An Interview with Bernie Glassman
By Ari Pliskin

These comments are part of a longer interview with Bernie Glassman in January, 2010. The questions were written by Christa Spannbauer, journalist and assistant to Roshi Willigis Jäger, and the interview was conducted by Ari Pliskin.

Your own social activism as a Buddhist Zen master is deeply rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition of taking care of others. Despite the first vow in Zen, which is to save all sentient beings, in the Zen tradition there’s not much real engagement in taking care of the poor and the underprivileged, which is often the case within the Judeo-Christian tradition. What do you think are the reasons for that, and what’s your vision of Zen in the modern world?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that within Japanese Buddhism, martial arts became associated with Zen. The samurai, for example, thought about having no subject-object differentiation while you cut off someone’s head. READ MORE

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