Wednesday, June 15, 2011


The following from Joko's daughter and son:

Our mother, Joko, died peacefully at 0730 Wednesday June 15, 2011.

That's all for now.  I'll email again.  For now, please think of some  
teaching of hers that may have opened you to transformation in some  
aspect of your life and the transformation that occurred.

Love to all and thank you for your prayers for a peaceful passing for  
the most amazing person I have ever known.

Gassho,  Brenda Chiko

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Joko June 13

The following from Joko's son, Greg Tando Beck:

"Hi all, Just a note to you about Joko. Brenda and I are at here side and keeping her comfortable. She will pass on soon, like today or so. So wish her well in her final chapter and send her your prayers and love."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

JOKO update

As of June 11, 2011, Joko will no longer see visitors or take calls.  She is well, feeling fine and eating a small amount; she continues to get weaker.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I received the following from Joko's son and daughter, and spoke at length with Joko's daughter. Many of you have known Joko, and many have read her books.
 The practice at Prairie Zen Center is rooted in her teaching, practice and love. Please appreciate her life and include her in your practice now.
The letter and pictures are self-explanatory.
Elihu Genmyo Smith

    From Brenda.
My mother, Joko, is now in hospice and I don't expect her to live more than one or two more weeks.  I put her into hospice because she was not eating and losing weight.  Please know she is completely happy.  She gets to lie in her hospital bed and no one is telling she has to get up and walk every hour.  No one is asking her to please eat.   Now, she will take a few bites of breakfast, and maybe a few bites of her other meals and eat all her vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.  She is happy as a clam and, as she told me, will die when she's ready.  She says it's soon. 
If you would like to visit her, there are a few guidelines.  Please call her home number (928-778-4841) first and ask the caregiver (Robin, Olivia, Cari or Diane)  if it's okay to visit and set up a time. (The caregiver will check with Joko.)   When you visit her,  a bit of talking is okay if she's up to it, but mostly it's just about being with her.   Also, if her caregiver asks you to step out or anything else, please know they have her best interests at heart.
If you are out of town and would like to visit, please call her home number to check if a visit is okay.  If so, once you get to Prescott, you'll need to call again and see if your scheduled appointment time still works for her. PLEASE  DO NOT COME TO THE HOUSE UNANNOUNCED.   I cannot provide housing.   There are a few people in town who have offered a place to sleep if you can't afford a hotel.    Please ask for their number to make further arrangements.
As you know, My mom loves all of you and we want to accommodate as many visitors as possible as long as she is able. Again, please know she is quite content and without any suffering.
I asked her if she had any words for this email and she said for you to figure it out.
Thank you and love to you all.
P.S.  Fotos taken tonight of Joko enjoying her ice cream.  (the flash didn't work all the time)

PS - If the pictures below do not load for you, they are also to be found at:







Friday, June 3, 2011

What To Do? Part 1

Most of us know that life is ongoing changes.

We sometimes remember that conditions inherently can not satisfy because of impermanence; because particular changes that we do not want occur, or what we do want does not occur.

So our life task is to live joyously in the midst of changes, to see what to do skillfully and appropriately in the midst of not seeking satisfaction in the particularity of changing conditions. This is true of this body-mind state, of this wider world.

"Illinois is said to be the most corrupt state" I was recently told by someone who lives in the state capital and has some experience with this.

The former governor is on trial for corruption - and justifies his actions in his testimony as just the "way" politics in the state is done. His predecessor as governor is in prison after conviction on corruption charges.

Illinois is now a one-party state in that the legislature and governor's office are controlled by Democrats. Currently, the state promised pensions and benefits are being cut and bills the state owes, along with constitutionally mandated funding, are going unpaid for long periods due to the near bankruptcy of the state. Taxes are being raised and new fees levied on ordinary people - all the while the state politicians are creating rewards for themselves and their allies.  Someone troubled by this asked, what to do?

A new contorted redistricting plan has just been created in a secret, backroom process with little real public input. It is designed to insure that those in power stay in power and even expand their power.

What is our skillful and appropriate practice when circumstances either close or far create difficulties in life? Of course, in the above political situations you can call and write political representatives, organize groups and protest. And when that does not result in changes that satisfy, what next? In fact, this is always our practice question, whether dealing with political and economic circumstances or those of family and social relations, as well as sickness, old age and death, this ongoing change. As the 6th Ancestor of Ch'an/Zen says, Ongoing change is Buddha Dharma.

When there are no actions that we can see that are skillful and appropriate, or when our actions seem to result in little or no change, what to do?

In general, if we find that we are upset or angry it is useful to truly experience this anger bodily. Allowing holding to be released, there can be arising and passing. Then we might see more clearly what is skillful and appropriate.

If we continue to hold to upset, anger, there is the practice of body-mind looking, who is upset/angry?

Another way is to look, what is this?