Dear Family and Friends,

Bernie suffered a stroke on Tuesday 1/12/2016 around 1pm EST. He spent 36 hours in Intensive Care, was “downgraded” to Neurological Intensive, and as of this evening was “downgraded” again to a regular hospital room in Baystate Health Springfield Hospital. His condition is stable ​and the plan is for him to enter an acute rehab program, probably early next week, for a period of 2-4 weeks. The stroke, due to a hemorrhage, affected the left side of his brain, thus resulting in very little movement in the entire right side of his body and also undermining his speech, which is now so slurred that we can only understand around 20% of it (a substantial improvement over Tuesday). No change to his eyebrows.

We are immensely grateful to Baystate Hospital and all its staff for superb care of Bernie and patient and honest interactions with us. The Montague town police and ambulances came some 10 minutes after we first called, and Bernie got “anti-stroke” medications within 30 minutes of the stroke itself, a great tribute to these first responders. This quality care continued in Franklin Medical, our local adjunct hospital, and then in the far larger Baystate in Springfield.

Bernie has his struggles. His understanding of words, too, is diminished but doctors expect that to be fully remedied. When there are too many doctors around him he mumbles “too many people” and wants them to leave him alone. But nobody’s second-guessing the wonderful and loving care he’s getting here at Baystate. Yesterday, the day after his stroke, our alarm went off for the noon minute of silence for peace. He lay quietly, and then, with difficulty, raised his good hand in half-gassho.

Right now the prognosis for recovery from neurologists and rehabilitation doctors is good to very good; healers and prophets are saying excellent. They expect some permanent deficits in his right arm and hand, a little less in his right leg, and they believe his speech will begin to improve within 2-4 weeks (we don’t know if that’s good or bad). They believe he will become independent and self-sufficient within several months, and cantankerous and bossy in 4 days.

Alisa Glassman, Bernie’s daughter, flew in from Washington, D.C. and she and his wife Eve Marko are by his side. Marc Glassman, Bernie’s son, lives in Jerusalem and was in constant contact. They are supported by local Zen Peacemaker Order members, by the Green River Zen community, by Pioneer Valley friends, and of course by Rami Efal, Bernie’s assistant and spokesman to the world. Grant Couch and Chris Panos, president and chairman of Zen Peacemakers Inc. have a been a tremendous support behind the scenes in keeping the ZP operations flowing.

We are grateful for everyone’s patience through the first 48 hours of the event as we were waiting for Bernie’s condition to stabilize. We are also deeply moved by the outpouring of love and support Bernie has been receiving, on social media, phone calls, dedications and prayer of Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Native American, and religious traditions we didn’t even know of, all elements of Bernie world (for example, watch a Jewish Cantor lead a hip-hop reggae chanting of a healing Jewish prayer at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram on behalf of this Zen Buddhist teacher, then followed by their own Hindu prayers on his behalf). And of course, there’s also Krishna Das’s “Bernie’s Chalisa,” theme music for feeding the hungry spirits which many of you know but is great to listen to anyway when it’s KD chanting it..

We have created this Caring-Bridge page where you can leave Bernie a message. We will post updates there and it will also allow Bernie to easily browse and enjoy your words, especially when he begins rehab, which he’ll probably hate every minute of. That’s when your words and blessings–yes, even you Order of Disorder folks–will be a most important incentive.

Bernie’s 77th Birthday will occur this Monday on January 18th, 2016. Let’s celebrate with him!  If you wish to send him get well cards / happy birthday cards (okay, OD ones too), please do so to

Zen Peacemakers, ATTN: BERNIE

POBOX 294, Montague MA 01351


With deep gratitude to all of you,

Eve, Alisa, Marc, Rami and the Zen Peacemaker Family

Photo credit: Cira Crowell, at Upaya Zen Center, August 2015,







38 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for sharing Bernie’s daily life and of what surrounds him. It really help to stay connected with him and it is very touching.
    When I think of you Bernie, my “soft spot” opens. You really give so much of yourself to others. And created space of healing for many. Bearing witness in Ausshwitz was a starting healing process for me. I am personally very grateful to you. Thank you again.
    I wish you a Happy Birthday ! May you continue to help, inspire and heal our human heart. May all the obstacles be removed. May you have all the auspicious circumstances with you and around you.
    Much love,
    May you be well and safe.

  2. Dear Roshi, knowing that the stroke hit you and found you wide awake- as always you are-I bow for your well recovery so that you continúe your Supreme meal with all of us. Also happy b-day!!!

  3. Bernie, you are in my thoughts and prayers, an embodiment of the idea of a life as “mitzvah” and one of my earliest teachers and role models. Stroke is a horrific thief when it steals from us gifts still to be given; I pray in your case (and Thich Nhat Hanh’s as well) it merely is a pause and lesson to be benefitted and recovered from soon! Blessed Be.

