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Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, and Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye
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Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, and Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  1,721 ratings  ·  127 reviews
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
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 13th 2007 by New World Library (first published April 10th 2007)
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Dawn
Jan 20, 2009 Dawn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: enlightenment junkies
Awesome! Brad Warner uses the writings of his favorite zen author, Dogen, as a springboard to discuss a little of everything, and a lot of nothing—thereby striking the perfect balance for a kick-ass zen book.

The only thing that kept me from giving this five stars is Warner's tendency to pick on other schools of Buddhism for getting it wrong. Although even this punky attitude is presented in a totally zen manner, since he simultaneously has it all figured out while admitting to being just as dumb
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Paul
I have always enjoyed and held the greatest respect for Zen Buddhism. The problem with Zen is that frequently, what you are reading is poorly translated materials from 14th century Japan or was written in the late sixties and is therefore steeped in hippy-dippy vibes. Lately, however, a new generation of young Buddhists have become mature enough to write about the experience and Brad Warner is my favorite. From former punk rock bassist to ordained zen monk to working in the Japanese Monster Movi ...more
Allison
I love titles like "Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death and Dogen's Treasury of the right Dharma Eye" because while the title is waaaaay too long and the book focuses little one God, Truth, Sex and Death; however, the core of the entire novel flows throughout: Sit Down and Shut up.

I've learned a lot about Buddhism from Brad Warner's writings. From my own background, I have a mild understanding of buddhism: I've taken 3 seminars on Buddhism (well, it wa
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Stuart Young
Overview of some of Zen legend Dogen's teachings as Warner interepretes them. Not aimed quite so much at the casual reader as HARDCORE ZEN but still not really a full-on Zen textbook.

Didn't enjoy this as much as HARDCORE ZEN but I think that's partly 'cos I kept slogging through it when was I too tired to give it my full attention and partly 'cos Warner kept quoting Dogen using Japanese characters, then again in English, then gave his own extremely paraphrased version where he finally explains D
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Steve
This was an informative and well-written book about Buddhism, specifically focusing on the teachings of Dogen and the form of practice known as Zazen. Right off the bat there are two things I had no clue about! I am not a practicing Buddhist but merely a nascent observer and someone who finds much to like about it. Whether I ever end up literally sitting down and shutting up is a place I haven't really come to but it seems to be a place I grow nearer and nearer to thanks in large part to this bo ...more
Jason
Warner doesn't mess with evocative metaphor or fluffy language to talk about Zen practice and life. His direct, irreverent, no-bullshit attitude toward the subject is not only refreshing, but imperative to cut through the sheer about of misinformation out there about the subject. Unfortunately, most will undoubtedly find this approach off-putting - simply because it's not how books on religion/spirituality are typically packaged and presented. Too bad. There's great wisdom to be had here.
Samuel
I've read a lot of books on Buddhism and many of them are filled with flowery or "Zenny" language due to the time period of the book or the choices of the modern writer. Sometimes that's useful and sometimes it feels like bullshit to wade through to get to the kernel of truth it obscures. Brad Warner largely avoids the bullshit and delivers straightforward teachings based on everyday life while at the same time pointing to the wisdom of Dogen's Shobogenzo (which itself is just pointing) in ways ...more
Kris Stark
I really enjoyed this. Warner lacks pretension to the point that he's comfortable to read on stuffy subjects; he even makes fun of himself. This isn't the first commentary that I've read by an American Buddhist, but he's probably the most accessible. Here is where I must add a caveat: to call this a commentary, in the traditional sense, is somewhat inaccurate. He doesn't actually cover that much of Dogen's Shobogenzo; this is not a negative criticism, however. Despite sounding irreverent (which ...more
Daniel Olbris
Dec 31, 2007 Daniel Olbris rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Persons interested in buddhism.
Sit Down and Shut up is a pretty decent set of reflection on various topics, sex, death, greed, informed by the writings of the early japanese Zen teacher Dogen, author of the Shobogenzo, "Treausry of the Right Dharma Eye".


