Memorial Ceremony held for Roshi Bernie Glassman in Yonkers, February 17 2019

On February 17, 2019, a memorial ceremony was held for Roshi Bernie Glassman at Greyston Foundation in Yonkers, NY, USA.  About three hundred people traveled from around the world to attend the event.  They represented the many circles and communities Bernie’s life and work have touched.  Here we share a selection of photos outlining the course of the program.

Photo credits: Peter Cunningham, Iris Dotan Katz, Camila Moesler, Cornelius v Collande.
The memorial was supported by the generous financial support of the Hixon family.



The gathered were welcomed by Roshi Eve Myonen Marko, guiding teacher of the Green River Zen Center and widow of Roshi Bernie Glassman.  Photo credit Joan Halifax.


Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles, and Roshi Genro Gauntt of Hudson River Zen Center, both successors of Bernie, led a ceremony of Gate of Sweet Nectar with Krishna Das. It was Bernie’s favorite liturgy, providing spiritual nourishment, the awakened heart, to all hungry spirits.

Krishna Das led a kirtan (call and response chanting in the Hindu tradition)

Alisa and Marc Glassman, Bernie’s children, spoke of growing up with a clown, a Zen Master and a maverick entrepreneur as their father and the life within the communities in which he lived and led.

Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of Upaya Zen Center

Helen Harkaspi, Bernie’s first wife and mother of their children, was among those who lit a candle in a ceremony of installing Bernie’s ashes in Greyston’s Founders Room.

Mike Brady, President and CEO of Greyston Bakery, spoke about Bernie’s legacy as a social entrepreneur and Greyston’s dedication to his mission of alleviating poverty.

Morley Kamen (R) music performance with Chris Bruce.

The refreshments break was announced by a delegation of the Order of Disorder.

Peter Cunningham presented a slideshow compilation of his photographs of Bernie from the last forty years.

Roshi Fr. Robert Kennedy speaks.

Moshe Cohen, also known as Mr. YooWho, speaking and leading a house-wide “reverse bow,” hallmark of the Order of Disorder.


Roshi Barbara Salaam Wegmueller, Spiegel Sangha, Zen-Peacemakers Schweiz spoke about the legacy and continuation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Bearing Witness retreat as well as the flowering of ZP practice in Europe. Rami Efal, Executive Director of Zen Peacemakers International (L) spoke about the future of ZPI.

Roshi Eve Marko and Roshi Frank DeWaele of Zen Sangha, Belgium.


Jeff Bridges, long time friend of Bernie’s, capped the evening with personal stories of Bernie and songs dedicated to him.


Photographer Itamar Dotan-Katz captured many more moments of Bernie’s Memorial. See his photos here:


Zen Peacemakers International would like to thank Greyston Foundation for their partnership in producing this event; Roshi Eve Myonen Marko and Sensei Chris Panos for their organization and coordination work; the many community members who donated or volunteered towards the event; and especially to the Hixon family for their substantial support towards this event.

The Order of Disorder in rehearsal with ZPI Chairman Sensei Chris Panos


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Memorial Ceremony held for Roshi Bernie Glassman in Yonkers, February 17 2019

4 Responses

  1. Deeply moving. What a life!
    Bernie gave his heart, his life to his children: The ingenuous projects.
    I am so honored to have known and experienced him personally, not only on the occasion of six Bearing-Witness-Retreats: Five in Auschwitz, one in the Black Hills, South Dakota.
    Of course Bernie had flaws, made mistakes, perhaps terrible ones, as I heard or read.
    Who not.
    I prefer to see a person with light and shadows, and not a myth, a legend, as so often it happens, when some great person, known by many, has passed. He or she seemed to had had only bright sides.
    The other sides must be covered up, denied, put under the carpet. In order to protect the Dharma, or so.

    WTF. I am really angry about those acts of ignorance.
    No, on the contrary, the stories, as Bernie had always encouraged, have to come up, to be shared, also about himself, the radiant ones, the boring and neutral ones, the bad ones, in a way.
    How shall we identify with a person‘s lived life when he is made to a saint?

    I loved and still love him just because of this…humanness.
    Glad that I have been part in the morning council led by himself, during my last Auschwitz-Bearing-Witness-Retreat in 2014.
    Still being able to imagine how we were sitting there, hearing inwardly Bernie‘s voice, his few interventions, he was a good listener. Giving space. Holding space.
    I am missing him.

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