Friday, April 5, 2013

The Dude and the Zen Master

The Big Lebowski is one of my favorite Coen brothers movies. Fargo still tops that list. But I liked the adventures of the Dude, Walter, and Donnie from the start, and I think the movie still holds up.

Every once in a while I'll get stuck in a loop and go, "Crap, I'm Walter." Which kind of bums me out, because I think we all want to be that mellow Dude instead of off-the-handle Walter.

So, I was at the bookstore and I stumbled across this book, The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman. An aside: Stumbling across books I wasn't aware of is one of my most favorite things about bookstores and about being a reader. I love spending hours in bookstores, and libraries for that matter--and I would miss that act terribly if physical bookstores disappear.

OK, off my soapbox before I go all Walter on you, and back to the book. I liked this book. It's really just a record of a long conversation between Bernie and Jeff, which makes it extremely accessible. It lacks the normal formality of a book that can get heavy sometimes about the subject (rarely in this one), and you feel like you're sitting in the room with these two guys, like you're a fly on the wall. I just wished I could breath the air.

Anyway, the Buddhist content is not too in your face, either, but you can see how the Dude is really manifesting Zen without trying in the movie, that Jeff is just Jeff. So, there you have it. Before long the book's done, an easy read, and you know a little more about Jeff; just get a reaffirmation that he's pretty cool, and has lived an interesting life. Bernie is interesting, too, and there are some Buddhist lessons and introduction to concepts here, but again it's not too heavy-handed.

If you're a fan of the movie, or Jeff, I think this would be interesting to you, even if you have no interest in the main topic. There's a lot of personal insight to Jeff's life, some Hollywood history that's pretty cool. I picked up this book because of my affinity for the Dude, and my continuing desire to control my inner-Walter, and I'm glad I did. But I've still haven't developed a taste for White Russians...

1 comment:

David Cranmer said...

I've yet to meet someone who doesn't like The Dude.