The Dude and the Zen Master

The Dude and the Zen Master

4.2 15
by Jeff Bridges, Bernie Glassman
     
 

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The New York Times bestseller from Academy award-winning actor Jeff Bridges and Zen leader and author of Bearing Witness, Bernie Glassman.
 

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

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Overview

The New York Times bestseller from Academy award-winning actor Jeff Bridges and Zen leader and author of Bearing Witness, Bernie Glassman.
 

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.” His buddy Jeff puts it another way. The wonderful thing about the Dude, he says, 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 about life, laughter, and the movies with a charm and bonhomie that never fail to enlighten and entertain. Throughout,  their remarkable humanism reminds us of the importance of doing good in a difficult world.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Mark Oppenheimer
…this meandering exchange is likable because Mr. Bridges and Mr. Glassman are likable, and smart, and interesting…
Publishers Weekly
Actor Bridges engages in a philosophical dialogue with friend and Zen master Glassman, an aeronautical engineer and mathematician in his early years, for an easy, fun read that poses some serious questions. The presentation is light-hearted and analogies are frequent; in discussing a fear of taking action, Glassman invokes "Joe, the centipede with a hundred legs, trying to figure out which leg to move first." Later, Glassman recommends a musical approach to dealing with change: "Bear witness to the voices and the instruments-whether it's a jazz band or life-and then move with them, flow with them, because in life you're always in a band and you're always swinging." The Zen influence means a lot of nature imagery, with "Leaves turning, flowers popping open, rain falling on a leaf," but it's not cheap spirituality. Both men are involved in programs to promote peace and defeat hunger and they share stories of community artists, Holocaust survivors, and even Bridges's long-time stand-in. Recognizing that frustration results from expectations, they say, "Work with whatever you have and make something beautiful." Lest it all get too lofty, Glassman recalls his judo master's advice: "When you get into trouble, the best judo defense is to run."
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From the Publisher
“Mr. Bridges and Mr. Glassman are likable, and smart, and interesting...[The Dude and the Zen Master] includes compelling discussions of Mr. Bridges's marriage, acting technique and close relationship with his father...you'll always be grateful for the hang.”
The New York Times

“[The Dude and the Zen Master] is an odd and wonderful little work that makes use of the transcendentally funny characters and language of [The Big Lebowski] as the starting point for a relaxed philosophical discussion about a wide variety of topics.”-Los Angeles Times

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

“Whether he knows it or not, The Dude's laissez-faire attitude has become a model for coping with life's complexities...[in] The Dude and the Zen Master, one gets the impression he or she is eavesdropping on an intimate conversation...It's more than chicken soup for the soul, [it's] cacciatore for the spirit, a winner's guide to optimal living-a manual on how to Dude-ify oneself and just abide, man.”
Examiner.com (Cleveland)

The Dude and the Zen Master is an exercise in likeability....[Bridges] is in rare form here....To know the Dude (and, by extension, Bridges' own meditational endgame) is to love him.”
The Hairpin

“[A] good conversation between good friends...One of the unexpected treats of The Dude and the Zen Master is the insights into who Jeff Bridges is behind the Dude persona...touching remembrances of his parents, his reflections on life as a devoted family man, and his behind-the-scenes stories of movies he's worked on [and] profound little Zen observations and insights sprinkled throughout the book.”
The Dudespaper

The Dude and the Zen Master doesn't read like a traditional book at all-but rather riffs like a jam session....you'll feel as though you yourself sat in on the sessions with the dude behind the Dude in The Big Lebowski and Buddhist buddy, Bernie....And what's so cool is that the two of them manage to address many of life's profundities-relationships, politics, working, aging, living, dying-in this very funny and readable jam session.”
Rock Cellar Magazine

The Dude and the Zen Master [is] a wonderful book of conversations...about acting and Zen and the long, fond relationship between these men.”
Sheila Heti, Financial Times

Kirkus Reviews
A rambling conversation on all things Zen between the mystic-minded movie star and his spiritual teacher. As the title suggests, this book targets (and might most please) the ardent cult attracted to The Big Lebowski, the movie that gave Bridges (Pictures, 2006) his iconic role. He explains of the book's genesis, "So…my friend Bernie Glassman says to me one day, ‘Did you know that the Dude in The Big Lebowski is considered by many Buddhists to be a Zen master?' " The two proceed to explore one of the movie's signature lines, "The Dude abides," from every possible perspective, punctuated by anecdotes from Bridges' film career and personal life and spiritual sagacity from Glassman (Infinite Circle: Teachings in Zen, 2002, etc.). Perhaps the most revelatory is a close reading of "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat," where even readers who have heard it thousands of times before will understand "gently," "merrily" and "life is but a dream" with fresh ears. Some of the rest belabors the obvious, suffers from cliché and hippie vernacular, and even borders on self-parody. When Bridges talks about fan letters, most of which he doesn't answer and then occasionally feels guilty, Glassman advises, "You need to befriend Jeff. It's got nothing to do with the letters. You've got to befriend the fact that Jeff can only do so much….The Dude does not get angry with himself for all the things he's not doing. He befriends the self." Bridges makes it a point to distinguish himself from that role, though sometimes he wishes he could be more like the Dude. He writes things like, "Dig is beyond understand. I like digging where I am and what I'm doing, I like jamming with myself." May lead readers to plenty of better introductions to Zen. You dig?

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142180525
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/28/2014
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
206,163
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Mr. Bridges and Mr. Glassman are likable, and smart, and interesting...[The Dude and the Zen Master] includes compelling discussions of Mr. Bridges’s marriage, acting technique and close relationship with his father...you’ll always be grateful for the hang.”
The New York Times

“[The Dude and the Zen Master] is an odd and wonderful little work that makes use of the transcendentally funny characters and language of [The Big Lebowski] as the starting point for a relaxed philosophical discussion about a wide variety of topics.”Los Angeles Times

“[A] truly incredible book about two friends talking about the good life.”
—Huffington Post
 
“Whether he knows it or not, The Dude’s laissez-faire attitude has become a model for coping with life’s complexities...[in] The Dude and the Zen Master, one gets the impression he or she is eavesdropping on an intimate conversation...It’s more than chicken soup for the soul, [it’s] cacciatore for the spirit, a winner’s guide to optimal living—a manual on how to Dude-ify oneself and just abide, man.”
—Examiner.com (Cleveland)
 
The Dude and the Zen Master is an exercise in likeability....[Bridges] is in rare form here....To know the Dude (and, by extension, Bridges’ own meditational endgame) is to love him.”
—The Hairpin
 
“[A] good conversation between good friends...One of the unexpected treats of The Dude and the Zen Master is the insights into who Jeff Bridges is behind the Dude persona...touching remembrances of his parents, his reflections on life as a devoted family man, and his behind-the-scenes stories of movies he’s worked on [and] profound little Zen observations and insights sprinkled throughout the book.”
The Dudespaper
 
The Dude and the Zen Master doesn’t read like a traditional book at all—but rather riffs like a jam session....you’ll feel as though you yourself sat in on the sessions with the dude behind the Dude in The Big Lebowski and Buddhist buddy, Bernie....And what’s so cool is that the two of them manage to address many of life’s profundities—relationships, politics, working, aging, living, dying—in this very funny and readable jam session.”
Rock Cellar Magazine

The Dude and the Zen Master [is] a wonderful book of conversations...about acting and Zen and the long, fond relationship between these men.”
—Sheila Heti, Financial Times

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