"Jeff Bridges is one of the world's most popular actors and his unforgettable performance as The Dude in "Coen Brothers" film, "The Big Lebowski", made him a cult hero. His remarkable career as an actor, performer and songwriter has brought him an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice award. Away from the spotlight, Bridges is a dedicated practitioner of Zen Buddhism and for more than a decade has been close friends with Zen leader Bernie Glassman. It is Glassman who has helped guide Bridges' lessons on the path to enlightenment and the two have spent many hours discussing life, love, the movies, creativity, happiness and death. With wit, charm and profound insight, Bridges and Glassman discover the Zen in iconic scenes and lines from "The Big Lebowski". With honesty and humour, Bridges explores how his Zen practice and his life experience inform one another as he discusses his loving relationship with his parents, his marriage, his highly successful career and his warm connection with his fans"--Publisher's description.
It's not a great book. It's not a good place for a beginner to check out the basics of Zen Buddhism. But it IS a very enjoyable time spent with a couple of friends who have known each other for thirty years and are feeding off of each others words. Jeff has some great stories about the films he's worked on, the people he's acted and reacted with, and has a very accessible manner that exposes how his mind works. He is very Dude-like at times.
Bernie is a very prolific writer of books on Buddhist and spiritual practice. He is always striving to make the sometimes confusing Eastern thoughts and practices easier for us Westerners to relate to. I have read many books on Zen and feel that Bernie does a fine job bringing life and religion together in many clear, thoughtful, and amusing ways
The format of the book revolves around a few days of the them talking about their lives, Zen, The Big Lebowski, and a whole grab-bag of other things while they hang out on Jeff's Montana ranch. At times their conversation get just plain silly, but I also found that there were many points that were most profound and thought-provoking. That's a good mix for any life — silly and profound. I'm very glad I picked it up at the bookstore and found good reason to bring it home for my eyes, mind, and sense of humor to enjoy.
Little intellectual substance here, but it was worth a shot.
The Zen philosophy is presented in very down to earth, practical terms that are easy to understand. I really liked the personal anecdotes they each bring to illustrate the benefits and difficulties of practicing Zen. I have a feeling that "Row, row, row your boat" will become a new mantra for me :)