The school is unaffiliated with any Zen centers which fall outside of its own network. The history of the Ordinary Mind Zen School dates back to 1983, which was the year that Joko Beck had left the Zen Center of Los Angeles. That was the year her teacher, Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi, had been confronted by his students about his alcoholism and sexual liaisons with some female students. Joko Beck established the Zen Center of San Diego in 1983, currently run by Ezra Bayda and Elizabeth Hamilton, though Joko Beck had disassociated herself from these teachers.
According to Richard Hughes Seager, "By 1998, the Ordinary Mind School had centers in San Diego, Champaign, Illinois, Oakland, California, Portland, Oregon and New York City." There is no one set structure of curriculum in the Ordinary Mind School, as the Dharma Successors of Joko Beck get to decide their method of training independent of any organizational head. Long before retirement, Joko Beck had done away with all titles and no longer wore her okesa. She had distanced herself considerably from her roots in the Sōtō school, and much of the ceremony had been abandoned in favor of pure meditation practice.