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Charlotte Joko Beck


“Awareness is our true self; it’s what we are. So we don’t have to try to develop awareness; we simply need to notice how we block awareness, with our thoughts, our fantasies, our opinions, and our judgments. We’re either in awareness, which is our natural state, or we’re doing something else. The mark of mature students is that most of the time, they don’t do something else. They’re just here, living their life. Nothing special.”  ― Charlotte Joko Beck

Charlotte Joko Beck

(March 27, 1917 – June 15, 2011) was an American Zen pioneer and dharma successor of the late Taizan MaezumiRoshi She was the founder of Ordinary Mind Zen and an influential author.

Born March 27, 1917 in New Jersey, Beck came to Zen practice in her early 40s – much later than most convert Buddhists. She studied piano at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Divorced with four children, she worked at the University of San Diego as an administrative assistant and also taught piano.
She passed away at 7:30 a.m. on June 15, 2011 at age 94 surrounded by family and loved ones.