Ordinary Mind Zen


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.


The Ordinary Mind Zen School - Mid North Coast is a non-denominational organisation and welcomes students from all religious or secular orientations. Our teacher, Andrew Tootell, is dedicated to preserving and maintaining, Charlotte Joko Beck and Barry Magid’s vision of a psychologically minded Zen practice adapted to the needs of Australian students practicing in the context of their everyday lives. We are committed to the proposition that the Dharma can be fully practiced, realised and transmitted in the midst of lay life.

Ordinary Mind Zen is nonetheless a practice, grounded within the larger Soto Buddhist tradition of just-sitting. According to Eihei Dogen, zazen is not a technique of meditation, not a means to the end of enlightenment, happiness or any form of self-improvement, but is itself the full expression of who we are, as human beings in a world of impermanence and interconnectedness. Under the guidance of our teacher, we offer students the opportunity to develop an individualised, disciplined practice that can be integrated into their daily lives. Andrew intends to offer regular Dharma talks and individual practice interviews (dokosan) and lead regular one day practice intensives and a longer retreat (sesshin) each year.


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.

Zendo (Meditation Hall) Procedures

Silence and Stillness

Silence begins with the opening ceremony at the beginning of every sitting and ends with the completion of the closing ceremony. In the Zendo we do our best to maintain silence and stillness. Once settled on your cushion, sit still and do not move (wiggle, fidget, stretch, scratch etc.) until the end of the period. Our practice requires us to maintain stillness in the midst of discomfort, but if you are in intense pain, perform a seated bow and adjust your position as unobtrusively as possible.


In our Zendo we maintain connection to traditional Japanese Zen practice by performing standing bows. We bow with our hands joined in “gassho”. This is an acknowledgement of something beyond "you and I". When doing standing bows we place our hands together and make a 45 degree bow. Bow with hands in gassho whenever you enter the Zendo, bow when arriving at your seat and turn and bow to the other practitioners before sitting down. Bow when distributing or receiving chant handouts.

Leaving The Zendo

If you need to use the bathroom during practice periods the best time is during walking meditation (kinhin). However, if you need to leave during zazen, to go to the bathroom or to attend individual interview with the teacher, make a sitting bow, stand and walk quietly to your destination. On returning, do a standing bow when entering the Zendo, make a standing bow to your seat, turn and do a standing bow to the other practitioners sitting opposite and then resume your sitting meditation.

Kinhin (Walking Meditation)

In slow kinhin, we match our breath to our footsteps. As you inhale your heel rises and your foot moves forward. As you exhale that foot is planted on the ground and the other begins to rise. Follow the jikido’s (Zendo Leaders) example. Step at your own pace, taking small or large steps, whatever room allows. Do not be concerned with keeping up with the person in front of you in slow kinhin. Keep close to the person in front during fast kinhin.

The Four Practice Principles

The four practice principles are chanted at the end of a practice period or at the end of a day’s sitting. When reciting the principles blend with the group in volume and follow the jikido’s pace:

Caught in a self-centred dream, only suffering.
Holding to self-centred thoughts, exactly the dream.
Each moment, life as it is, the only teacher.
Being just this moment, compassion’s way.

Dress in Zendo

Dress for comfort in neat casual clothing. Neutral colours are preferred.


Switch phones off or on silent (not vibrating) mode.

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
Email geoffreydawson@bigpond.com

Ordinary Mind Zen School Melbourne

Teacher: Geoff Dawson
Contact: Anja Tanhane tanhane@iprimus.com.au, Tom Fisher t.fisher@internode.on.net

Ordinary Mind Zen Brisbane

Teacher: Gregg Howard, a Dharma successor of Charlotte Joko Beck
Email: zen@ordinarymind.org.au

Zen School in New York

Ordinary Mind Zendo New York

Teacher: Barry Magid, a Dharma successor of Charlotte Joko Beck
Email: ordinarymind@mindspring.com

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 is the founder and guiding teacher of Ordinary Mind Zen - Mid North Coast, located 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 Coffs Harbour. 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).



Our Practice

Dharma Talks


Go to the full archive of Andrew's 50+ Dharma Talks

Guided Meditations


This year I will be offering an optional relational zen practice group which will follow on from the meditation group practice and dharma talk each Sunday from 12 till 1pm.

What is a relational zen practice group?

