In The Dude and the Zen Master, Jeff Bridges and his old friend Bernie Glassman have a loose and free-wheeling chat about life and Buddhism, attempting to make it more accessible by illustrating many of its concepts with The Big Lebowski as its main example (my love for which probably being what prompted this being gifted to me).
Buddhism and mindfulness have both been recommended to me a lot, given that I have a few troubles with anxiety, and so using something that I already love and know inside out was a good way of trying to sell me on some of its easier to understand principles. It was also reassuring to read that Jeff Bridges, who has always seemed to be as chill as The Dude, can also be pretty anxious underneath it all. He is also, naturally, pleasant company even just to read about and drops more than enough anecdotes to keep the attention even of those uninterested in the main topic of conversation, and for rather large chunks it does feel as though you’re partaking in a pleasantly stoned fireside chat. But I must admit that when it came to really getting me to understand some of the things being discussed, or at least finish some sentences without eye-rolling, it didn’t quite cut the mustard and to my mind both men occasionally teetered on the edge of disappearing up their own arses.
That’s not to say that the book wasn’t enjoyable overall – it was a pleasant enough way to while away some hours. I just don’t think I’ll be starting meditating any time soon.