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Lions Roar : May 2013
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2013 52 been published in book form as The Dude and the Zen Master. To talk about this new release, I requested an interview and today is the day. The three of us are settling into a corner of the lounge at New York’s Four Seasons Hotel and Bridges is asking if photos will be taken during our conversation. If so, he wants to set a good example and put away the water bottles an assistant has provided for us. “I’m trying to get off these plastic things,” he says. Three water goblets quickly appear on our table, plus a Danish and coffee with milk for Glassman and, for Bridges, tuna tartare, which is prettily served with pine nuts and chilies. As for me, I resist the urge to bring up white Russians—the drink of choice for the Dude, the character Bridges played in The Big Lebowski and for which he’s earned a cult following. When I ask Glassman what initially drew him to Bridges, he says, “Jeff is well-known, but he’s just a regular guy. He’s not somebody who makes himself out to be more special than any- body else. He’s interested in serious subjects. He’s comical and open. A lot of people only want to talk about their thing, in their way, whether it’s the liberal cause is the only cause, or some other cause is the only cause, or you’ve got to be Buddhist or you’ve got to be Zen or Tibetan. Everybody’s got so many fixed opinions— opinions they fixate on. I found Jeff to be much more open.” For his part, Bridges says he was drawn to Glassman from the get-go because he defied his expectations of a Zen master. With him there was no formality, no big deal. B EFORE B ERNIE GLASSMAN was a Zen master, he was an engineer and mathematician working in the aerospace industry. As he sees it, it was not a big leap from that field to Zen, because Zen is all of life. In everything we do, we can bring to bear what, in The Dude and the Zen Master, he calls “the Zen of action, of living freely in the world without causing harm, of relieving our own suffering and the suffering of others.” Glassman did his Zen training with the legendary Zen master Maezumi Roshi, who played an instrumental role in establish- ing genuine Zen in the West. They met in 1963, when Maezumi PHOTOSBYPETERCUNNINGHAM