Charlotte Joko Beck died yesterday at age 94. My heart goes out to all who were close to her.
Joko’s expression of Dharma had a profound influence on Zen in North America. She touched so many with her books and talks, and the way she lived her life. She was a role model for me in numerous ways, especially in my first years of practice, when I read her books thoroughly and repeatedly.
Joko visited us at Dharma Field in 2001 and in 2003. We rented space at a local church for the first visit and the event sold out quickly. Her second visit was much quieter, just for the Dharma Field community, and there was opportunity for dokusan. No matter the setting, large, small, or one-on-one, I was impressed by her directness and no-nonsense response to questions. There was no pretense about her and no room for softness in the vital matter of awakening. Her sincerity was pure and clean, cutting through delusion with precision.
Joko’s gifts were immeasurable and will always be with us. Countless are deeply grateful.
My heart is filled with humility and gratitude. Thank you Joko Beck!
Joy is “what is,” minus our opinion of it.
—Charlotte Joko Beck