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Thread: Book Review.

  1. #1

    Book Review.

    Did a book review of Jundo's Dharma Brothers new book "Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate" here: http://asuradharma.blogspot.com/2009...rapped-in.html

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  2. #2

    Re: Book Review.

    Nice review. I've read both Hardcore Zen (which I liked a lot) and Sit Down and Shut Up (which I liked less). I guess I will read this one also just to complete the Brad trilogy. I didn't even know it was already out.

  3. #3

    Re: Book Review.

    I'm partly through it myself . . . will post more when I finish it and/or get to the "Gummo" section.

    Bill

  4. #4

    Re: Book Review.

    damn, i've been combing the book stores in australia and it won't be here until mid feb.

  5. #5

    Re: Book Review.

    In another life, I was around the Kent/Akron music scene and crossed paths with a few of the “characters” in Brad’s books (e.g., Iggy of the F-Models). Thus, his previous books were interesting on a somewhat personal level. I don’t think I ever saw Brad as his band was just after I left the area. In any event, thanks for the heads up on the book.

    By the way Jordan and Skinkai I love your blogs!

    Gassho,
    BrianW

  6. #6

    Re: Book Review.

    Hi.

    Read it.
    Still think his second book, sit down and shut up, was a "little better", but altogether it wasn't an bad book.
    http://www.amazon.com/Sit-Down-Shut-Up- ... 545&sr=8-2

    I was a little disappointed that he didn't bring up more on the "bad people of buddhism" and suchlike, because all the hype that bit had been given, though...

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  7. #7

    Re: Book Review.

    I love my brother Brad. He might not know that, but I do.

    I think that book is misguided. He will realize it someday.

    I will post more comments here sometime soon.

    He had some problems in life (we all do), and lost the road a little. He tries to explain that in the book, or make running off the road a virtue. I do not agree with him.

    Anyway, just thought to drop that in in case anyone is reading the book.

    Happy to talk about this if anyone wants. I think that, when life gives us bumps , we sometimes all end up in a ditch. But I do not think that staying in the ditch is the point of Zen practice.

    Anyway, time for the February Zazenkai, so I need to prepare.

    Gassho, J

  8. #8

    Re: Book Review.

    Only time will tell
    this book isn't what one might think it is
    and then again
    it's 'just a book'
    The wall you sit in front of sometimes is a wall
    sometimes it is a mirror, reflecting you perfectly.

  9. #9

    Re: Book Review.

    Quote Originally Posted by emptyzen
    I actually don't think Brad is really like that.

    Gassho
    K
    I agree. He seems like a wise enough fellow . . . he certainly understands more about the dharma than I.
    No one learns to write before they can speak rather fluently. Writing, therefore, requires that we adopt a tone or persona that is rarely in complete sync with our everyday personality. I have no problem with "bad words." I use them daily and with folks for whom calling someone a motherf*&% is taken as a true compliment ("That guitarist was a motherf*&^"). I've always excused most of Warner's rougher-edged, call-it-like-I-see-it writing because I assumed it was part of his adopted writing persona.

    I can't tell you how many times I have read that one of Brad's books has gotten someone interested in Zen. He is contributing to American Zen in a profound way.

    That being said, I think he is also in a bit of denial about his role as a teacher and role-model. By agreeing to lead Dogen Sangha, he has adopted the mantle of "big-deal teacher." I'm used to having and admiring music teachers who lead lives that are not always "helpful and healthful." I do not want "superman" teachers, but I recognize that the character of the person giving the teachings affects the way the students perceive it. So, ideally the message is what matters, not the person saying it. Ideally. But that's the problem, Buddhism is about the middle way between Idealism and Materialism: Reality. The reality is that both the message AND the character of the teacher are inseparable as far as student perspectives go. I applaud his efforts to bring students' expectations about teachers down a few notches, but there is still something to live up to as a teacher: the legacy of Nishijima Roshi, Renpo Niwa, Kodo Sawaki, etc.

    What about Ikkyu and those guys? I don't know, I don't have a good answer.

    Lest you think I'm really down on the guy, I'm not. I actually think that what he is doing may be the closest thing to confessing broken precepts to the sangha as we get in an age of blogs. My concern is that he does not appear to recognize the role he chose when agreeing to lead Dogen Sangha. Maybe I'm being way too idealistic too. Help me out if I am . . .

    Gassho,
    Bill

  10. #10

    Re: Book Review.

    ^^Nail on the head, for/to me. Thank you Bill.

    Gassho, Dirk

  11. #11

    Re: Book Review.

    I've finished the book last week. Brad's books are interesting, but sometimes I find his behavior a little annoying. He's had a difficult life in 2007 and it is educational to watch him go through it. But, I worry about his anger of himself and others. All three of his books have this anger. Sometimes, I think his pain and resulting anger pulls him away from a 'big heart' I think most, if not all, buddhists are working to obtain. I hope that sometime he can find some peace to forgive himself and others.

    On another note, I do sometimes worry, that people will read his books and determine that it is okay to be hurt and angry, and therefore belittle others, and think that is what Buddha taught? I just hope people will read other people's books to get a broader perspective of Buddhism.

    But, in the end, it is a good read.

