Our School

The Ordinary Mind Zen School is evolving a style of Zen that is adapted to Western temperaments and ways of life, but maintains the rigour and discipline of its traditional roots.

Our School v2

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.

Charlotte Joko Beck

Charlotte Joko Beck (1917-2011) was the founder of the Ordinary Mind Zen School.

She studied Zen with Hakuun Yasutani Roshi and Soen Nakagawa Roshi. In 1983 she received Dharma transmission from Hakuyu Maezumi Roshi. She established the San Diego Zen Centre, and later moved to Prescott, Arizona.

She is the author of the Books Everyday Zen, and Nothing Special: Living Zen.

Ordinary Mind Zen School

Charlotte Joko Beck 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 Charlotte Joko Beck, 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 practice 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, where in 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 ensure comprehensive practice in all aspects of living.

May the practice of this school manifest wisdom and compassion, benefiting all beings.