The Dude and the Zen Master

Jeff Bridges, Bernie Glassman

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0142180521

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“[A] truly incredible book about two friends talking about the good life.” —Huffington Post

Zen Master Bernie Glassman compares Jeff Bridges’s iconic role in The Big Lebowski to a Lamed-Vavnik: one of the men in Jewish mysticism who are “simple and unassuming,” and “so good that on account of them God lets the world go on.” Jeff puts it another way. “The wonderful thing about the Dude is that he’d always rather hug it out than slug it out.”

For more than a decade, Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges and his Buddhist teacher, renowned Roshi Bernie Glassman, have been close friends. Inspiring and often hilarious, The Dude and the Zen Master captures their freewheeling dialogue and remarkable humanism in a book that reminds us of the importance of doing good in a difficult world.

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master who helped bring Zen to this country. Bernie became one of the first American teachers. He not only started the Zen Peacemakers, he also built homes for homeless families, child-care centers, housing and medical treatment for folks with AIDS, and companies—including a big bakery—to hire people who didn’t have jobs. That bakery won an award one year for best New York cheesecake and now makes brownie products for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. He’s considered a major player in socially engaged

anything. BERNIE: Like reaching a knot in the wood? JEFF: Yeah, maybe. When you’re a performer, you feel the pressure to get on with it. You have this set amount of time, and if you don’t perform you’re going to lose your audience. But Warren created this safe place where there was no time limit. You had the space to really be with the song and feel it. When you’re making a movie, it’s up to the actor to create this kind of safe inner environment, but a director can support that, as if he’s

everywhere. Bernie’s head, Charlie. JEFF: So this thought came to my mind: Why don’t I do a project called Head for Peace and send these heads out to work for peace? That set off a whole stream of different feelings and emotions. One said, Well, yeah, but I don’t want these guys to go, I’m really fond of them. Another said, Nobody’s going to like these heads like I do. They’re just hunks of clay, but I’ve invested a certain something in them. I don’t name them or anything like that, but

you know? Because—BOOM! We are born. What choice do we have? BERNIE: It’s the only game in town. Still, most of us won’t play the game. JEFF: To consciously play the game is wild. I remember when I first got involved with the Hunger Project over thirty years ago. Werner Erhard had these gatherings where he would talk about how enormous the problem of world hunger is, and how we know how to end it. He specified the different countries that had ended hunger and how they’d done it. It’s not a

Way. A lot of people think of that as halfway between one thing and another thing. In Zen, we say that the Middle Way is just what’s happening. It’s not good or bad; it’s just what is. The question is, do I bear witness or not? The fingers ache, so I might take Advil, I might not do anything, or I might take heroin. After all, they’re all remedies. If I bear witness not just to the pain but also to the whole thing, the Advil might make more sense because it probably won’t become an addiction

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