The Ordinary Mind Zendo was founded in 1996 by Barry Magid, a Dharma heir of Charlotte Joko Beck, and is dedicated to her vision of a psychologically minded Zen practice adapted to the needs of American students practicing in the context of their everyday lives. The zendo is a center for non-residential practice and is committed to the proposition that the Dharma can be fully practiced, realized and transmitted in the midst of lay life.
Ordinary Mind Zen is nonetheless a religious practice, grounded within the larger Soto Buddhist tradition of shikantaza, or just sitting. According to Eihei Dogen, zazen is not a technique of meditation, not a means to an end of enlightenment, happiness or any form of self-improvement, but is itself the full expression of who we are, as human beings and as Buddhas in a world of impermanence and interconnectedness.
Under the direction of Claire Slemmer, the zendo offers students the opportunity to develop an individualized, disciplined practice that can integrated into their daily lives. Barry Magid offers weekly Dharma talks and individual practice interviews (dokusan) and leads regular monthly practice intensives and longer retreats (sesshins) each year.