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Ordinary Mind Zen School

From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Ordinary Mind Zen School
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Ordinary Mind Zen School

Tradition/Linage Zen
Main School Mahayana
Sub School Zen
Teacher(s) BUORG-Names::Names::Geoff Dawson
Contact Infotmation
Address Suite 4/188 Pacific Highway
North Sydney
New South Wales 2060
Country Australia
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Phone Phone::(02) 9955 0110
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Email Email::geoffreydawson@bigpond.comURIs of the form "" are not allowed.


Ordinary Mind Zen School Sydney, located in North Sydney, offers a Zen Buddhist approach to cultivating mindful awareness and presence in the activities of daily life.

It is open to beginner and experienced practitioners and people of all traditions. The group is evolving a style of Zen Buddhism that is adapted to Western temperaments and ways of life but maintains the rigour and discipline of its traditional roots.

Everyone is welcome to join us for our activities. We offer meditation two times a week, multi-day meditation intensives (sesshin) two times a year, and one day sitting (zazenkai) several times a year.

Before visiting the centre, it is advisable to contact our teacher, Geoff Dawson, to arrange an interview. If coming for the first time, it is a good idea to come early, around 6:15 PM, to get a feel for the centre and speak with Geoff about procedures.

It is also important that you use the registration forms on these web pages to sign up for weekend activities such as Zazenkai and Dharma Dialogue. Registration helps the organisation of each event, and also means that you can be contacted if for any reason the event is cancelled or rescheduled.

Style of Teaching

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. 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.

Ordinary Mind Zen School

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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 realization 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 insure comprehensive practice in all aspects of living.

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

Weekly Meetings

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Tuesday Evening Meeting

Tuesday night meditation involves two thirty minute periods of zazen and a third, shorter period of about fifteen minutes duration. Zazen periods are interspersed with Kinhin. Daisan (interviews) with the Teacher are available during the second and third sitting periods. At the end of the evening the teacher gives a Dharma Talk and there is an opportunity for discussion around the talk's topic.

There is a Facility Fee of $10 for attendance at Tuesday evenings. This payment is made on the night after the meeting has finished.

The Tuesday evening schedule is set out below:

6:50 PM Han 7:00 PM Sutra Reading 7:05 PM Zazen 7:35 PM Kinhin (Walking meditation) 7:40 PM Zazen 8:10 PM Kinhin 8:15 PM Zazen 8:30 PM Dharma Talk 8:55 PM Practice Principles 9:00 PM Ends

Friday Morning Meditation

Friday morning meditation commences at 6.30 AM. There is a single one hour period of zazen, followed by chanting of the Heart Sutra and Practice Principles. After the sitting, we often enjoy a casual coffee and breakfast at a nearby coffee shop. There is no facility fee for Friday morning.