Gillian Coote, a senior resident teacher of the Sydney Zen Centre, met Robert Aitken Roshi in 1980, regularly attending his annual sesshin in Sydney as well as training periods and sesshin in Hawai’i. She also studied with John Tarrant and Subhana Barzaghi, from whom she received dharma transmission in June 2004 at Kodoji, Temple of the Ancient Ground.
Gillian has been involved with developing sangha at Sydney Zen Centre since the early ’80’s – organising sesshins, editing SZC’s journal, Mind Moon Circle and being involved in sangha ceremonies and activities. Inspired by their experience of sangha building at the Ring of Bone Zendo in California in 1982, Gilly and her architect/builder husband Tony, have built and maintained, with the help of the sangha, our bush zendo Kodoji at Gorricks Run. She trained with environmental activist and Buddhist scholar, Joanna Macy, and for fifteen years was the co-ordinator of the Sydney branch of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. She has practised with Thich Nhat Hanh, attending his artists’ retreat in Ojai, California and joined his pilgrimage to Buddhist sites in India and Nepal. She directed and produced ‘The Awakening Bell’, a documentary film made during his visit to Sydney.
Gillian is a social documentary filmmaker, writer, grandmother and bush regenerator.