Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master's Lessons in Living a Life That Matters

Overview

In Instructions to the Cook Glassman draws on the teaching of Dogen, the thirteenth-century founder of the Japanese Soto Zen tradition, to relate his own experiences as twentieth-century abbot-cum-entrepreneur. This book, written with Rick Fields, describes Glassman's vision and his work. It is the fruit of his long years of Buddhist practice and also of all the ways in which he has tried to improve the quality of life for those on the bottom rungs of society. The Greyston Foundation, which Glassman established ...
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Overview

In Instructions to the Cook Glassman draws on the teaching of Dogen, the thirteenth-century founder of the Japanese Soto Zen tradition, to relate his own experiences as twentieth-century abbot-cum-entrepreneur. This book, written with Rick Fields, describes Glassman's vision and his work. It is the fruit of his long years of Buddhist practice and also of all the ways in which he has tried to improve the quality of life for those on the bottom rungs of society. The Greyston Foundation, which Glassman established in a poverty-stricken section of Yonkers, is a network of businesses and not-for-profits, including a gourmet bakery that provides training and jobs for the unemployed, three apartment buildings with social services for formerly homeless families, and a major facility for people with HIV/AIDS, which will open in 1997. With this book as our guide we can discern more clearly how to nourish both ourselves and others through integrating the economic, social, educational, and spiritual dimensions of every endeavor. According to Glassman, one of the most useful metaphors for life is what happens in the kitchen. Zen masters call a life that is lived fully and completely, with nothing held back, "the supreme meal." Some chefs keep their recipes and methods a secret, but others are willing to share their failures and successes so that the rest of us can learn how to cook our own "meals." Offering such precepts as "Use what you have," "Don't reject anything," and "Recognize your faults as your best ingredients," Brooklyn-born Glassman is forging a new, American brand of Buddhism, applying the principles of spirituality both in the community and in the marketplace, successfully practicing nonattachment while swimming with the sharks.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Based on a 13th-century Japanese manual of the same title, this guide to modern-day Zen practice also details the history of Glassman's work in the world. An abbot of Zen communities in New York City and Los Angeles, Glassman is also the founder of the Greyston Mandala, a network that includes a commercial bakery, apartments for the homeless and other not-for-profit community development projects in Yonkers, a suburb of New York City. In Zen Buddhist tradition, the preparation of a meal is used as a metaphor for leading a meaningful life. Glassman and Fields (coauthor of Chop Wood, Carry Water) detail the five main "courses" of life: spirituality, study, livelihood, social action, and relationship and community Most widely recognized of the Greyston ventures is the successful bakery. Besides being a teacher of Zen and a noted social activist, Glassman is a pragmatic businessman. His description of how he and others who work with and for the jobless and homeless of Yonkers dealt with government agencies, banks, suspicious residents and the vagaries of the marketplace will satisfy the appetites of readers whose interest is as much in business practice as in Zen practice. In setting out his guidelines for conducting business, e.g., establishing self-directed management teams and sharing success with the community, Glassman occasionally strikes an imperious tone (reflecting the authority invested in Zen leaders), but the menu he offers is fresh, appealingly presented and thought- provoking. First serial to Tricycle magazine; author tour. (Apr.)
Duncan Ryuuken Williams
...Glassman and Fields creatively interpret Doogen's metaphor of cooking as a response to the contemporary American Zen practitioner....[S]ignificant both for envisioning a social and holistic context of practice for the American Zen practitioner as well as for providing a Buddhist perspective on social and economic engagement....[A] good example of what has been termed "engaged Buddhism" — a Buddhism that is not limited to the temple...
Journal of Buddhist Ethics
From the Publisher
"Both a manual for spiritual transformation and a call to action." New Age Journal

"Taking the Path of Zen and Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind have introduced scores of Americans to Zen Buddhism in the last two decades. Now, these two mini-classics are joined by a new book that promises to be an even more meaningful introduction to Zen--as well as the growing 'socially engaged Buddhism' movement." --Donn Fry, Seattle Times

"A delicious confection made of down-to-earth Zen wisdom and a deeply heartful demonstration of compassion in action." --Ram Dass

"Instructions is stimulating and insightful precisely because it is so well grounded in the fundamental teachings of Dogen Zenji and others--exceptionally practical teachings, moreover, which chart a course for the development of that 'social-action Zen' (led most forcefully by Roshi Glassman) which promises to become the Way of Zen here in America." --Peter Matthiessen

"A recipe for an enlightened life, Instructions to the Cook speaks volumes about finding nourishment in a voracious world, where so many things--from consumerism to unemployment--can create hunger, and where contentment can seem tantalizingly remote, an aroma from someone else's window." --Deborah Jerome-Cohen, New York Daily News

"A more authentic teaching by a more authentic person than Bernard Glassman, we are not likely to see in our times. He not only teaches all this, he has done it all." --Thomas Berry

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570622601
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/14/1996
  • Format: Other
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 4.40 (w) x 7.04 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: Preparing the Menu 1
1 The Making of a Zen Cook 12
2 How to Cook 20
3 Cleaning Kitchen Is Cleaning Mind 27
4 Beginner's Mind 42
5 Basic Ingredients 51
6 Greyston Bakery 56
7 Time and Money 76
8 Who Are You Cooking For? 88
9 Greyston Family Inn 94
10 Baby Buddhas 104
11 That Ain't Garbage 109
12 The Meal of Self-Sufficiency 113
13 Indra's Networking 124
14 Socially Conscious Confectioners 130
15 To Profit or Not to Profit 136
16 Serving and Offering 144
17 How to Eat 152
18 Clearing the Table 157
19 Starting Again 160
Epilogue: The Third Vow 164
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