(no place like home)

Founded by Mental Health Social Worker / Psychotherapist & Zen Teacher Andrew Tootell

You are the Buddha,
This is the Dharma,
We are the Sangha.


OzZen acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and recognise the continuing connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have to their lands and waters. We specifically pay our respects to the Gumbaynggirr People, of the Mid-North Coast, as the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which our first Meditation Hall is located. Sovereignty has never been ceded. It always was and always will be, Aboriginal land.

OzZen Ordinary Mind Zen School

OzZen welcomes all people with a sincere desire to discover for themselves what it means to wake up from the illusion of an independent, separate self. When our identification as this separate self “drops away”, we enter through the gateless gate and experience the wonder of who we already are – a primordial clearing, a no-thing in which we experience the illumination of being as the presencing of all things (beings). This is what Dogen means by:

To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be actualised by the myriad things.

OzZen is dedicated to preserving and maintaining, Charlotte Joko Beck and Barry Magid’s vision, of an existential, socially-engaged and psychologically-minded approach to Zen practise that can be fully embodied, realised and transmitted in the midst of our everyday life, in this time and place.

Style of teaching

The teaching is highly pragmatic. It is less concerned with the concentrated pursuit of special experiences than with the development of insight into the whole of life. It favours a slower but healthier, more responsible development of the whole character, in which psychological barriers and emotions are addressed rather than bypassed. It sees practice as working with whatever comes up in our everyday lives, including being in a relationship, family life, the workplace, as well as the formal and structured practice of Zen meditation and practice inquiry.

The teacher-student relationship

The teacher-student relationship is one of the three foundational pillars of Zen practice, the other two being meditation and community. This is how the teaching has always been transmitted from one generation to the next. However, at the end of the road, Life itself, is the only teacher we need.

Local and distance relationships

Local students can access the teacher-student relationship by attending regular meetings, listening to dharma talks and guided meditations, asking questions about the teaching and participating in practice inquiry in either public or private interviews or both.

Distance students can access the teacher-student relationship by listening to recorded dharma talks, asking questions about the teaching via email, participating in practice inquiry in private interviews and individual guided meditations by phone or skype.

OzZen Ordinary Mind Zen School

Charlotte Joko Beck (1917-2011) and her dharma successors have established the Ordinary Mind Zen School, whose purpose is set forth in the following statement:

The Ordinary Mind Zen School intends to manifest and support practice of the Awakened Way, as expressed in the teaching of Charlotte Joko Beck. The school is composed of her dharma successors and teachers and successors they, as individuals, have formally authorised. There is no affiliation with other Zen groups or religious denominations; however, membership in this school does not preclude individual affiliation with other groups. Within the school there is no hierarchy of Dharma Successors.

The Awakened Way is universal; the medium and methods of realisation vary according to circumstances. Each Dharma successor in the School may apply diverse approaches and determine the structure of any organisation that s/he may develop to facilitate practice.

The Successors acknowledge that they are ongoing students, and that the quality of their teaching derives from the quality of their practice. As ongoing students, teachers are committed to the openness and fluidity of practice, wherein the wisdom of the absolute may be manifested in/as our life. An important function of this School is the ongoing examination and development of effective teaching approaches to insure comprehensive practice in all aspects of living.

May the practice of this School manifest wisdom and compassion, benefitting all beings.

Other Ordinary Mind Schools in Australia

Ordinary Mind Zen School Sydney


Geoff Dawson, a Dharma successor of Charlotte Joko Beck

02 9955 0110
0419 986 494


Ordinary Mind Zen School Melbourne


Geoff Dawson

Anja Tanhane tanhane@iprimus.com.au
Tom Fisher t.fisher@internode.on.net

Ordinary Mind Zen School Brisbane

Gregg Howard, a Dharma successor of Charlotte Joko Beck


Get in touch

Sawtell Zendo
CWA Hall, 21 Elizabeth Street, Sawtell

If you found our talks or meditations helpful, please consider donating here.

(These donations are for teachings only.
To make a donation towards the ongoing existence of OzZen as an organisation please make a direct deposit into our bank account).