(no place like home)
Founded by Mental Health Social Worker / Psychotherapist & Zen Teacher Andrew Tootell
“Awareness is our true self; it’s what we are. So we don’t have to try to develop awareness; we simply need to notice how we block awareness, with our thoughts, our fantasies, our opinions, and our judgments. We’re either in awareness, which is our natural state, or we’re doing something else. The mark of mature students is that most of the time, they don’t do something else. They’re just here, living their life. Nothing special.”
– Joko Beck
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 was founded in 2015 by Andrew Sono Tootell, an Australian Dharma heir of Barry Magid, who is a Dharma heir of Charlotte Joko Beck. We are dedicated to their vision of a psychologically minded Zen practice adapted to the needs of Australian students practicing in the context of our everyday lives. We are committed to the proposition that the Dharma can be fully practiced, realized and transmitted in the midst of lay life.
OzZen is founded on the mission statement of the Ordinary Mind Zen School (see below) which states unequivocally that “the awakened way is universal”. Membership of OzZen does not preclude individual affiliation with other religions or other philosophies of life – everyone is welcome. We are committed to deep ecumenism and to building dialogue and inclusiveness into our practice culture.
If you feel you may have an affinity with OzZen, please contact Sono to arrange an appointment prior to attending one of our on-line or on-site meetings (contact details below).
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. Our approach to teaching views both teacher and student as friends in the dharma, walking the path together. The relationship is founded upon collaboration and dialogue rather than authority of office. 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 zoom.
The live teachings, including all the on-line resources you will find on the website and the teacher-student relationship are offered freely, in accordance with the tradition of transmitting the dharma in the Buddhist tradition and ensuring that no person needs to miss out on these teachings because of financial limitations. However, for those students who have financial resources to do so, there is an opportunity to offer “dana” – the practice of giving freely to support the teacher and the sangha. Donations to the teacher can be made by going to the DONATE NOW button at the end of this page. Similarly, to donate to the sangha, please make a direct deposit into the OzZEN bank account. Students who have limited financial resources may consider giving freely of their time to the sangha by volunteering for leadership roles and other ways in which their skills can contribute to the on-going maintenance of the teachings, thereby creating a participatory and inclusive sangha culture.
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
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).