Well, we are partly inventing it as we go along but it is inspired by the Zen Precepts discussion groups that I attended in New York along with relational therapy and the teaching of my teacher, Barry Magid. Relational therapy is concerned with understanding and exploring our experience of self always originates from a self-with-other context. Relational therapy draws upon the traditions of attachment theory and relational psychoanalysis to understand the different self states we experience. It is especially concerned with understanding how we experienced our relationships with significant others when we were younger and how we coped with injuries to our self (relational trauma) by developing ways of coping (splitting, avoidance, denial) with the emotional pain of say rejection and the need to protect against the possibility of further hurt. The self then is always co-created in a relational field from infancy onward and the ways of coping we developed in our earlier years are often replicated in our adult relationships. Using our selfless awareness practice that we cultivate in Zazen, we can start to observe during the 14 days between groups and then reflect in the group, on how we experience self in everyday life – particularly those moments when we lose ourselves in an emotional reaction of some kind.

In the group process, we will work through the relevant Zen precepts each fortnight as a starting point for exploring how we experience our self with others. Each fortnight I will give a dharma talk on a topic of relevance to the precepts and integrate this with the teachings of Joko Beck, Barry Magid and relational theory. The precepts, which originated in monastic practice, will be interpreted broadly and focused on how we live our lives as lay practitioners. They will be taken to be pointers (beacons of light) towards how we practice in the context of relationships we encounter everyday – ranging from intimate relationships and friendships through to how we relate to the person who is serving us at the supermarket. This will also include how we relate to ourselves.

We will finish the year with a Jukai (Precepts or Commitment) Ceremony sometime in October or November this year. Rizzetto (2005) explains how “in the Zen tradition, taking the precepts is made formal in the ceremony of Jukai, in which a student is initiated as a lay Buddhist practitioner. Jukai is from the Japanese, and means to receive the precepts.” We can also interpret Jukai as a secular ritual of commitment, to mark the student’s transition from exploring if Zen is for him or her to the decision to commit to the path of Zen practice within this particular Sangha and with this particular teacher. The ceremony will be offered to those who participate in the group throughout the year and who would like to publicly formalise their commitment in this way.

Recommended Reading for the Group:

Charlotte Joko Beck (1989): Everyday Zen: Love & Work
Barry Magid (2013): Nothing is Hidden: The Psychology of Zen Koans
Diane Eshin Rizzetto (2005): Waking up to what you do: A Zen practice for meeting every situation with intelligence and compassion.


Writings on Zen and Psychotherapy

Books by Charlotte Joko Beck

Books by Barry Magid

Books by Ezra Bayda

Books by Elizabeth Hamilton

Books by Diane Eshin Rizzetto

Practice Readings



Students maintain a schedule of sitting zazen for a minimum of 20-30 minutes in their own time each day.

Weekly Meetings

Formal group meetings are held every Sunday, from 10:00 to 12:00, alternating every week between the Sawtell Zendo located at the CWA Hall, 21 Elizabeth Street, Sawtell and the Promised Land Zendo located at 294 Promised Land Loop Road, Gleniffer (15 min drive north from Bellingen down the Gleniffer Road). See the Calendar for further details.

Weekly Group Schedule:

1000 – Standing Yoga and Orientation
1010 – Zazen
1035 – Kinhin
1040 – Zazen
1105 – Kinhin
1110 – Practice Readings/Chanting
1115 – Dharma Talk and Inquiry Practice
1200 – Practice Principles and Close followed by informal tea and biscuits



One day sesshins (intensive practice periods) from 9 AM to 4 PM will be offered on a regular basis throughout the year. We will also have two longer sesshins (from 2-5 days) during the year. These will also be non-residential from 9 AM to 4 PM.

See calendar for further details.


July 2017 - December 2017

Compassion-Focused Psychotherapy Services


I provide individual psychotherapy to young people and adults. My work is influenced by psychoanalytic therapy, existential therapy, narrative therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, compassion-focused therapy, Zen and mindful self-compassion training. It is my intention to empower clients to be with whatever problems and dilemmas they are currently encountering in their lives and relationships in a way that frees them from becoming trapped in negative mind states and stories. This commonly includes problems with anxiety, depression, complex trauma, loss of meaning or enjoyment of life and suicidality.

My approach to psychotherapy and counselling is premised on the centrality of an authentic human relationship between therapist and client where the client can feel safe, understood and respected as an equal. From this foundation it is then possible to explore the concerns each client brings to the session and tailor therapy interventions to the uniqueness of each person. In this sense, therapy is invented anew for each client as described in the traditions of existential and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. When appropriate, I also provide clients with skills to practice in-between sessions as found in the traditions of cognitive behaviour therapies, Zen and mindful self-compassion training.

