March 17, 2009

Bernie's Buddhist Birthday Bash

Roshi Bernie Glassman recently celebrated his 70th birthday in style. From a press release we just received:

On March 12, 100 friends, supporters and students gathered in New York City to celebrate at V & T's Pizza Restaurant, where Bernie, as he prefers to be known, would go with participants at the end of his Street Retreats. Jeff Bridges flew in to sing and play guitar with his High School friend, John Goodwin, a Nashville songwriter, in a duo called The Guerillas.

The attendees represented all the phases of Bernie's long vocation as a Buddhist leader, and the speeches movingly described his work establishing the Zen Center of Los Angeles, becoming Maezumi Roshi's first Dharma Successor, Abbot of ZCNY and ZCLA, first President of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, his interfaith and international work, his development of the Greyston Mandala in Yonkers, New York and his establishing the Zen Peacemakers with a Mother House in Montague, MA.

Roshi Bernie has been one of the most innovative and creative leaders in Western Buddhism, always emphasizing that service is Buddhist practice. The Greyston Mandala, a service foundation of interlocking for-profit, not-for-profit and spiritual corporations, offering a holistic network of services to the Yonkers community, is studied at such business schools as Wharton, Harvard and Stanford as one of the few successful models for moving people from dependency to sustainable independence. His Bearing Witness Retreats in streets and at Auschwitz have influenced several generations of practitioners. He is now engaged in establishing Zen Houses, a new residential practice venue devoted to creating and managing social service projects for underserved people and communities around the world. He currently guides a Ministry Program to train leaders and staff to serve in Zen Houses.

Check out the recent Tricycle article on Roshi Bernie's Zen Houses on tricycle.com.

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