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Zen Wrapped In Karma Dipped In Chocolate

Author: Brad Warner
Review by Jeff Muendel on September 13, 2009 at 8:31 pm
Publisher: New World Library

Brad Warner is both a Zen master and a punk rock musician. In this book, his third to date, he walks the line between those two roles, effectively spreading the word of Buddhism to those who have an interest in rock music. But the book tells a very personal story. During a year that Warner spent giving talks and leading retreats across North America, both his mother and grandmother died, he lost his dream job, and his wife left him. In writing about how he applied the Buddha’s teachings to his own real-life suffering, Warner reveals his own shortcomings. In fact, that is a large part of the message: Zen masters aren’t perfect because none of us humans are.

In pointing out that Buddhism isn’t some esoteric and ultimate solution, Warner presents the religion/philosophy as an exceptionally practical way to deal with whatever life dishes out. He talks about meditation as a valid response to life’s troubles and gives a lot of revealing “behind the scenes” facts about what Buddhism and specifically Buddhism in America really involves.  While Warner’s tone on occasion borders on self-serving, he ultimately comes across as sincere, and his use of humor throughout the book make it very readable.


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