philippines sangha, but with other groups such as the Sangha in Barcelona, Spain and the Single Stone Sangha and the Zendo West Sangha of Canada. We are indeed one Universal Sangha.

Our Zazen is sheltered in the Universal Zendo. And this Zendo is none other than in front of a wall, a nook in your bedroom, a space in your garden, under the clear blue sky, or just about anywhere you are. How long do we sit? For as long as we want and are able to, whether 10 minutes, 25 minutes, or more. The Universal Sangha has no walls, no limits, no boundaries, no form to follow. It is free flowing.

Virtual sitting is THIS, right HERE and NOW.

If you wish to do zazen meditation and join our Virtual Sitting, please send an email to and accomplish the following information:

First Name:
Family Name:
Mobile #

Virtual Sitting Schedule

The schedule of Virtual Zazenkai is outlined below. You may participate in the sits on a part-time basis. Even if you can sit with us virtually for only one or two sits, the time you spend sitting with us will be priceless and we would be deeply grateful for each of those minutes that you sit with us. As with other Zen Center of the Philippines activities, participation is free of charge.


DAY TIME Zazen/Meditation/Sitting Sitting with Universal Sangha Where to Post in Viber Group
Monday 5:30 am to 7:00 am Zazen Daily Sitting
5:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Zazen with Davao
Tuesday 5:30 am to 7:00 am Zazen Single Stone Sangha, Belleville, Ontario Canada Virtual Zazenkai
7:00 am onwards Open Sitting Daily Sitting
Wednesday 5:30 am to 7:30 am Zazen Zendo West, Toronto, Canada Virtual Zazenkai
7:30 am onwards Open Sitting Daily Sitting
Thursday 5:30 am to 7:00 am Zazen Daily Sitting
Friday 5:30 am to 7:00 am Zazen Daily Sitting
Saturday 5:30 am to 7:00 am
Zazen Daily Sitting
Sunday 5:30 am to 7:00 am Zazen Virtual Zazenkai
8:55 am to 9:00 am Chant/Recite Hotsugan Mon (Optional)
9:00am to 11:00am Zazen Virtual Zazenkai
11:00 am to 11:30 am Listening/reading Teisho (Optional)
Chants/invocations (Optional)
4 Great Aspirations (Optional)
Ekomon Paraphrased (Optional)
Just sign in and out everytime you sit so that others may be encouraged to join you.
Time Zones
Eastern Time (New York & Toronto) -12 hours
Pacific Time (California & Vancouver) -15 hours
Central Europe Summer (Germany & Spain) - 6 hours
British Summer Time - 7 hours
Japan Time + 1 hour
Singapore Time same as Philippines

Prayers / Invocations



Words for Arousing the Vow
Dogen Zenji’s Eihei Koso Hotsugan Mon


We vow together with all beings, from this life throughout countless lifetimes, to strive to hear the true Dharma;
That upon hearing it, no doubt or lack of faith will arise in us;
That upon meeting it, we will abandon the way of the world and uphold the true Dharma; And in so doing, together with the great earth and all sentient beings, we will accomplish the Way of Enlightenment.

O Buddhas and Patriarchs enlightened by the Way, have compassion on us.
Release and liberate us from all evil karma created in our past; remove all obstacles from our practice of the Buddha-dharma.

The virtue of the Buddha Way pervades the entire universe. Please remember that all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Patriarchs have shared our condition before their awakening. Now, we follow the True Way of Enlightenment so that we too can be Buddhas, fully Awakened Ones.

Venerating Buddhas and Patriarchs, we are one Buddha and one ancestor; contemplating Bodhi-mind, we are Bodhi-mind. Because of their limitless compassion, we are able to realize Buddhahood and throw away this attainment.

Our ancestor Longya said:

Those who in past lives were not awakened will now be awakened. Free this body that is the fruit of accumulated lives.
Before enlightenment, ancient Buddhas were exactly the same as we. Upon enlightenment, we will be exactly as the ancient ones.

