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Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate: A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, and Spiritual Celebrity in Search of the True Dharma Paperback – February 10, 2009

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Frequently Bought Together

Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate: A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, and Spiritual Celebrity in Search of the True Dharma + Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, and Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye + Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between
Price for all three: $38.55

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; Original edition (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577316541
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577316541
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #818,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Zen monk and punk rocker Warner offers a "big snarly ball of confessional vomit" in his third book, following Hardcore Zen and Sit Down and Shut Up. The snarly ball is his own suffering, fodder for the Zen cushion: his mother's and grandmother's deaths, the dissolution of his marriage and lots of day-job insecurity when the Japanese monster-movie company he works for downsizes and gets sold. As ever, Warner is unafraid to smash idols, including his own celebrity status as a Zen master. "Not only am I not that thing, but no one is," he writes, and that means everybody from the Dalai Lama to fellow students of his Japanese teacher who disliked his being picked as the teacher's successor. Warner is honest—he would say his attitude is seeing things as they are, a Zen bent. Those familiar with his previous work will find this book exceptionally plainspoken and pungent, in keeping with his idiosyncratic vow "to be an a**hole for the rest of my life." That's a lot of honesty.
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Praise for Brad Warner and Sit Down and Shut Up:

“Warner’s intimate, funny, conversational style goes a long way toward imparting his many sensible messages. Deserving of a wide audience.”      
Library Journal
“Buddhism has long enjoyed baffling ‘crazy wisdom’ teachers and paradoxical koans, and Warner’s punk iconoclasm fits in nicely.”      
Publishers Weekly
“[Brad Warner] seems about as honest as they come, and he shares his personal history and opinions freely.”      
“I can already smell the beautiful smell of newly soiled meditation mats all across this great land of ours.”      
“Nuggets of wisdom rarely seen in an author this plugged in to youth-counter-modern-hipster-culture.”      
— Buddhistgeeks.com
“There are plenty of ‘Buddhist/Spiritual’ authors on the market who will gladly sell you a pat on the back. Brad Warner is not one of those.”
—  D. Randall Blythe, lead screamer, Lamb of God

More About the Author

Brad Warner is an ordained Zen teacher and author of the books Sex Sin and Zen (2010), Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate (2009), Sit Down and Shut Up (2007) and Hardcore Zen (2004). He maintains his own blog at http://hardcorezen.blogspot.com

He's also a writer for the Suicide Girls website, bass player for the hardcore punk rock group 0DFx (aka Zero Defex), director of the film "Cleveland's Screaming!" and former vice president of the US branch of the company founded by the man who created Godzilla.

While playing hardcore punk in the early 80s, Brad became involved in Zen Buddhism. The realistic, no BS philosophy reminded him of the attitude the punks took towards music. He made it to Japan in 1993 where he began studying the philosophy with an iconoclastic rebel Zen Master named Gudo Nishijima. After a few years, Nishijima decided to make Brad his successor as a teacher of Zen.

He has also published work in the Buddhist magazines Shambhala Sun, Buddhadharma, and Tricycle as well as rock magazines such as Alternative Press, Maximum Rocknroll and Razorcake.

Since 2004 Brad has spoken in a variety of settings from Zen centers to public libraries, from vocational high schools to university auditoriums. Though Brad's talks always focus on the Buddhist dharma, the actual topics covered can range from the words of the ancient masters to the finer points of slam dancing, from insights to be found in the depths of marathon meditation sessions to whether Godzilla could beat up Yog the Space Monster. Lively and full of self-effacing humor, Brad prefers to respond to an audience rather than lecture them. A sampling of these can be seen on Brad's YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/doubtboy

Customer Reviews

If you read a Brad Warner book you get hooked.
Allen Zebrowski
His first book was what got me started in Zen and his second book got me reading the Shobogenzo.
Albert S. Coleman
Nevertheless, like Warner, I have "tested it myself, and it worked".

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By L. Erickson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Unlike several of the reviewers here, I came to this book having never heard of the author (sorry Brad.) At first, I was turned off by his criticism of some other Buddhist teachers and schools, and of the confessional nature of the book. In the end though, he won me over, because his explanations of Zen, and particularly of zazen, are clear and accessible. He keeps it real, and that is part of what the confessional aspects of the book are meant to do. He's not out to set himself up as an exalted being - in fact, his goal is to make sure you don't think he, or any other Buddhist teacher, is that. But readers looking for a traditional introduction to Zen Buddhism should understand that this book is more memoir than treatise (which does keep it entertaining.) And I gave it four stars instead of five because I think he could have lightened up a bit on the snarkiness - at least in relation other teachings.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Captainette on June 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I realize that's a stupid name for my review but I really am stumped. I don't understand why so many people see this book as a massive self-stroking ego trip and/or whining pity party of one, and Brad Warner as a lame excuse-making hypocrite and jerk to end all jerks, etc. It's a book! You can take it or leave it.

