Irreverent Zen, good reading


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.



8 responses

  1. I LOVE this post. Cause like Peter, Brad moves me in my growth by eliciting either laughter or annoyance (either way it makes me pay attention to the “feeling”) AND now I have to wrap my head around the fact that “zensquared” is female – and just when I thought I was being open and not having preconceived judgments. (Yeah, Uku said it best) Thanx for the smile before bed!

  2. Ah, so it was here. I was in half price books yesterday and saw this book. I could not recall where I had heard about it. Now I got it! The recall and the book.:-)

    On another point. A email to my wife and I was addressed Zensquared. Because she is called Lady Zen and I am Zen. = ZenSquared. Ether that or I got your email 🙂