The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman

The Dude and the Zen MasterThe Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman is an entertaining, charming, inspiring look into the minds of two practicing Buddhists through the lens of a Hollywood cult film.

The Hollywood film in question is The Big Lebowski in which Bridges stars as “The Dude.” Although the Coen Brothers didn’t write the movie from a Zen perspective, Roshi Glassman views The Dude as a great example of the men of Jewish mysticism who “are simple and unassuming, and so good that, on account of them, God lets the world go on.”

The book is a transcript, essentially, of several conversations between the two men during which they analyze and place into Buddhist context (in a very dudesque way) popular phrases from The Big Lebowski such as “the dude abides” and the rug that “really tied the room together.”

Glassman is Bridges’ buddhist teacher and the two are great friends, so listening in on their conversation is a real treat — their closeness shines through the exchanges, as do their humanity and senses of humor. The book isn’t organized into logical chapters and topics, which may be a criticism for some, but I enjoyed the stream of consciousness nature of it all, letting the conversation flow in whichever direction it was meant to go.

Another dudesque move, really.

An added bonus is a closer look into the life of Bridges as a man, actor, husband, father, and son. I love Bridges, so this was a plus for me, though some readers might feel he veered too far into the personal. But again, this book is two friends talking, so personal stories are bound to arise, and this reader is pleased they did and made the cut.

Overall, I love any book that can make complex theories and tenets accessible to the average person; this is one of Glassman’s goals, and The Dude and the Zen Master succeeds.

Quite simply, I loved this book and marked off lots of pages and quotes; I know I’ll be reading it again. When I was finished, I close my e-book with a contented sigh and a huge smile, feeling exceptionally optimistic about the world and my place in it. Can you really ask for more in a book?

5 espresso cups out of five!

** NOTE: I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley; the opinions expressed are my own. The link in the post above is an affiliate link, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

2 Beans of Wisdom to “The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman”
  1. Jeni

    Thanks for the review Michelle. I was unaware of this book and love both Glassman and Bridges too! I am sure I am going to agree with you once I read it.

    michelle Reply:

    Enjoy, Jeni! xx



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