21st Century Zen
An Interview with Perle Besserman and Manfred Steger

May 20, 2018

Interview by
Joanna Harcourt-Smith

In this week’s episode Perle Besserman and Manfred Steger speak with Joanna about: the abuse of women by spiritual teachers in spiritual traditions; the importance of a grounded spirituality; uncovering misogyny in the spiritual arena; falling in love with a spiritual path; the treasure of real spiritual partnership; men overcoming the patriarchal conditioning; encountering the freedom of the moment; looking at Zen in a fresh way; back to the original message of the Buddha; spiritual composting; beyond the cultural trappings of a spiritual practice; spiritual community and practice in the 21st century; the core of the enlightenment experience.

Perle Besserman is the award-winning author of numerous works of fiction and creative nonfiction, including several books on spirituality that were praised by Isaac Bashevis Singer for their clarity and feeling for mystic lore” and by Publishers Weekly for the “wisdom that points to a universal practice of the heart”. Her newest book is The Kabbalah Master, and, co-authored with Manfred Steger, Grassroots Zen: Community and Practice in the 21st Century. She holds a doctorate in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and, together with Manfred Steger, is founding co-teacher of the Princeton Area Zen Group in Princeton, New Jersey.

Manfred B. Steger is the founding teacher of the Princeton Area Zen Group. He and his wife Perle Besserman are deeply dedicated to the cultivation of a Western-style lay practice that maintains the essential elements of Zen-sitting meditation, interviews with a teacher, and silent retreats. A professor of Sociology at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa and Honorary Professor of Global Studies at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Steger has written or edited twenty book on politics, history, and religion, including the best-selling Globalization: A Very Short Introduction.

“I Can’t Sit Still”, original music by Evarusnik

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