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Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries…

Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Zen and Dogen's… (edition 2007)

by Brad Warner (Author)

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314758,414 (3.96)2
InSit 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 rock ethos. Riffing on his triumphant return to Ohio for a reunion concert of Akron punk bands, Brad uncovers the real heart of Zen, in teachings and stories with a sharp smack of truth,.… (more)
Title:Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Zen and Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye
Authors:Brad Warner (Author)
Info:New World Library (2007), 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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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 by Brad Warner



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In 2003, Brad Warner blew the top off the Buddhist book world with his irreverent autobiography/manifesto, Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, and the Truth about Reality. Now in his second book, Sit Down and Shut Up, Brad tackles one of the great works of Zen literature, the Shobogenzo, by thirteenth-century Zen master Dogen.
  Langri_Tangpa_Centre | Dec 25, 2018 |
Following his stellar Hardcore Zen, this book was a bit of a let down. Following the same format as his first book, Warner mixes personal history, punk rock, and zen buddhism in an eminently readable way. The problem is, little is new here. ( )
  syntheticvox | Sep 16, 2010 |
True to his irreverent punk background, Warner wastes no time in getting to joking about the Left Dharma Eye before the reader can. This is a good follow up to Hardcore Zen, with Warner’s take on the Buddhist perspective on numerous big philosophical issues.

Warner keeps up the level of clarity from his first book. He does a good job of bringing metaphors that were current a thousand years ago into the present day, and can dig right into linguistic subtleties like kanji choice in a Japanese source text that would be easy to miss in a translation. He gets into some more esoteric perspectives, some of which I didn’t really get— for example, he explained the twelve folds of the Twelvefold Chain well, but utterly lost me on the supposed “therefore” connections between them, and it looks like I’m missing something about the no-ego-all-is-one viewpoint. I suspect this will be worth a re-read after I do more zazen. (A lot more zazen.) ( )
  slothman | Sep 14, 2010 |
Brash, irreverent member of punk rockband Zero Defects, a Zen master who speaks Japanese and was trained in Japan, interprets Dogen's 95-chapter Shobogenzo, written in the 13th century. Warner considers it the single most reliable written interpretation of Buddhism, and he delivers it to young Americans in a most up-front manner: zazen is supposed to be boring, enlightenment is impossible (especially if you are searching for it), and the present moment is all there is. Fantastic. ( )
  bordercollie | Mar 18, 2009 |
I only have one irrational fear: boredom. After many years of getting to know myself, I admit I have a fear of boredom. I go to great lengths planning for new things to happen so that I will be spared a moment of boredom. What’s so bad about boredom? It can be relaxing. I did say it was irrational. Boredom feels a little like death because nothing is happening; maybe that is it. But apart from boredom, I do not have any irrational fears. Well, except maybe of really high heights, but that is rational, a fall would kill me. And then there’s claustrophobia. The idea of being awake in a closed coffin really spooks me, but wouldn’t it spook you? Wait a minute, are all these fears rooted in a fear of death, in the end of me?

In Sit Down and Shut Up, Brad Warner provides a fresh take on the Buddhist view that “self” is at the root of our troubles. The notion of self as a permanent thing is an understandable mistake. Our self is a constant through our many changing experiences, so we mistake it for a permanent thing. “When a man is sailing along in a boat and he moves his eyes to the shore, he misapprehends that the shore is moving” says Dogen, an ancient Buddhist teacher. Dogen’s book, Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye, is the subject of Warner’s dialog. It taught him many of the insights on his path from a bassist for the hardcore punk band Zero Defects to becoming a Zen priest.

While many books on Buddhism cause my eyes to glaze over (in boredom?), Warner’s perspective on punk brings extra punch. Take anger, the mantle of every punker. “Drop the A-Bomb on meeeeeeeeeeee!” According to Warner, angry music is different than an angry musician. When they were writing or playing music, there wasn’t any anger involved. Angry music was intended to say something true, and playing it shifted him out of his petty self. Anger is about me being right, and you being wrong. If you dispense with self, it is tough to remain angry.

This shift is the essence of Zazen, a meditation practice. Zazen is quite simple. Find a quiet spot, sit on a pillow in full or half lotus, keep your spine straight and your eyes open, and cease the “ten thousand things” that your mind gets distracted by. Turn off the chattering mind, and just sit there. Yeah, pretty boring. But according to Zen Buddhists, ordinary reality is the essence of enlightenment. Sitting in Zazen, we gain a clear perception of the present moment, and unhinge from the self and its complicated yearnings for the past or its plans for happiness in the future if only such and such occurs. “Real happiness comes when you are truly living this moment, no matter what it is.”

Warner admits the story of Buddha is a boring one. Nothing like the life of Jesus, with miracles and betrayal and all. Buddha was a young prince who lived the first part of his life indulging the pleasures of the body, and the next part denying them in ascetic rituals. In the end, he rejected both, sat under a tree, and was enlightened. He stopped being distracted and beheld reality as it eternally is, right in front of his nose. Yipee. Now what? I’ve heard it said that the only cure for boredom is curiousity, but look what happened to the cat. There’s that death thing again. Maybe my fear of boredom is less a fear of physical death and more a fear for the permanence of self. Dropping the illusion of self feels kind of liberating. Next time I’m stuck waiting for a train, or in line at the grocery checkout, I’ll think about it, or better still, I’ll stop thinking about it and practice a little Zazen.

  jmiedema | May 15, 2008 |
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