Bernie Glassman was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1939. His parents were immigrants from Eastern Europe and he grew up in a Jewish family with a strong socialist orientation. After graduating from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, he went to work for McDonnell-Douglas in California in 1960 as an aeronautical engineer, concentrating on interplanetary flights. He also obtained a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from UCLA in 1970.
Bernie founded Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York, in 1982 as a business that hired unconventional employees who were deemed unemployable at other business locations. By 1990, the bakery grew into a successful $6 million business with more than 75 employees. In 1998, Bernie founded Zen Peacemakers for Zen practitioners dedicated to the cause of peace and social justice.
Bernie is the co-author with Rick Fields of Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Masters Lessons in Living a Life that Matters, and the author, with Eve Marko, of Bearing Witness: A Zen Masters Lessons in Making Peace and Infinite Circle: Studies in Zen. Bernie is also the co-author with Hakuyu Maezumi of Hazy Moon of Enlightenment: On Zen Practice III and On Zen Practice (The Zen Writings Series).
Bernie was awarded the ‘Ethics in Action Award’ by the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester and the ‘E-chievement Award’ by Toms of Maine. He was named ‘Man of the Year’ by the Westchester Coalition of Food Pantries and ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Business Week in 1993. He is a founding board member of the Social Ventures Network, a network of businesses committed to social change, and continues to serve as one of its spiritual leaders. In 2007, he was honored as a Purpose Prize Fellow given to those over 60 with the passion and experience to discover new opportunities, come up with new solutions, and make lasting changes.
Bernie is married to Roshi Eve Myonen Marko and has two children, Alisa and Marc Glassman, and four grandchildren.