As of now, Bernie Glassman is a world-renowned pioneer in the American Zen Movement. He is a spiritual leader, published author, with one of his first books being, Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master's Lessons in Living a Life That Matters. He is also an adept academic and successful business man with a PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of California. He is mostly known for being the founder of Zen Peacemakers, which is virtual organization that Bernie Glassman uses to support the vision and inspiration for Socially Engaged Buddhism throughout the world.
Bernard Glassman was born Jewish in Brighton Beach Brooklyn, New York in 1939. He was the son of first-generation Jewish immigrants, his mother was Pauline Finkelstein from Poland and his father was Otto Isaac Glassman from Russia. He was raised in a materialistic environment, and he attended the Polytechnic Institute of New York. From there he was able to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in 1960. From there he went out to go and work as an engineer for McDonnell-Douglas in Los Angeles, California two years later. While he was there, he attended the University of California, where he had earned his M. A. in 1968 and his Ph. D. in 1970. His interests of Zen Buddhism began while he was at the university, it was an introduction to Buddhism. Philip Kapleau’s Three Pillars of Zen from 1966 had impacted Bernie Glassman tremendously. In 1968, Glassman had discovered the Zen Center of Los Angeles and began to learn from Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi. From this, he later was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1970.
Bernie Glassman in 1967, chosen to devote his full time to the development of the Zen Center of Los Angeles instead of his work in the space industry. He had founded Center Publications and the Institute for Transcultural Studies. He began to write his works, he co edited several volumes with Maezumi Roshi. Two of these were volumes of On Zen Practice and Hazy Moon of Enlightenment.
In 1977, he was given dharma conveyance by Maezumi Roshi, the first of his dharma heirs. Around 1982, Glassman had gone to New York to establish work there. Glassman was later installed as abbot of what had become Zenshinji, the temple of the Zen Community of New York.
He was the head of the Zen center, and as the head of the Zen center, he pursued to expand his program. In 1982, he founded the Greyston Bakery, which was modeled after the Tassajara Bakery of the Zen Center of San Francisco. The bakery supplies baked goods to hotels, restaurants, and stores throughout Manhattan. The bakery had inspired the creation of the Greyston Family Inn, the...