Thursday, May 20, 2010

Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman and Genpo Merzel and Ken Wilber and...

I think it's a good idea that one should follow Buddhism despite the celebrity endorsements.  Still I'd rather have Jeff Bridges on the Zen side, I suppose, than Richard Gere.

I find it interesting to me that a lot of the Zen folk today identify with the Jeff Bridges from "The Big Lebowski," when there's a host of better Bridges films, including, but not limited to "Arlington Road," "Blown Away," "The Morning After," and one of my personal favorites, "The Fisher King."  It's also odd to me that some people find the Lebowski character to be "Zen," when I find it to be "stoner."

That said, I think Bridges is a great actor, and it puzzles me that he got to know and befriend Glassman; I guess that's what having the energy and time to set up charities can do. (As a colleague reminds me, though, are such things really charities if there is a business benefit one accrues from them? Ah, that's a subject for political philosophy.)  And my parenthesized words notwithstanding, I think charities are necessary in the world in which we live and I applaud Glassman for the work he does (see the video hyperlinked in the first paragraph).  I don't think by implication that because you can trivially find photos of Glassman with Ken Wilber (and probably with Genpo Merzel that Bridges is putting his imprimatur (to the extent that he has one?) on Wilber, Merzel, et al.  But then again, one should follow a path regardless of those who declare themselves to be fellow-travelers, despite the avowed fellow-travelers' skill, sincerity, or success in execution.  I have found some of Glassman's work (particularly "Instructions to the Cook") to be of particular use, although I would say you could get most of what Glassman writes about in that book from reading Dogen himself. I do not find that "Big Mind" schtick to be useful from a Buddhist perspective, though I do know that others think so. 

Please consider Buddhism as not being because or about celebrity Buddhists. 

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