Customers of a Buddhist Barber Shop in Spokane Stop in for a Haircut and Leave at Peace

An article in the Spokane Faiths and Values Community website features local barber Jefferson Workman. A member of the board of directors of the Spokane Buddhist Temple for the past 10 years, Workman’s faith informs his work.

He considers his barbershop as “a place where clients can go and face no judgment,” a precious commodity in a world often filled with contention and strife.

On his Facebook, he invites people to text him for an appointment and promotes the playlists he’ll be featuring while he trims your hair that day.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had my hair cut by anyone who takes as much care as Jefferson,” comments one of his clients. “Great haircut, engaging conversation, and a hip, eclectic soundtrack. What else could you want… except maybe a beer, and there’s probably one in the fridge.”

Raised Episcopalian, Workman became a Buddhist when he reached a critical juncture in his life at 35. He describes how he lacked direction, like “a rope twisted on a limb.”

Spokane Buddhist TempleIt was then that a friend gave him a basic book on Buddhism and that brought him to the Spokane Buddhist Temple.

At 50, he trained as a barber and later started his own business—a barbershop he named “Bombu Barber.” Bombu means a foolish or simple person. And the article describes how understanding that everyone has the same bombu nature helps people develop fellowship with others.

“It cultivates a sense of compassion for everyone, which then helps you become less judgmental of everyone else because you understand everyone shares the same thing,” Workman said.

He meets so many different people from different walks of life through his business

“So, I try to keep that thought in my head that we all have the same experiences in life no matter what we have. At the core, we all share those failures and those foibles,” he says. “So, when you sit down in my chair, you and me are the same people, the same level. I try, I’m human, but I try to make no judgments.”

He speaks of the basic philosophy with which he approaches his life and work.

“The practice of Buddhism and the practice of barbering I feel like are the same thing,” he says. “I’m constantly always learning, always growing as a person, growing in my practice as a Buddhist and growing in my practice as a barber.”