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Lions Roar : July 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2006 92 GLASSMAN GAVE UP the position of head of the White Plum Asanga after only one year. He went into a kind of exile that lasted for the first two years after Holmes’ death. He lived near Joan Halifax in New Mexico for much of that time, reading Holmes’ journals, listening to the music she loved, and trying to see, finally, the world through her eyes. People came by to visit, but mostly Glassman just sat and bore witness. When he emerged, in the year 2000, it was with a beard and a ponytail and a new wife, Eve Marko, a writer and dharma heir whom Glassman and Holmes had known for many years. And he emerged with- out his robes. He was sixty-one years old, and, having taken the most devastating of plunges, he was changed. At the time, he wrote about his experi- ence in this magazine, saying, “When she was still alive, Jishu had brought into our relationship certain energies that lay dor- mant in me. She had brought her softness, her femininity, her down-to-earth practical- ity and deep empathy into our life together. Now, with her death, I either had to manifest them myself or watch them disappear from my life. Jishu was not the only one to die on that first day of spring. Bernie died, too. “Someone else is now emerging, some- one else is coming to life. For lack of a name, I call that person Jishu-Bernie. That new human being is unfolding. I still don’t know who that person is or what that person will do. There are many things I still don’t know. The third tenet of the Zen Peacemaker Or- der is healing ourselves and others. But often I think that what’s really happening is more basic than that. When we don’t know—when we let go and sit with shock, pain, and loss, with no answers, solutions, or ideas, with nothing at hand but this mo- ment, this pain, this grief, this absence— then out of that something arises. And what arises is love. I don’t have to do anything. I don’t have to create anything. Love arises by itself. It’s been there all the time, and now, when I’m less protected than at any other moment in my life, it’s there.” When Glassman came out of his retreat, he had more fully, or finally, understood his own teachings. He didn’t want to teach any- more—not in the conventional, hierarchical sense of the word—he wanted to hang with his students, and talk, and listen, and learn. BACK IN THE 1970’S, Maezumi Roshi spoke to his first heir about starting a Zen school. But it wasn’t the right time, and the idea was shelved. But when Glassman got a call in 2000 saying that he could have Mon- tague Farm for about $250,000 in legal fees, he decided to take it and make good, while he still had time, on his teacher’s vision. The Maezumi Institute is now the main study and practice center of the Zen Peacemak- ers—it is their “mother home.” The Insti- tute offers classes and long-term programs in five main areas: Zen, social enterprise, peacemaking and social action, contempla- tive arts, and what Glassman calls “multi- faith.” Glassman will eventually open a restaurant nearby as part of the institute, and a hotel and a school for children, all of which will serve as Greyston-like “labs” for his programs. Maybe, eventually, Glassman says, the Institute will be another Safed. A step in that direction, for Glassman, was appointing Enkyo O’Hara as the co- spiritual director of the Zen Peacemak- ers family last year. Many of Glassman’s students agree that this was one way their teacher was beginning to honor Holmes’ vision of greater partnership. When I asked Glassman, though, if he felt he’d actually learned about partnership in the years since he and Holmes spoke about it, he shifted uncomfortably in his seat and thought for a few moments before speaking. Finally he said, no, he hadn’t re- ally learned completely about partnership. He said, very seriously, shaking his head, “Male conditioning is a terrible thing.” “He wants to embrace a concept of working together and listening to the com- munity,” says Enkyo O’Hara. “And he’s been trying to be active in the world and at the same time work on this issue. So how do you have an organization that functions,” she says, “and at the same time is meeting the conditioning of the ego that he’s talking about? I mean, the ego is so wonderful when it gets something done, and yet it can create harm as it does it. I think it’s very heroic to try to work with that—probably doomed to failure, but it’s wonderful activity.”