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Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, and Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye Paperback – April 13, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Warner, a Zen priest, author (Hardcore Zen) and former punk rock bassist, has a very distinctive voice. It may be off-putting to some to think about Buddha and a bunch of Zen masters, including esteemed 13th-century Japanese Zen master Dogen, as dudes riffing on "whiz-bang-with-cheese-on-top-enlightenment." But for the patient, curious and those for whom Warner's slash-the-crap style is their cup of green tea, this Zen punk book offers provocation and reward. Warner ambitiously presents something close to textual commentary on a key text by Dogen while teaching on anger, sex, loving-kindness, dependent arising and other familiar Buddhist themes. The topical chapters are tied together by Warner's narration of a punk band reunion. The author's knowledge of Japanese from his years of living in Japan adds to his credibility, since it allows him to better explore the nuances of Japanese Zen. Though he might be disappointed to hear it, Warner is probably less provocative than some of the first-generation Asian teachers who transplanted Zen to America. Still, Buddhism has long enjoyed baffling "crazy-wisdom" teachers and paradoxical koans, and Warner's punk iconoclasm fits in nicely. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Warner takes up where he left off in Hardcore Zen(2003), though not without reminding us, in the opening sentence, that before he was a Zen monk, he played punk rock bass. The teachings of hardcore punk--no drinking, no drugs, hard work, "and a commitment to what was true"--meshed remarkably with the teachings of twelfth-century Zen master Dogen, he found. Like Zen, punk rock asked questions rather than provided pat, comfortable answers, and like his band mates, the Zen teachers he knew seemed real. As before, Warner writes in an open, appealing, and friendly manner. He seems about as honest as they come, and he shares his personal history and opinions freely. And he discusses the principles of Dogen. "Buddhism is not a philosophy you just read about," he says. "It is a philosophy you do." Part autobiography, part Buddhist philosophy, part punk rock memoir, Sit Down and Shut Up is as unique as the man who wrote it. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
This book by Brad Warner is a fine followup to his 2003 Hardcore Zen. Warner is an unusual combination of punk-rock-band bass player, marketer for Japanese monster movies, and Zen priest. He brings his straight-talking, playful punk to his crystal clear explanation of Zen, in this instance the writings of ancient Zen master Dogen. When Warner explains Dogen's admonition to "practice wisdom," he notes that "Real wisdom is the ability to understand the incredible extent to which you bullshit yourself every single moment of every day. . . At some point, if your practice deepens enough, . . you'll discover that you were never, ever, not for even a nanosecond in your whole entire life the least bit unaware of the truth. And you'll see that you couldn't possibly be unaware of the truth because the truth is what sustains you. . . But just because you get this doesn't mean you're enlightened. You have to live it every moment of every day. And if you think that's effortless, think again." And one more admonition from Warner: "How many once-in-a-lifetime experiences have we missed completely because they were just ordinary once-in-a-lifetime experiences and not supercool kick-ass once-in-a-lifetime experiences? Everything you ever do, no matter what it is . . is always, always, always a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Don't miss your life."