Quotes by Charlotte Joko Beck

"Life always gives us
exactly the teacher we need
at every moment.
This includes every mosquito,
every misfortune,
every red light,
every traffic jam,
every obnoxious supervisor (or employee),
every illness, every loss,
every moment of joy or depression,
every addiction,
every piece of garbage,
every breath.

Every moment is the guru."
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"When we refuse to work with our disappointment, we break the Precepts: rather than experience the disappointment, we resort to anger, greed, gossip, criticism. Yet it's the moment of being that disappointment which is fruitful; and, if we are not willing to do that, at least we should notice that we are not willing. The moment of disappointment in life is an incomparable gift that we receive many times a day if we're alert. This gift is always present in anyone's life, that moment when 'It's not the way I want it!"
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"Most of our difficulties, our hopes, and our worries are empty fantasies. Nothing has ever existed except this moment. That's all there is. That's all we are. Yet most human beings spend 50 to 90 percent or more of their time in their imagination, living in fantasy. We think about what has happened to us, what might have happened, how we feel about it, how we should be different, how others should be different, how it's all a shame, and on and on; it's all fantasy, all imagination. Memory is imagination. Every memory that we stick to devastates our life."
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"It's of no use to look back and say, "I should have been different." At any given moment, we are the way we are, and we see what we're able to see. For that reason, guilt is always inappropriate."
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"Joy is being willing for things to be as they are."
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Books by Charlotte Joko Beck

  • Nothing Special
  • 3,303 ratings
  • September 3rd 1994 by HarperOne

    (first published September 3rd 1993)

  • Now Zen
  • 33 ratings
  • January 1st 1995 by HarperOne
Charlotte Joko Beck
  • Charlotte Joko Beck

  • Date of birth: March 27, 1917
  • Died: June 15, 2011
  • Born: in The United States.

  • Description: Charlotte Joko Beck was an American Zen teacher. Born in New Jersey, she studied music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and worked for some time as a pianist and piano teacher. She married and raised a family of four children, then separated from her husband and worked as a teacher, secretary, and assistant in a university department. She began Zen practice in her 40s with Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi in Los Angeles, and later with Hakuun Yasutani and Soen Nakagawa. Having received Dharma transmission from Taizan Maezumi Roshi, she opened the Zen Center San Diego in 1983, serving as its head teacher until July 2006.
    Beck was responsible for a number of important innovations in Zen teaching. In particular, she taught students to work with the emotions of everyday life rather than attempting to avoid or escape them. Because she was adept at teaching students to work with their psychological states, she attracted a number of students who were interested in the relationship between Zen and modern psychology. Several of her Dharma heirs are practicing psychologists/psychiatrists. In 1995 Joko, along with three of her Dharma heirs, founded the Ordinary Mind Zen School.
    Shortly after Beck’s departure in 2006, she revoked Dharma transmission from two senior students: Ezra Bayda and Elizabeth Hamilton. Beck also stated that Zen Center San Diego should not claim to represent her or her teaching. In 2006 Joko moved to Prescott, Arizona, where she continued to teach until she retired as a teacher in late 2010. In the spring of 2010, Joko announced Gary Nafstad as her last Dharma successor

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