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Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between Paperback – August 31, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
There's not exactly a large shelf of books on this subject, so leave it to the iconoclastic ex-punk-rocker Zen teacher Warner (Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate) to plunge in, double entendres in footnotes and all. The subject is as fundamental as the human sex drive, which does not go away as one spends time on the cushion. Since most Buddhists are laypeople (yes, the author intends that pun), Warner offers practice- and experience-based analysis and reflection over a wide range of sex-related topics and flavors, from vanilla (traditional hetero) to kink. A mind-opening interview with Zen-influenced porn star Nina Hartley is included, as is discussion of a difficult topic in Buddhism: student-teacher sexual involvement. Warner is as usual at his best in confessional-analytic mode; he's been romantically involved with a student and written a Buddhist column for a sex-positive Web site. A few chapters seem dry or even unnecessary: a chapter on Amma, for example, is unwarranted. Some women readers will object to the inescapability of the male viewpoint, though the author is aware of his biases. Kudos to Warner for tackling the subject.
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Violet Blue, blogger and sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle
I loved this book! It's so refreshing to read such an engaging, insightful, accessible book on sex and Buddhism, two subjects that don't seem to go together at first glance. He's successfully bridged the gap between two very different cultures, each with its own notions of right, wrong, and proper moral behavior. Bravo, Brad!”
Nina Hartley, sex activist, author, educator, registered nurse, and Zen kid
Top customer reviews
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I did enjoy the book. It is a good read.
The interviews with Nina Hartley are worth the cover price of the book alone, and there's a lot more to it than that. What Brad does here is bring the insight he has realized from sitting zazen and studying zen writings for decades to the questions of sexuality today for people like him, i.e., middle-class Americans born in the middle of the 20th century. Those who expect religious edicts and hard/fast rules will be disappointed. Those who expect to have their own ideas about the third precept confirmed will find it lacking any particular certainty about what sexual misconduct really means.
What you will find is an honest reflection upon these issues by a daily practitioner committed to genuine zen practice. It is rare to find something so ordinary in modern Buddhist books, they usually have the stink of zen about them--that pious, pretentious, self righteousness that sets the author apart from the reader. Brad has none (well, very little) of that. His farts stink and he doesn't pretend otherwise. He is as hot for cute Japanese women as I am. He finds titty bars as sad as I do, even though he likes naked boobies very much.
While I hope a lot of people read this book, I think it is best suited for people like me--regular Joe's who sit zazen and think about boinking the new girl in the Sangha, who check-out asses during kinhin, and similarly just live the life that we are coming to know as American lay zen practice. There's nothing special here, which is exactly what makes the book so valuable. If you want to know what sitting facing a wall every day can do for you, Brad's a good example.
We are very fortunate to have a teacher like Brad so available to us, I bow in deep gassho.