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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 ·  2,532 ratings  ·  172 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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 13th 2007 by New World Library (first published April 10th 2007)
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,532 ratings  ·  172 reviews

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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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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)
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.
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?
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Engaging chapters and fascinating topics. I learned a lot and it was well worth the read.
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
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it
*3.5 stars*
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.
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'll start this review with a personal note. The author, Brad and I were born the same year and we were both punk rockers in the early 80's playing in local bands that never amounted to much. We don't know each other but I felt an affinity for his mindset. I related to where he came from so to hear about where he's been since that time felt sort of like a long letter from a friend I haven't seen in decades.

That said, I think where he's been and, more importantly what he has to say is quite inte
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
This isn't a book I would recommend as an entry point for a study of the history and practice of Zen Buddhism, but on the other hand if you've been reading a lot of dry, scholarly works on the subject, this could be just the ticket as a palate-cleanser and a source of new perspectives.

Warner is an Ohio-native punk rocker and Zen monk best known for his first book, Hardcore Zen, which offered a refreshingly modern and stripped-down take on Zen practice. Here he's back in what feels an awful lot
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I hate this book. 4 stars. I fought the author every step of the way.

You have to sit in the lotus position to meditate. Too fat to do that? Lose weight. He says that. Fuck you, Brad.

Buddhism isn't about belief, he says, and drowns you with beliefs. Annoying footnotes that just aren't funny. "Duh!" is literally one of his footnotes. And who gives a crap about his punk band bullshit? That barely works as a thread to hold the book together. Fuck you, Brad. Fuck you.

Much to my irritation, fighting
Oscar Sorvick
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essencials
This has been the third book I've read by Brad Warner, and my favorite by far. The genius of it is in the framing:

1. Here's a story from my life.
2. Here's a translated paraphrase of a chapter of Dogen's "Shobogenzo."
3. Here's my interpretation of what Dogan wrote.
4. Here's how I applied it (or could've applied it) in that point in my life.

The result is a surprisingly dense book on Buddhism, where you get both metaphysical concepts and how they act "on the ground." It shouldn't be the only boo
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I can't tell if Brad Warner is full of shit, or if Buddhism is full of shit, but I know someone's full of shit. There are insights to be found in Warner's interpretation of Buddhism, but there's so much hokum to wade through that it's hardly worth it. Too much of its "wisdom" is willful self-contradiction sold as mind-bending insights, with Warner re-framing the cryptic platitudes as down-to-earth credos, partly by making tenuous connections to a punk rock reunion. For someone who supposedly has ...more
Aaron Majors
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another great book by Brad Warner. After listening to the audiobook version of Hardcore Zen, I think listening to Brad narrate is probably a lot better than reading the books! He's a great storyteller and has a unique take on Zen. I am somewhat familiar with Dogen and his teachings, but sometimes the content in this particular book can get dense. Brad does a great job parsing and translating into understandable concepts, but I'll probably have to give this one another listen at some point. I jus ...more
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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
“If a tree falls in the forest and it hits a mime, would he make a noise?” 33 likes
“Faith keeps you going, but doubt keeps you from going off the deep end.” 18 likes
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