American Zen Master Bernie Glassman is recognized as a founder of Socially Engaged Buddhism. He encourages people to abandon fixed ideas, so they can take action and offer a helping hand to others. He does this by organizing street retreats, during which participants spend a few days experiencing what it is to live on the streets as a homeless person. He also runs the annual, “Bearing Witness retreats” in Auschwitz, where a group of about hundred people hold vigils next to the gas chambers, reciting the names of victims who lost their lives there.
In 1982 Glassman began the Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York. The bakery became a huge success with yearly turnovers of more than a million , which allowed Glassman to establish the Greyston Foundation, a centre for the unemployed, the homeless, and AIDS infected.
Glassman’s recent achievement are the community cafés he started all over the world, where a mixture of homeless and rich people, professors and neighborhood children regularly congregate, and where free meals are offered. Glassman trains people who want to start their own projects, but he himself doesn’t shy away from washing the dishes or serving people in the cafés and soup kitchens. ‘The extent to which someone is enlightened, can be measured by how much that person offers real physical help to others.’ For Bernie Glassman, that is the essence of Buddhism.
Regie: George Schouten Met Bernie Glassman, Eve Marko, Paco Lugovina Peter Cunningham, Fleet Maull, David Perrin, Angello Martinelli, Lien de Jong, David Cooper. Eindredactie: Babeth M. VanLoo Camera: Bernd Wouthuysen Geluid: Martijn van Haalen Montage: Chris Teerink Foto’s: Peter Cunningham Met dank aan: Ari Setsudo Pliskin Muziek: Harry de Wit en George Schouten