Quietly explore the depths of this web of cause and effect, as these words are the teaching of a verified Buddha. Confessing and repenting in this way, we cannot fail to receive the boundless help of Buddhas and ancestors.
Confessing to the Buddha with mindful heart and dignified body, the power of our disclosure and repentance will melt all roots and branches of our transgressions. This is the one pure color of true practice, of the true mind of faith, of the true body of faith.



Let us recite the Four Great Aspirations.


Creations are innumerable,
I resolve to free them all. Delusions are inexhaustible,
I resolve to extinguish them all. The aspects of truth are countless,
I resolve to learn and master them all. The way of enlightenment is peerless, I resolve to accomplish it.

or the Japanese chant of the same:






Ekomon Modified for Virtual Zazankai

May whatever merit that comes from this practice Go toward the Enlightenment of all beings.
May it become a drop in the ocean Of the activity of all Buddhas
In their tireless work for the liberation of all beings.

May the power of this sitting help us realize
That this health crisis is nothing but a dark shadow
On the empty stage of the never-ending play of cause and effect, Which is neither apart from nor outside of our True Self.

And may the earnestness of our efforts
Usher this shadow back to the point of its Ultimate Origin.

All Buddhas throughout space and time All Honored Ones,
Boddhisattvas, Mahasattvas, Wisdom beyond wisdom!
Maha Prajna Paramita!


THE HEART SUTRA, paraphrased:


Practicing deep insight meditation We can see clearly
That what we call ourselves is just an idea With no real substance to it;
And when we have no substantial self, Suffering and distress are no longer a burden. All things and all forms of life
Are also empty of any real substance, Like clouds drifting through the sky.
And this emptiness is no other than rocks and flowers, Dogs and cats and human beings.

Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form. All sensations, perceptions, mental reactions
And consciousness are like this.
All things are essentially empty, not born, not destroyed, Not tainted, not pure, without loss, without gain.
So to make the point emphatically clear:
In emptiness there is no form, no sensation,
No perception, no mental reaction, no consciousness; No eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue;
No color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no object of thought, No seeing or feeling, no remembering or forgetting, no thinking; No ignorance and also no ending of ignorance,
And so onto no old age and no death; No suffering, no cause of suffering,
No end of suffering, no practice of the Way, No Wisdom and no attainment of Wisdom.

When we realize there is nothing to attain, We have no self-pre-occupations
And so live our lives of uninhibited love and compassion for others. With no hindrance in our minds and no fear
We see through deluded thinking and understand
That right here and now is where the peace and joy of life is to be found. All enlightened people of past, present and future
Live by this great insight,
Attaining full and complete maturity of being. Therefore know that these few simple words Are really a great mantra
Which completely connects to all happiness. Look clearly into this moment of your life
And you will see that these words are true, not just dogma. Vow to understand this Great Way of Empty Wisdom
To the depths of your being, and sing it with great joy:





Prayer before meals


First, we consider in detail the merits of this food, and remember how it came to us;

Second, we evaluate our own virtue and practice, lacking or complete, as we receive this offering;

Third, we are careful about our greed, anger, and ignorance, to guard our minds and to free ourselves from error;

Fourth, we take this good medicine to save our bodies from emaciation;

Fifth, we accept this food to achieve the Way of Enlightenment.


Food is effective in ten ways to aid us in our practice.


There are no limits to its good results and ends in eternal happiness.


Let us take our bowls in hand and say:


Source of all Being, We are thankful for this meal,  The work of many people and the sharing of other forms of life. Accept this gratitude as a prayer for those who are hungry.   May your creatures everywhere be blest.



Prayer after meals


We thank You, Source of all Being, For the food we have just received. May it continue to nourish us For there are no limits to its good results.


Let us remember again how it came to us.


Source of all Being, We are thankful for this meal,  The work of many people and the sharing of other forms of life. Accept this gratitude as a prayer for those who are hungry.   May your creatures everywhere be blest.


Articles and Write ups

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Zazen—sitting meditation practice—could offer ‘prisoners’ a way to experience freedom of the mind despite physical confinement - By Eric S. Caruncho

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This time of social distancing is an opportune time to reconnect with our selves—but without completely shutting out the reality in our midst. Two Zen practitioners show us how it’s done. By DAHL BENNETT

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