Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality

by Brad Warner | Religion & Spirituality |
ISBN: 086171380x Global Overview for this book
Registered by nillabreen of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts USA on 10/2/2003
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5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by nillabreen from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts USA on Thursday, October 2, 2003
Hardcore Zen by Brad Warner is part memoir, part introduction to Zen Buddhism. Brad Warner was into the punk scene in Akron, Ohio when it was big there in the 1970s. He was a musician in the bands Zero Defex and Dimentia 13. Now, he lives in Japan and has received Dharma transmission from a Buddhist teacher. Here, he presents an introduction to Buddhism dealing with the big issues -- meditation, reincarnation, dharma transmission, enlightenment, and others.

There are *so many* introductions to Buddhism these days... but this one is different. It's written with punk sensibilities and very colloquial language. And it points out the many similarities between Zen and punk. It has interesting chapter titles, like "Why Gene Simmons is not a Zen Master" and "In my next life I want to come back as a pair of Lucy Liu's panties". And each chapter starts with an inspirational quote, like: "Come on, Milhouse, there's no such thing as a soul! It's just something they made up to scare kids, like the Boogie Man or Michael Jackson." -- Bart Simpson. This book is full of pop culture, but it's not about pop Zen. It's about traditional Zen like with monks and stuff.

Here's a link to the Hardcore Zen page where you can listen to the NPR interview with the author:

Journal Entry 2 by nillabreen from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts USA on Sunday, November 9, 2003

Hardcore Zen Bookray

When you receive this book, please make a journal entry stating that you have received it. After you read the book, please make another journal entry with your comments. Send a private message (pm) to the next person on the list to get their address. If that person does not reply, try sending another message, but if they do not reply within a week, please skip that person and contact the next one. The skipped person might get back into the ray later by contacting me. Try to keep the ray moving, but don't read the book so quickly that you don't enjoy it. Thanks for joining the ray! Happy reading!

Bookray participants:

Released on Monday, November 17, 2003 at to another BookCrosser in bookray, postal release USA.

Sending this book to oh-jeez-tower to start the ray...

Journal Entry 4 by oh-jeez-tower from Iowa City, Iowa USA on Monday, November 24, 2003
It came with the mail. The suspense is killing me! I must begin reading it right away!

Journal Entry 5 by oh-jeez-tower from Iowa City, Iowa USA on Friday, November 28, 2003
It makes me think of the line to that Bjork song: "I'm no fucking Buddhist, but this is enlightenment." Well, it sounds a lot cuter when you hear her sing it.

I was very unimpressed with this book at first. In the first chapter, Brad Warner, our author, talks about all of the ways we cannot learn about truth. He highlights three: religion, philosophy, and politics. I was horrified. It all just seemed so hostile to what I think of as being great ways to explore truth. I am an atheist myself, but religion is way cool. After all, Buddhism is a religion, last time I checked. And how could we denounce philosophy? It demands that we ask questions of the world around us. And the final blow came when Brad Warner tried to tell me that politics were nonsense. Political science is a very fascinating world, and I won't give up learning about its complexities, no matter what Brad Warner says. As I read this first chapter, I wanted to shout, "Grow up, Brad Warner! There are other ways to truth than your bloody Zen!" As I progressed, though, I think I did begin to capture what he meant: that if I describe myself using these methods, then I am not really questioning and challenging myself. So, I will not give up my respect for relgion and philosophy and politics, but I will question them a little more completely, or as best as I know how.

The rest of the book neat. I liked hearing Japan stories. I liked the musical references. I didn't obtain enlightenment by reading this, but I wasn't looking for it anyway, and Brad Warner says it doesn't even exist. I can't compare it to other books about Zen Buddhism, because I haven't read any. I will discuss it with a friend of mine who is an International Studies major, with a penchant for East Asia. I'll tell him to pick up the book if he ever sees it in a store, but as for this copy, it will be on its way to the next BookCrosser as soon as I get the next BookCrosser's mailing address. I think some of the other BookCrossers might really enjoy this.

I had some fun navigating around Brad Warner's website (www.hardcorezen.org), reading movie reviews of Kill Bill, and seeing pictures of him dressed up as a big scary monster. I'm going to write him an E-mail and tell him that he has a book traveling around on BookCrossing. I'll explain the concept of it to him, and he might be interested to know that one of his books is fulfilling its destiny. I don't know, it just sounds like the sort of thing that would appeal to a Buddhist. And Brad Warner seems to have the general idea of BookCrossing anyway. From the prologue of Hardcore Zen: "If you get to the end of this book (or to the middle, or to page 27 second paragraph down) and think the book is crap, leave it on the subway and forget about it. No problem."

Journal Entry 6 by oh-jeez-tower from Iowa City, Iowa USA on Thursday, December 4, 2003
I tried to get in contact with BookCrosser spark, but I received no response, so today I mailed the book out to midwinter in Tucson. I doubt winter is very dreadful in Arizona.

Also, Brad Warner hasn't replied to my E-mail. Oh well.

Journal Entry 7 by oh-jeez-tower from Iowa City, Iowa USA on Sunday, December 7, 2003
Success! Today I got a brief reply from Brad Warner. He basically just said that he checked out the BookCrossing page, thought it looked neat, and was glad that I liked the book. He also said that Japanese train stations have shelves where you can leave books.

Journal Entry 8 by midwinter from Tucson, Arizona USA on Sunday, December 28, 2003
This is a very interesting take on Buddhism/Zen. The author cuts through all the customary new age-y foofy stuff, and presents a very frank, plain-spoken opinion of the philosophy he has chosen to follow. I have never been interested in Buddhism before, but this book has encouraged me to read more on the subject. Thanks, nillabreen, for ray-ing this!

Journal Entry 9 by midwinter at -- By Hand Or Post, Ray/Ring, RABCK in Tucson, Arizona USA on Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Released on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 at US mail in Tucson, Arizona USA.

On its way to Ilios now...

Journal Entry 10 by Ilios from Tampa, Florida USA on Saturday, January 17, 2004
I just got this in the mail - thanks nillabreen for starting the ring, and midwinter for sending me the book. I'll be starting this book really soon and pass it along.

I finished this book this morning and I thouroughly enjoyed the experience. This is not your average Buddhism book. Forget about cryptic words of wisdom or paths to follow. Brad Warner has a hilarious way of presenting Buddhism to a 21st century Western audience. I especially enjoyed the last couple of chapters, in which he dissects the Zen masters wannabees. I am not too fond of religion and I really appreciated when the author was able to criticize in a constructive way his "peers".

He mentions Suzuki's "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" and I think my having read that book helped me understand some of the concepts Warner presents.

No enlightment here either ;o), but a pretty good book that made me want to read even more about the topic.

Journal Entry 11 by Ilios at post office in BOOKRAY, Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, February 5, 2004
Released on Thursday, February 05, 2004 at post office in BOOKRAY, Bookray Controlled Releases.

sending to kalipriestess today!

Journal Entry 12 by kalipriestess from Tallahassee, Florida USA on Monday, February 9, 2004
Recently received. Wow, I've only read 37 pages and I am already blown away by this book. I have found someone who thinks like I do! I thought I was the only one with these questions!! I am intrigued and a little frightened at the same time! Thank you, thank you nillabreen for starting this bookray. I have a feeling I'm going to have to get my own copy of this book, if only so I can release it to friends and family. (Especially to my brother, who is already a Buddhist!)

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