I feel like he did what he set out to do-- write an honest account of a bad year to illustrate how Buddhism applies to life as we know it. I found it funny, sad, disturbing, and thoughtful... giving me a lot to think about and act upon. I don't see where he is vain or egotistical; it's a memoir, so of course he refers mainly to himself and his own experiences. I never get the impression that he is talking just to hear himself speak-- he has things he really wants the reader to know, and he does everything he can to get his message across, in his own way.

I did want to know more about his wife and their relationship, because she does not come across as a "real" person in the book-- but neither does anyone else, except Brad himself. Maybe that is a conscious choice or an example of his limited ability as a writer; I think it's both. He is an entertaining and thoughtful writer, but he's not a novelist so I don't expect characterization, and I don't see what value it would add. At most, it might satisfy (or worse, further tantalize) the reader's curiosity about things which are best kept private.

That said, I didn't want to read about the awesome sex he had with exceptionally hot & special women other than his wife... It did seem like he was bragging a bit, which annoyed me. But then I'm kind of a prude about other people's sex lives, and I know he didn't include these stories just to brag.
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49 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Meredith J. Sislow on March 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
i have read all three of brad's books. "zen wrapped..." is much different than the first two. it is an autobiography with small zen messages sporadically dispersed throughout the book. don't buy this expecting it to be a lecture about zen in america.

when i read brad's first book, i thought "this guy is not zen. he is an egomaniacal pretender." after having read all three of his books i am still not convinced that my original impression was wrong. part of me still thinks brad says what he says not because he is a zen priest, but because for some psychological reason he is extremely anti-establishment. i am sure in his personal life he owns a mac and hates bill gates. having said all of this, i think there are great messages in each of his books, this one included. we are all human, even the "enlightened" ones. we all make mistakes and do dumb $h1t sometimes. its ok, just try not to do too much of it and dont hurt others while doing it.

overall i liked this book and if brad writes a fourth (which i am quite certain he will) i will purchase and read it too. i dont agree with everything he says and i think he tries way too hard not to be part of the established zen order (whatever that is, right brad?), but there is still enough of a very good message in his books to keep going down this path with him.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert Hayes on October 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. As a part-time buddhist (meaning I don't sit as much as I'd like to), I am always looking for new ways to understand buddhism. Brad's 3rd book is not Shobogenzo. And the book is not pearls of wisdom dripping from the glowing jowls of the master. It is the chronicling of the author's journey through much of the muck that we all wade through, are tempted by, give in to, etc. Here is a guy who has a pretty good grasp of buddhism. Yet he is human, and here he shows us how a human with buddhist tendencies deals with life when the stinky stuff is hitting the fan. I found that Brad's conversational style and insights were very enlightening. I came away from the book with a different take on Brad, but I also came away with a practical understanding of concepts I assumed were too lofty for me. In other words, his troubles and how he handled them, and the thoughts he thunk aloud (in print) helped me on my journey. And what more can you ask for that that?

Good work, Brad. Get a job.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
A sophomore slump personally and in print, even if numbered third of his now four books. This deals with what went down after "Hardcore Zen" (see my review) made his reputation for better or worse. The year 2007 as the subtitle "a trip through death, sex, divorce, and spiritual celebrity in search of the true dharma" says it all, but what may elude a casual reader is the seriousness beneath the Ed Hardy-tattoo like cover and the tone that Warner prefers, to keep it snappy, snide, and snickering as much as profound, philosophical, and even poetic. Both modes alternate and this makes it a book that secular skeptics will welcome perhaps more than "drippy" Buddhist types.

That's his intention: to get a Soto Zen message of facing down reality on the cushion and then getting up to do better than you do habitually. He rejects fantasies and fear, to as "Sit Down and Shut Up" (see my review) used the Soto founder Dogen's precepts to keep a balance and to live life now, in the moment, while admitting that "I Don't Know" can be a fine way to navigate its challenges.

He can write movingly; much of this book concerns his mother's slow death from Huntington's Disease and his fears of inheriting the same when he grew up. This pragmatism made him determined to sort real from false desires, and even if he calls it "a ball of big snarly confessional vomit," he can reach beauty. Considering his grandfather's death, he notes how even if he himself does not believe in reincarnation or an afterlife, he admits how Grandpa's presence remains: "The same thing that stared out of my grandpa's eyes and wondered what he wondered what the f[--]k it was all about stares at the world out of your eyes and out of mine.
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