Somewhere on the Web I was exposed to Brad Warner, an American-born Zen master who has written three books. That’s his newest book in the photo. It’s the first one I’ve read. The title: Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate. (Yeah, what a title.)
I have to say, I like it. And I like Warner too. He’s irreverent, he’s punkish, but he’s not rude. Moreover, even though I’m not in any position to judge, I’d say his Dharma is strong. (A Malaysian woman said that to me once about the Sri Lankan monks at her Buddhist temple: “Their Dharma is strong.” I felt like that communicated something very specific to me. And I think it’s true of Warner.)
Retreats can be a great way to learn real patience. … A sesshin can also teach you fearlessness. There is no greater fear than your fear of facing yourself. You might think that the things that scare you most come from outside you. But they never do. When you can face down your fear of yourself, nothing anyone else does can ever scare you again (p. 146).
Warner’s blog is Hardcore Zen. I’m a couple years older than he is, and even though punk was the music of my twenties, my first years out on my own in the world, I was never hardcore, never played in a band, never had a mohawk. I did not expect to like Warner’s books. But I’ve been burning through this one, and I’m pretty sure I’ll read the earlier two, later.