Gregg Howard is the Guiding Teacher of Ordinary Mind Zen Brisbane. He began practicing Zen in the 1970s in Australia and the United States. In 1981, he co-founded Brisbane's first Zen group. Soon after, he commenced studying with Charlotte Joko Beck and arranged her annual visits to Brisbane. He spent time in Japan studying Zen and exploring the shakuhachi, a bamboo flute associated with Zen Buddhism. In the early 1990s, he established the Everyday Zen Group, which later became Ordinary Mind Zen Brisbane, modelled on Joko Beck's practice approach. He received permission to teach from Joko Beck in 1996 and Dharma transmission in 2004. Up until 2012, Gregg spent 35 years teaching musicology and world music in univesities, and since then, has focused on Zen teaching.
Vince Jensen is the Guiding teacher of the Bellingen Zen Group in NSW, and Associate teacher of Ordinary Mind Zen Brisbane. He commenced studying Zen in 1985 with Charlotte Joko Beck at Zen Center of San Diego. After moving to Australia in 1999 and to Bellingen in 2003, Vince practised with several teachers including Sexton Burke Roshi and Ellen Davison Roshi at the Bellingen Zen Group, and with Gregg Howard of Ordinary Mind Zen Brisbane. He was appointed Practice Leader by both Ellen Davison (2016) and Gregg Howard (2017) and in 2021 received Dharma transmission from Gregg Howard, and became a teacher in both the Bellingen Zen Group and Ordinary Mind Zen Brisbane.
Charlotte Joko Beck was the founder of the Ordinary Mind Zen School, and today her Dharma Successors and their students lead centres around the world. In the 1960s, Joko Beck studied with Hakuun Yasutani Roshi and Soen Nakagawa Roshi. In 1983 she became the 3rd Dharma heir of Hakuyu Maezumi Roshi and moved to Zen Center of San Diego, where she taught for the next 23 years. Her teachings and three books have been highly influential on western Zen, emphasising rigorous lay practice integrated into the fabric of everyday life. In 2006, Charlotte Joko Beck moved to Prescott Arizona, where she passed into deepest samadhi on Wednesday 15 June 2011, aged 94.
In 1995, the purposes of the Ordinary Mind Zen School were 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 authorized. 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 organization 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 and 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.