For more information see my cv (pdf, 80kb).

Opening Hours

I am available in Bellingen on Tuesdays, Fridays and alternating Thursdays. I am also available every Wednesday at 1/3 McKay Street Macksville. My hours are limited to these days so I do not offer a 24/7 crisis service. You can leave a message on my mobile at any time, and I will call you back as soon as I can. Alternatively you can send me a text message and I will call or message you back. My mobile no is 0428 684 446.


My main consulting room is Suite 4/54 Wheatley Street in Bellingen. This building is between the North Bellingen Medical Centre and the Triple B radio station. You can park out on the street or in the car park at the back of the building: you will see the driveway to the car park is directly to the left of the building. Walk in through the front door, past the Sullivan Nicolaides pathology lab and continue to the very back of the building, last door on right. If the door to the waiting room is open please come in and take a seat, I will greet you shortly. If the door is closed, please knock on the door and take a seat in the corridor next to the Osteopath’s room. I will come to get you as soon as I am free.

I also offer an outreach service to the Youth Clinic at “The Hub” on the corner of William and Church Street Bellingen every alternate Thursday afternoon. These sessions are bulk-billed.

Telephone/Skype Counselling Sessions

I am also happy to offer telephone or Skype consultations for those people who live outside of the Bellingen region, including people who may live interstate or overseas. I enjoy counselling on the telephone and find it to be a very effective medium for counselling. Please contact me by email to arrange an appropriate day and time.

Appointment length

A standard appointment is 50 minutes.


  • The standard fee per session is $120.
  • I do accept referrals from Victims Services New South Wales
  • All fees are to be paid at the time of consultation (EFTPOS available).
  • Payments can also be made directly into my bank account or via my PayPal account (see below).
  • Reports and letters to your GP are part of a Mental Health Care Plan are free of charge, and reports for Victims Services are funded by Victims Services.
  • All other letters and reports attract a fee of $75 per page.

Pay via Paypal

Medicare Rebate

If you have a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP you are eligible for the Medicare rebate. The standard Medicare Rebate for mental health social workers is $74.80. The gap is therefore $45.20. Please bring your referral, your Medicare card and a key card attached to a savings or a cheque account. This way your Medicare rebate can be processed at the time of payment and the refund will be automatically deposited into your account.

*Please note Medicare rebates cannot be deposited into a credit account.

Bulk Billing

I do ask that you pay the gap fee, even if on a Mental Health Care Plan. I do not automatically offer bulk-billing, as I believe a $45 investment is not too much to ask. Bulk-billing can be arranged however if you are experiencing financial hardship or alternatively if the GP has referred you via Healthy Minds (ATAPS). Please speak with me about this during the first session. There are no fees charged if you are referred through Victims Services New South Wales.

Cancellation Policy

If for some reason you cannot make your appointment please ring or text as soon as you can to let me know. If I have some warning then I may be able to allocate the time to another client.

Privacy and Information

As part of providing counselling services I will need to collect and record personal information from you that is relevant to your current situation. This information will be a necessary part of the psychosocial assessment and treatment. The information is retained in order to document what happens during sessions and enables me to provide a relevant and informed mental health service.

Access to Client Information

At any stage you as a client are entitled to access to the information about you kept on file, unless the relevant legislation provides otherwise. You can ask about appropriate forms of access.


All personal information is treated as confidential and kept secure. Apart from communicating with your referring GP or Medical Specialist (providing thank you letters for referrals and update reports), I will not disclose any information about you or your family to any other agency or person without your permission. However there are some limits to this confidentiality. There are situations where legal and professional obligations require mental health social workers to release client information. These are:

  • If the information is subpoenaed by a court
  • Where failing to disclose the information places you or another person at serious risk of harm
  • Child protection concerns
  • If your prior approval has been obtained to provide a written report to another professional or agency, or to discuss material with another person (e.g. a lawyer or an employer), or organisation (e.g. School), or if disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law.

Disclosure to Specific Third Party: Under the Mental Health Care Plan

Under a Medicare Mental Health Care Plan or an ATAPS (Healthy Minds) referral, it is a requirement for mental health social workers to communicate with your referring GP or specialist to provide update reports and address urgent problems. This form of communication (including emails, telephone calls, and/or letters) is a condition of your plan and is provided free of charge.

Get in Touch

Promised Land Zendo

294 Promised Land Loop Road, Gleniffer NSW 2454

Sawtell Zendo

CWA Hall, 21 Elizabeth Street, Sawtell