Brad warner does a good job of presenting how buddhist ideas apply to the lives of ordinary people, in a down to earth manner. Sometimes he tries a bit too hard to be funny, adding footnotes where he makes little digs at himself, but that's no big deal.

I did learn various thin
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Jodi
I was expecting more of an autobiographical nature to this book than I got, though still found the explication of Dogen's philosophy to be more than tolerable. The author admits that Buddha is boring, and talking about Zen kind of defeats the purpose of Zen... but it is a great read if you want to get into the mind of a Zen practitioner without falling asleep. After reading this book I am more than ready to purchase and/or steal the rest of Brad's work. ;)

The same thing that is holding me back f
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Rose Fuller
The book is written by a punk rock bassist Brad Warner who played with Akron hardcore bands in the 80's, he makes documentaries too. The book is primarily about Zen practice, especially zazen the practice of meditation. Brad Warner wrote Hardcore Zen before this book and makes reference to it in this book. He talks about his life in anecdotes which are numerous, such as his childhood, marriage and job, besides his Zen practice. There is a bit too much personal stuff in there I think, although th ...more
Sara
This is the most practical and unpretentious look at buddhist philosophy I have ever had the pleasure of encountering. This is partly due to the fact that it deals specifically with zen buddhism, which has a tradition of doing away with the ceremonial noise of other sects, and partly due to the straightforward, colloquial style of the author (a punk rock bass player), who has no interest in anything that isn't immediate, real, practical and meaningful.

This is the also the first book I have ever
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Angel
This was my first Brad Warner book. I will admit that the title caught my eye when it comes to the reason why I picked it up. I am glad I picked it up. Warner does two things in this book. One, it is a travelogue for a punk bands reunion in Cleveland; Warner was a member of the band Zero Defects. Two, he is writing a commentary on an ancient Buddhist text by a man named Dogen. In between those two things, he provides insights, comments, and lessons on Zen Buddhism practice and beliefs. Warner wr ...more
Tim Weakley
Warner offers a view of current Zen Buddism that is a little lighter hearted than most. As a punk rock bassist, turned worker in a monster movie company, turned zen buddhist monk, his point of view is always interesting if a little rough around the edges. His stories, and his interpretation of Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye show insight from a point of view outisde of the usual buddhist book. His writing style is engaging, although not always polished. Well worth reading.
Gina
honestly, this was a disappointment after Hardcore Zen. but then again i was at a very different point in my life when i read this book. to be fair to warner, he was trying to accomplish something more "technical" in terms of explaining dogen's work. and i actually appreciated that part of this book. but where i ultimately threw up my hands and said "fuck this" was when warner defended the idea that "god" exists. i thought his reasoning was weak and, like he always promised, someone i had exalte ...more
Sonny Zaide
This sequel to "Hardcore Zen" is just as brilliant as the first. I actually read this first. This time he discusses the writings of the Shobogenzo, written by Dogen, and creatively incorporates these philosophies into his punk band tour. Great book. I finished it in a week when I usually finish a book in a year (slow reader lol)
Eduardo
This book was solid but I enjoyed Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality a bit more. I liked the format of the book, which loosely follows Dogen Zenji's Shobogenzo, giving the reader a modern version of the highlights of the original text. The last few chapters (21-25, specifically) were the ones that really hit me personally. Warner's style is definitely accessible, especially given the difficulty of absorbing the text that he is attempting to share with the common ...more
Joe Ryan
A great book on the confusing world of Zen. Most of this stuff puts me write to sleep but Brads stories about his days in Hardcore Punk and working for a Monster Movie company kept me very entertained. Plus, makes me laugh to hear a Zen Master Buddhist monk curse so much. Ha. See?
Tim
A little more abstruse than Warner's first book. This one is a bit rougher going conceptually but just as entertaining as Hardcore Zen.

