On November 4th, Zen master Bernie Glassman, Roshi, a great interfaith pioneer and humanitarian, passed away. Roshi Bernie was a longtime LOTUS Honorary Advisory Council member and one of Swami Satchidananda’s close interfaith collaborators—together they shared many platforms, programs, and interfaith initiatives. Roshi was a founding member of the Zen Center of Los Angeles and was named president after Maezumi Roshi’s 1995 passing. He opened Greyston Bakery in New York in 1982, which employs people who conventional businesses deem “unemployable.” Greyston has grown into a large foundation offering many charitable services. In the 1990s, Roshi Bernie shifted his focus to establishing the Zen Peacemakers, an interfaith organization dedicated to the cause of peace and social justice, which became famous for its Bearing Witness retreats and Street Retreats. On the Bearing Witness retreats, participants meditate at sites where atrocities have taken place, such as Auschwitz-Birkenau and Rwanda. Roshi developed a friendship with actor Jeff Bridges. Together,they wrote a book inspired by Bridge’s leading role in The Big Lebowski, called The Dude and the Zen Master, about Zen lessons in the classic comedy. (Source: Lion’s Roar)

(Photo: Swami Satchidananda and Bernie Glassman, Roshi at an interfaith program at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City, early 1980s. Photo courtesy of Integral Yoga Archives.)