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). On the 20th of July 2019, in a ceremony held at the Garrison Institute, New York, Andrew was given denbo transmission by his teacher Barry Magid. This is full transmission in the lineage and acknowledgement of mastery on the Zen way. The title for a Dharma successor is Sensei. A sensei is free to function as a Zen teacher in any way they find appropriate including transmitting their own students. Andrew is a current member of the Lay Zen Teachers Association.
Andrew's CV (pdf, 80kb).
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.
I will maintain conﬁdentiality around anything you discuss with me and will expect you to do the same.
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.
ORDINARY MIND ZEN SCHOOL - MID-NORTH COAST
Andrew welcomes all people with a sincere desire to discover for themselves what it means to awaken from the “self-centred dream” to the simple reality of “being just this moment”. Andrew is dedicated to preserving and maintaining, Charlotte Joko Beck and Barry Magid’s vision of a psychologically minded Zen that can be fully embodied, realised and transmitted in the midst of our everyday life of love and work.
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 nondual inquiry.
Other Ordinary Mind Zen School Centres in Australia
Ordinary Mind Zen School Sydney
Ordinary Mind Zen School Melbourne
Ordinary Mind Zen Brisbane
4/54 Wheatley Street, Bellingen
CWA Hall, 21 Elizabeth Street, Sawtell