In Sit Down and Shut Up, Brad Warner tackles one of the great works of Zen literature, the Shobogenzo by 13th-century Zen master Dogen. Illuminating Dogen’s enigmatic teachings in plain language, Warner intertwines sharp philosophical musings on sex, evil, anger, meditation, enlightenment, death, God, sin, and happiness with an exploration of the power and pain of the punk rock ethos. Riffing on his triumphant return to Ohio for a reunion concert of Akron punk bands, Brad uncovers the real heart of Zen, in teachings and stories with a sharp smack of truth,.
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"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. His latest book is more like a well deserved slap in the face. If you want something to make you feel better about yourself until the next fad comes along, stroll down the New Age aisle and consume the latest and greatest huckster's 'wisdom.' If you want to man up, think seriously about yourself and reality, then Sit Down and Shut Up!"
-- D. Randall Blythe, lead screamer, Lamb of God
"Brad Warner cuts through the bullshit and writes with simple clarity, common sense, and humor about the most misunderstood of all spiritual paths."
-- John Horgan, author of Rational Mysticism
"Brad Warner resuscitates the words of Dogen Zenji in playful, provocative prose. Fresh, edgy, and insightful."
-- Stephen Batchelor, author of Buddhism Without Beliefs
"Zen is a philosophy that you do rather than read about, so it makes sense that Sit Down & Shut Up reads more like an adventure than a tome. Brad Warner's book is rebellious and real."
-- Helen Jupiter, managing editor of Suicidegirls.com
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)
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