News Update - What's happening in 2018 +

Dear friends, There will be some changes for next year and some exciting new events (see below).

Zendo Closes for Christmas and New Year Break
Over the holiday period, regular meetings of OMZ go into recess. Our last sitting morning for 2017 will be at Sawtell on Sunday 10 December, followed by an end of year lunch at the new Indian Restaurant in Sawtell. We will resume sitting at Sawtell in the new year on Sunday 28 January. I wish everyone a pleasant and refreshing holiday break and look forward to seeing you all again in January.

Promised Land Zendo Closure
As some of you know, the Promised Land Zendo will no longer be a venue next year. We will continue to meet at the Sawtell Zendo every second Sunday through-out next year.

New! Weekly Tuesday Morning Meditations in Bellingen
In lieu of the closure of the Promised Land Zendo, Bellingen residents will be able to attend weekly meditation every Tuesday from 7.30 - 8.30 am in my consulting rooms, located at Suite 4/54 Wheatley Street, North Bellingen (next door to the medical centre), commencing on the 23 January, 2018.

OMZ Calendar for 2018
Here is the calendar for the first half of 2018. We will resume regular fortnightly meetings at Sawtell in late January, and One Day Retreats at the Sawtell Zendo in February. In April, we will hold our first Residential Retreat (Sesshin) at North Farm, near Bellingen. This will be a very exciting development in the life of our community and I am confident that attendance will be strong and I am planning to hold two of these residential retreats every year in Autumn and Spring. There will be a limit on the number of places available for those wishing to stay for the two nights, however, there will also be a reduced fee for those people who wish to attend the full schedule of the retreat but return home at night for sleep.

Thanks to all
Finally, I want to thank you all for your support during this year. Because of your commitment and compassionate presence, we have established a place of safety and trust, allowing us to create a genuine sense of community. Of course, practice doesn’t end just because group meetings go into recess. Over the holiday period, try to keep up the momentum of your practice, both through sitting whenever you can, and through all our daily life reminders and calls to practice you will meet. I very much look forward to welcoming everyone back in the New Year for another active year of group practice. Best wishes to everyone!!!


Teacher - Andrew Tootell

Dr Andrew Tootell (born 1956) is an Australian Zen teacher in the Ordinary Mind School tradition, founded by Charlotte Joko Beck (1917 – 2011). Andrew lives on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, Australia, where he resides with his wife, sculptor Annie Quirk-Tootell.

Andrew is an accredited mental health social worker and maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Bellingen and Macksville. He has completed a Diploma in Narrative Therapy from the Dulwich Centre in Adelaide, where he studied with the late Michael White and a Masters of Clinical Science from the University of Adelaide where he studied psychoanalysis with the Adelaide Psychoanalytic Institute. Andrew also holds a doctorate from the Human Development and Counselling Department at Waikato University, New Zealand. He has a long term interest in exploring the common ground shared between his practice as a social worker, psychotherapist and zen student/teacher.

Andrew began Zen practice in 1988, inspired by reading Phillip Kapleau’s The Three Pillars of Zen, Joko Beck’s Everyday Zen and by the birth of his son, Joshua, from his first marriage. Andrew began sitting with the Sydney Zen Centre (Diamond Sangha) and later also practised in the Burmese Vipassana tradition at the Blue Mountains Insight Centre and later at the Adelaide Zen Centre. It wasn’t until he started corresponding with Barry Magid in 2002, (a dharma heir of Joko Beck and founder of the Ordinary Mind Zendo New York) that he settled down into a teacher-student relationship. During these years Andrew maintained a regular correspondence with Barry and travelled to New York when he could to attend sesshin. Since that time, Barry has always been Andrew’s primary teacher but he has also studied Koan practice with the late Sexton Bourke Roshi (1949 – 2011) and Ellen Davison Roshi, both teachers in the Diamond Sangha lineage. During 2014 Andrew travelled to New York to become the resident manager of the Ordinary Mind Zendo New York for three months, where he continued his training with Barry Magid and received denkai (transmission giving him permission to teach and offer the precepts). Andrew is a current member of the Lay Zen Teachers Association.

Andrew's CV (pdf, 80kb).




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, Awakened Awareness itself, is the only teacher we need. The teacher’s role is to guide the student to the realisation of this Awareness that has always been their True Nature.

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 nondual 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 nondual inquiry in private interviews and individual guided meditations by phone or skype.

Private interviews and guided meditations

Both local and distance students can make an appointment with the teacher for private interviews and/or guided meditations. Private interview sessions are for a maximum of 1- hour and the fee is $100 or 30 mins for a fee of $50. Private guided meditations are for 45 mins and the fee is $90. Payment to be made either via pay pal or direct deposit at the end of the session.


I will maintain confidentiality around anything you discuss with me and will expect you to do the same.


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.

Ordinary Mind Lineage Chart (pdf)

Other Ordinary Mind Zen School Centres in Australia

Ordinary Mind Zen School Sydney
Teacher: Geoff Dawson, a Dharma successor of Charlotte Joko Beck
Tel 02 9955 0110
Mobile 0419 986 494

Ordinary Mind Zen School Melbourne
Teacher: Geoff Dawson
Contact: Anja Tanhane, Tom Fisher

Ordinary Mind Zen Brisbane
Teacher: Gregg Howard, a Dharma successor of Charlotte Joko Beck

Zen School in New York

Ordinary Mind Zendo New York
Teacher: Barry Magid, a Dharma successor of Charlotte Joko Beck

Get in Touch

Sawtell Zendo (Meditation Hall)

CWA Hall, 21 Elizabeth Street, Sawtell