Filed in Social Justice

Bernie Glassman's Excellent Adventure

The famed American Zen teacher, clown, and social worker is thinking big—again.

Joan Duncan Oliver

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Roshi Bernie Glassman celebrated his 70th birthday in January with three days of public reflection on his 50-year encounter with Zen. But even as he put a coda on five decades of Buddhist practice, America’s best-known—and arguably best-loved—Zen master showed no signs of slowing down. In fact, the irrepressible social entrepreneur, who wrote the book on socially engaged Buddhism in the West—actually, three books—has dreamed up yet another venture: something he calls Zen Houses, residential dharma centers devoted to Zen practice and social service in impoverished areas. The first two houses are opening this spring.

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