Warner is a Zen master (priest) ordained by his Japanese sensei when he was working in Japan in the monster (Godzilla and friends) movie industry. He teaches a form of Soto Zen that involves Zen at its most basic: Sitting meditation and not much else. No Koans, no chanting, no complex theology, no waiting for thousands of rebirths before enlightenment. Maybe not
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Cait
Sep 19, 2009 Cait rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in religion or funny/serious scholarship thereof
I really enjoyed reading this -- it was quite literally laugh-out-loud funny at times, and very thought-provoking -- but it was more Buddhism and less punk rock than I expected, and it hung rather tenuously on the punk rock framework it did have. It is, basically, a religious book by a monk about his faith; what I probably should have read was his first book, which I understand is more of a memoir along the lines that I was expecting for this book. Now that I know how well he writes, I'll defini ...more
Emi Kanter
The parts about the Shobogenzo are lots of fun. The parts about meeting his old buddies to play hardcore punk rock songs after so many years... not so much. Still, great book, no-BS.
Inge Bird
This book is a continuation from Brad's first book "Hardcore Zen" I recommend it for those who are interested in Zen and would like to apply its teachings relating to the modern world
cagedpopmachine
The content is great, however for me the style got in the way of the substance. Warner relies very heavily on an informal, slang-y "write how you talk" style. I found it detracted from me taking his insights seriously and from reading. To me the style is better suited to a blog or articles rather than a whole book. I feel like a cranky old person, but why use a comic sans-like font for the footnotes?
June
Easy to read like his previous book Hardcore Zen. The actual history/explanations of Dogen's Shobogenzo were very interesting but Brad Warner's voice in this irked me. Was it condescension? I'm not sure. He's self-deprecating in a way that seems too insincere.

I finished the book regardless. I did get some gems from it.
Bodhi47
It was good. I liked it because it was an irreverent and plain spoken break down of the Shobogenzo. Throwing in Japanase Monster movies and punk rock helped keep it real.
Aj
What I learned from this book is to truly be Buddhist and understand the Buddhist principles I need to practice zaazen (Zen Buddhist meditation) and find a teacher. And that Brad Warner believes in god with a weak argument for theistic belief and against atheism. However, Brad himself would say that he never wanted to be idealized and that disagreeing with him is ok and to be expected. Still it's a bummer that he's such a smart guy with so much to offer, yet particularly shortsighted on this top ...more
Bert Edens
A punk bassist Zen monk who makes B-grade movies? My kind of eclectic mix :-)

Warner follows up "Hardcore Zen" by mixing a return visit to Akron, Ohio, for a punk reunion of sorts with the teachings of Dogen.

Being a fan of Warner's Hardcore Zen blog for some time, this book was just what I expected: funny, irreverent, down-to-earth, and yet very informative. He compares his beliefs with other lineages or sects, which is even more informative. But it all comes down to zazen, or sitting meditation
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David Laurin
This one is more Buddhist theory heavy then his last one, which I am happy about. Just as funny and though inducing.
Kris
I like his down-to-earth style of communicating. He completely deflates the "magical thinking" that can permeate Buddhist thought/writing and brings us back to NOW with a resounding thud! I'm thankful for his efforts to be authentic and straightforward, but I find myself thinking from time to time— when is this 40-something man/boy going to grow up? Never the less, I love him just as he presents himself— witty, smart and determined to cut through the bullshit. And that inspires me.
Will
This is a more serious look at Dogen and the history of Zen than his Hardcore Zen book. It's still good.

I have a hard time objectively reviewing Warner's books, because even the bits that many people find annoying, like his habit of pointing to his personal experience and interleaving anecdotes and jokes with some surprisingly comprehensive breakdowns of koans and chants seems all of a piece -- there are no zen masters, only human beings.

That being said, this is one of the books that I read and
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Brad Warner is an ordained Zen Master (though he hates that term) in the Soto lineage founded in Japan by Master Dogen Zenji in the 13th century. He's the bass player for the hardcore punk rock group 0DFx (aka Zero Defex) and the ex-vice president of the Los Angeles office of the company founded by the man who created Godzilla.

Brad was born in Hamilton, Ohio in 1964. In 1972, his family relocated
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More about Brad Warner...
Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate: A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, and Spiritual Celebrity in Search of the True Dharma Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist  Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything In Between There Is No God and He Is Always with You: A Search for God in Odd Places Hardcore Zen Strikes Again

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