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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

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,715 ratings  ·  185 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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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  2,715 ratings  ·  185 reviews


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Start your review of Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, and Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye
Gabrielle
First off, can I just say how much I love, love, love the title: “Sit Down and Shut Up”. This is why I love Brad Warner so much: he takes the lofty concepts of Zen and explains them in the most down-to-earth, straightforward, in your face sort of way. Which is exactly what I had needed for a long time when I stumbled upon his books.

This one is his second, and it’s a commentary of what he refers to as the cornerstone of his intellectual understanding of Zen: Shobogenzo, a text written by Zen mast
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Allison
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
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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Dawn
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Daniel Swensen
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Occupies a nice space between Hardcore Zen (which is a great overview and introduction to Warner's outlook) and Don't be a Jerk (which digs much deeper into Dogen and the Shobogenzo). A great book to follow up with if you got anything out of Hardcore Zen. ...more
Stuart Young
Jun 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
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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Jason
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Adam Pateman
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I super liked it. It's pretty blah blah at points, but I found myself enjoying it like crazy. The chapter on death blew my mind a little. ...more
Page
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First of all, I loved this book. I loved the author's approach that was playful while also being straightforward. It is unpretentious and in no way condescending unlike many Buddhist books I have read.

That said I am sure this author ruffled a lot of feathers among other Buddhist teachers because he flat-out contradicts many commonly held ideals of Buddhism in the West. Which is to say this is not the book for everybody.

However it is likely to be a book I return to. It's another one of those book
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Dubzor
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best Buddhist text I've read all year, and definitely one of the most valuable I have in my library. As someone who has been struggling with the concepts of traditional Tibetan concepts and interpretations, it was quite enlightening (no pun intended) to get a different perspective on things. Brad Warner does an excellent job of cutting through all the BS and laying out Buddhism and specifically Zen Buddhism in a practical, accessible manner. I can't wait to read his first book! ...more
Daniel Olbris
Dec 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
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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Kris Stark
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Samuel
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism, philosophy, zen, soto
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
Jordan O'Leary
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion, one of the best books written in Zen. This is the book that brought me all the more closer to Dogen's teachings in the Soto Zen Buddhist school. Dogen was such a brilliant, yet far ahead of even our times guy, and it can be very difficult tackling such monolithic reads as The Shobogenzo. I've tried to tackle this collection of 96 books, and it is not for the beginner, I assure you. Once again, Warner comes forth with his razor sharp sword of ordinary language and practicality to d ...more
Tim
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Tim Weakley
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Sonny Zaide
Aug 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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) ...more
Justin
Mar 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
Feels like a repeat of his other books, but without the insight. Additionally, Brad's format gets tired after 3 books.
How often can you hear the same jokes about how people steal his book, etc.?

I was hoping to learn something here, but I found this book mostly to harp on the importance of zazen.
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Amy
Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Well it took me over a year to come back to this book and finish it...and I'm glad that I did. I heart Brad Warner's take on Zen, even more that I like Graffin's take on evolutionary biology.

Working my way backwards through these books for some reason...first book coming up!
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Michael Hernandez
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Strongly disagree with the insistence on the half or full lotus posture and that using a meditation chair is wrong.
I'm a 51 year old man with bad stiff knees.
I'll keep on saying the Nembutsu and meditating with compassion, gratitude and loving kindness.
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Joe Ryan
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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?
Inge Bird
Aug 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Bodhi47
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Scott Ashlock
Dec 06, 2014 added it
Shelves: buddhism, zen
Brad makes Dogen seem accessible even to Shobogenzo-newbs like myself. The book seems like it would be a great starting point for anyone looking to learn more about zazen.
Natalie
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it
*3.5 stars*
Jacob
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Engaging chapters and fascinating topics. I learned a lot and it was well worth the read.
Alex
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I've always enjoyed Brad Warner's writing, but I had to read a lot of American Zen writing to appreciate how unlike most American Zen teachers and authors he is, and how important his perspective is.

The vast majority of American-born Zen teachers (especially the ones who write books) began practicing Buddhism in California in the 1960s and 1970s. Their perspective is inevitably, at least to some degree, a product of that cultural moment, and "American Zen", whatever that is exactly, has become
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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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