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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tricycle Discussion: Jeff Bridges and Zen Peacemakers' Bernie Glassman.

Jeff Bridges has been one of my favorite actors since The Big Lebowski, so I was thrilled to hear about his interest in Buddhism. He was featured in a great discussion between himself and Zen Peacemaker Bernie Glassman. This is part 1--Part 2 will be released next week. Watch the video from Tricycle, (Click here) before reading my analysis of this interview below:

First off, I too found a hint of Zen in Bridges' character "The Dude" in the aforementioned movie but I was more struck by the idea of bringing dignity to those who need some assistance with food. We are good at having pity upon people but being able to help others while helping them maintain their dignity and sense of importance as a human being is less evident in some programs--especially government ones. So, I'm excited to hear about what Bridges and Glassman are up to.

I also liked the idea of setting up Dharma centers that include a cafe that helps feed those who might need a meal or two but doing it in a way where they feel good about being there. That's why Glassman is calling them cafes where they'd be designed to be a comfortable place that you'd want to visit even if you didn't have a hungry stomach. Places that have live musicians providing a nice atmosphere including kid friendly elements. I like that he is working to bring the Dharma center to everyone and not just those who are attending for the day like attending a spa as he put it. Sometimes we can get so self-interested (ironically) while practicing the Dharma instead of how can we use our time at the Dharma center to also help others in our community.

I was even more happy to hear that Glassman would set these up, so that there isn't any proselytizing or "spiritual strings attached" to the help. I get really annoyed by spiritual groups who help people but only after those needing the help listen to a sermon. That's using their basic human needs against them to further push an agenda that is based less on unconditional help and more on running up the numbers of believers. Overall a great intimate discussion. Can't wait for part 2.

~Peace to all beings~

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8 comments:

fattony said...

If your going to give photo credits for all your other stuff you might want to give one to the big production company as well.

They call him James Ure said...

Fattony:

What production company are you referring to? I was under the impression that this was a Tricycle produced video.

presentheaven said...

Great blog, great writing. I am happy to find it. Thank you.

Jayarava said...

So you haven't given up reading Tricycle then? ;-)

冠廷 said...

讓人流連忘返,真期待新文章發表!........................................

They call him James Ure said...

Jayarava:

LoL...Yeah, I still read their email newsletters but haven't gotten a subscription to the magazine.

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Lindsay Kay said...

I just saw Tron 2, the sequel to the 1982 Disney movie, Tron, both of which star Jeff Bridges.

As a Zen practitioner I was surprised to find it had such a strong Zen subtext - in fact I was delighted to find that it was a full-on fable, with a great message about how when we think we know what perfection is, then act from the belief, we create suffering for ourselves and others.

At one point, Jeff's character says: "perfection is unknowable, man", and he's even spotted doing the odd bit of sitting.

So I google it and guess what - Jeff had taken on Bernie Glassman as a consultant on the film.

I'm actually stoked at seeing Disney venturing into this sort of thing, bravo.

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