Hardcore Zen – Punk Rock, Monster Movies, and the Truth About Reality by Brad Warner
Book Title: Hardcore Zen – Punk Rock, Monster Movies, and the Truth About Reality
Publisher: Wisdom Publications
Amazon Price: $13.12
This is definitely a unique, entertaining, and informative book. This book takes us from the dingy bathrooms of punk rock clubs in the ‘80s to his adventures in Japan making monster movies and studying Zen with Zen master Gudo Nishijima from whom he received Dharma Transmission.
The author Brad Warner was a part of the ‘80s American punk rock music scene and played bass for a hardcore punk band named Zero Defex before recording a few albums as a solo musician under the name “Dimentia 13”.
Eventually Brad’s path led him to making monster movies and he received an opportunity to travel to Japan to pursue this opportunity. At the same time, he started studying Zen under master Gudo Nishijima of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. He experienced a kind of enlightenment or satori while meditating and after years of meditation he was given the Dharma Transmission (permission to teach).
I think the text on the back of the book sums up the spirit of this book nicely:
“Question. Question authority. Question Society. Question Reality, Question yourself. Question your conclusions, your judgement, your answers. Question this. If you question everything thoroughly enough, the truth will eventually hit you upside the head and you will know. But here’s a warning: It won’t be what you imagined. It won’t even be close. This is not the same old crap you’ve seen in a thousand books you don’t want to read. This is Zen for people who don’t give a rat’s ass about Zen. This is the real deal.”
This is definitely a unique book with a very conversational and engaging writing style that makes it easy to relate to and fun to read. He explains complex Buddhist concepts in simple terms that anyone can understand. After all it’s a book about Zen for people who don’t care about Zen. His simple (and very Zen, so to speak) explanations of the Heart Sutra are worth the price of this book alone.
His very humorous personality shines through in his writing style, which makes this book a very entertaining read.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about Zen Buddhism. The Soto sect of Buddhism is a very pragmatic school of Zen that promotes a direct experience of reality versus risk becoming attached to pleasant meditative states as is taught in the competing Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism.
This book is a refreshing read, and reinvigorates the Dharma and reveals its interesting connections to the mindset prevalent among hardcore punk rockers.
Thanks for reading my review of Hardcore Zen by Brad Warner, and I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. Feel free to leave your thoughts and/or questions in the comments below.