  4. Hi Bernie,
    You can do it….Blessings in all that beautiful rehab…you’ll be back to skipping in no time. Gentle as it goes. Glad your on the mend.

  5. Dear Bernie,

    Although we have never met, we have met countless times. I am so sorry to hear you have to go on that ride and pain. My heart and practice are with you, all along. Thank you so much for the work you have tirelessly done for all of us, and thank you for the work ahead!


  6. I’m so glad to hear that Bernie is doing much better and his prognosis is good. I’ve been thinking of you both since I heard the news on Wednesday. Sending healing thoughts and hugs.

  7. My sister Noemi mentions you often and although I do not know you, I thank you for the blessing you have been in her life. Get well soon, many are counting on it.

  8. Dear Bernie

    I have learned so much from you without you not knowing me and me not knowing you ..
    Sending you blessings
    Your friend

  9. Dear Bernie,
    Healing wishes from all over bring our love and gratitude for all you have done so far, and for all you will continue to do as a Zen Peacemaker unlimited by boundaries.
    Mary Latela

  10. Hi Bernie –
    Another bend in the mysterious, unpredictable river of what we call our lives, beyond right and wrong. Knowing you will always be totally fine no matter where the dharma takes you, I send much love –
    Ken Porter

  11. Grateful for the day I first heard your names.
    Bernie Glassman, Roshi, the Booby Satva.
    Guide on the path to not knowing.
    Fellow witness in places of deepest darkness
    and in the joyful light of loving action arising
    out of all-oneness and nothing special.

    Count me among the countless beings
    sending love to you, Bernie and Eve and
    all who surround you.

  12. I have considered Bernie my teacher for over 20 years though have not yet had a chance to meet him. I was deeply moved in many different ways when I received this news about Bernie’s health. It is a dream of mine to one day have a conversation, or just sit in a room with him. I am sending my deepest healing energies to Bernie.

  13. My cousin Bernie was mostly responsible for getting me interested in Zen and was influential in my decision to come and live at the Zen Center of LA where I became a monk and was there for 13 years, met and married my wife, Aimee and had two daughters there. I cannot express enough my love and appreciation for what he has done for me and so much of the world. I am really sad to hear about his illness but feel certain that he will recover and continue to contribute as he has to make this planet a better and more peaceful place.

  14. On seeing your face this morning my eyes filled with tears. You remind me of all that is good and of my own father. If I could take your place in that bed I would. Be well! We need you.very much.

  15. Uncle Bernie

    You have inspired meaning and purpose for so many in the universe. May the love and peace you have shared with others become a source of comfort and strength in your healing process.

    You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
    Much love,
    Margie and Pa

  16. Dear Bernie… I have never met you in person, but that does not matter. Thank you for being a peaceful presence in this world. You have inspired thousands, maybe millions and maybe all of humanity to live a peaceful way of life. You changed the world by fisrts changing yourself. You inpired me, thank you. I pray for your peaceful healing and return to health as much as possible. Bless you, Bernie.

  17. If it were not for you, Bernie, I would not have met my teacher, Roshi Charles Shinkai Birx, and would not have been transmitted into the White Plum Asanga. If it were not for you, Bernie, I would not have found true life. I cannot possibly express the depth of my gratitude.

  18. Dearest Bernie roshi, Ever since meeting you and serving as your jisha at Soji Zen Center, I have held thoughts of you in my heart and mind. At first my thought was, “he was a friend of Issan’s so I love and respect him.” However, after meeting and talking with you, and receiving your encouragement to continue the prison ministry that I participate in, and the “bearing witness to the lives of Philly’s homeless men” my love goes out to you because of our meeting. The wish I put into the universe is that you get well soon. You are in my thoughts. Your dharma great grandson, Daitoku (Michael Palumbaro)

  19. Bernie
    I am sorry that I have not seen over these many years. I am speaking for Jean ,Bernie, Krakower,Ron,and also
    Martha And David as members of your family who saw you growing up in Brighton Beach etc. to wish you a speedy recovery.

  20. Gassho, Bernie,
    You have always been an inspiration for me.
    My thoughts and very best wishes for healing are with you.
    David (Monsen) Eliscu

  21. Absolutley heart warming news. I feel sure that Bernie is in the best of hands, those of all that are his nearest and dearest…, and also in the thoughts, songs and prayers of the heart, from all those like myself, who love him from a distance, that now seems so near. Love Carole.x

  22. Looking in your eyes, and see your smile in the photo.
    Please come out of this bed.
    Glad and grateful have met you,
    and full of joy, to meet you again.

  23. Not yet, Bernie. Let’s make time for more birthday cake, wine and music. Let’s bear witness to more joy and give away all essence before the music ends. Glad you are in my life and grateful for the journeys thus far shared. See you soon. Hugs and blessings. Noemi Koji

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