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a book worth reading?

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Warner, B. (2009). Zen wrapped in karma dipped in chocolate: a trip through death, sex, divorce, and spiritual celebrity in search of the true dharma. New World Library. US$14.95, CAN$19.50 (paper). source: Shambala Sun, May 2009.

zen wrappedWhile living in Japan in the nineties, Brad Warner was ordained a Buddhist monk. In 2004, he returned to the U.S., began teaching Buddhism in his homeland, and earned a name for himself as the author of Hardcore Zen and Sit down & shut up. To Warner’s dismay, he became what he’d always despised—a religious authority figure and spiritual celebrity. “People began expecting me—of all people—to be the thing they envisioned a Buddhist master ought to be,” writes Warner.

“But let me clue you in on a little secret, friends and neighbors, not only am I not that thing. No one is.” In [this book] Warner unpacks his failed marriage and the deaths of his mother and grandmother and in the process reveals that the shit can hit the fan for anyone, even so-called spiritual supermen. That said, he tells us, even when the worst does go down, the philosophy and practice of Buddhism can provide rational, realistic ways to cope.


2 responses »

  1. I have mixed feelings about Warner. When it first came out I bought my daughter “Hardcore Zen”. Over at Marcus’ Journal he wrote a bit about the Karma dipped in chocolate book. He didn’t make it sound too inviting to me. It reminded me of the feelings I had when I read hard core zen . Anyway the book generated a lot of discussion over at Marcus’ place. You might be interested to check it out.

    • mixed feeelings are always interesting–just what one might expect from a monk who refers to himself (albeit in a round-about manner) as a master and spiritual superman. what intrigues me, without knowing anything about the man or his books, is “our” tendency to put spiritual teachers on pedestals and to find, as has been the case with several American masters (who headed zen centres or monasteries), that they drank to excess and abused their power by spending lavishly and having sex with their students.


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