    Lara

  12. #12

    Re: Book Review.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    Did a book review of Jundo's Dharma Brothers new book "Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate" here: http://asuradharma.blogspot.com/2009...rapped-in.html

    Gassho,
    Jordan
    With me living in South Texas or rather, me living 10 minutes from the Texas-Mexico border, the local B&N finally got the nuggets of Karma dipped Chocolate. I did a quick perusal. I won't lie. I scanned most of it and went straight to the Gummo & Zeppo chapter. :twisted:

    Found that Brad had upped the gossipy quota in with the mix of Zen / Dharma kernels. With a tight budget and seeing that I could get a similar read from his blog.....I skipped on that box of chocolates. :mrgreen:

  13. #13

    Re: Book Review.

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    Did a book review of Jundo's Dharma Brothers new book "Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate" here: http://asuradharma.blogspot.com/2009...rapped-in.html

    Gassho,
    Jordan
    With me living in South Texas or rather, me living 10 minutes from the Texas-Mexico border, the local B&N finally got the nuggets of Karma dipped Chocolate. I did a quick perusal. I won't lie. I scanned most of it and went straight to the Gummo & Zeppo chapter. :twisted:

    Found that Brad had upped the gossipy quota in with the mix of Zen / Dharma kernels. With a tight budget and seeing that I could get a similar read from his blog.....I skipped on that box of chocolates. :mrgreen:
    Hi Erik,

    Oh, now someone is going to think there is some "dirt" in there, Erik. (I am referred to in the book as the Marx Brother, "Gummo". "Zeppo" is Michael Leutchford in the UK). There is not. There is an email I dashed off to Brad about a piece he put up on the internet a few years ago about him getting a lap dance in a S&M strip club, which I said embarrassed our teacher Nishijima. I was also concerned about the effect on Nishijima of Brad's having a romantic relationship with one of his female students, which he also discusses in the book.

    If anyone wishes, they can go on amazon, search "Gummo" in the book ...

    http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Wrapped-Karma ... 8-1#reader

    Gassho, Jundo

  14. #14

    Re: Book Review.

    Hello,

    I've read Brad's "Sit Down and Shut Up" book. The beginning of the read is very interesting, and I felt connected with his explanation of how he became familiar with zen practice. However, as I kept reading, it seemed that he was using the book to promote an underlying anger that he has for others. He seemed to be mocking others frequently. Also, it seemed that he was a little too happy with himself at times. I know that he came from a punk rock background, and I can relate, but I still feel that the book is a little pretentious. I've seen him in interviews and it has a different feel than other zen teachers I've seen (Jundo for example). Maybe I'm getting the wrong impression, and I don't want to seem like I dislike the guy, but I rarely hear him talking about love for our fellow sentient beings. It's always promoting his book, or talking about his life in a punk band. The book was an interesting read (overall), and I'm glad he's getting people interested in zen, but there are other teachers out there that I believe take the focus off of "themselves," and focus more on practice and trying to live a compassionate life.

    Gassho,

    Adam

  15. #15

    Re: Book Review.

    haha...jundo is gummo... didn't know that when i read it, and now i can't remember it too well (read it right when it came out). i'll have to check it out again.

    i'm another of those who came to soto zen through "hardcore zen"...i've pre-ordered and immediately read each book of his since. brad's books are entertaining and fun.....each time i read one it also reinvigorates my preactice a bit. that said, the books have also taken on a tone that seems his audience is 16-year-old hipsters....so, i read his stuff much the way i'd consume other "pop" media...w/ a huge grain of salt...

    like w/ everything else....we can't take it too seriously

    -tim

  16. #16

    Re: Book Review.

    ugghhh..i took jundo's advice and checked out that section on amazon.... it reminded me how irritating a read that book can be.

    i found the stories and drama enthralling at times - very petty and worthless at others...but i hate the tone his writing has taken. you'd think it might mature over time, but it continues to come across like pandering or talking down to "the punks". "dude, pop culture, sarcasm, man, sex, fuck, shit, punk rawk...."

    despite appearances, punks aren't dumb.

    snarkiness is trite

    still love brad's work for where it brought me personally though

    -tim

  17. #17

    Re: Book Review.

    Here are a couple of Precepts we are currently reflecting up, and it would be good for all of us to keep them in mind (including me, cause I fall into it too) ... so, while it fine to offer an honest book review, let us tread carefully ...

    Positive, constructive civil criticism meant for a purpose is worthwhile ... but there is a fine line into personal attacks ...

    We all wrestle with these (me too)

    PRECEPTS VIII - To Refrain from Discussing Faults of Others
    viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2080

    PRECEPTS IX - To Refrain from Self-Praise & Judging Others
    viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2104

  18. #18

    Re: Book Review.

    thanks jundo. i was feeling that while writing...and that's why i chose to address brad's work and style rather than framing my criticisms (and praise) w/ regard to "the person".......but, it is treading a fine line.

  19. #19

    Re: Book Review.

    I would like to thank you too, Jundo. I think that I get a little carried away sometimes, and attempt to be objective, but fail miserably. I shouldn't worry about what others believe. I believe one thing, they another, so it's not too important if I disagree with their ideas.

    Gassho,

    Adam

  20. #20

    Re: Book Review.

    Oh, now someone is going to think there is some "dirt" in there, Erik. (I am referred to in the book as the Marx Brother, "Gummo". "Zeppo" is Michael Leutchford in the UK). There is not.
    1) The section may be interesting in that it is really about nothing at all (in the grand scheme of things) and one "adds" stuff to it. :wink:

    2) FWIW, Brad states that G and Z are not about two people in particular, but rather composites:

    Precious Metal Interview

    PM: You talk in your book about “Zeppo” and “Gummo”, two teachers you’re obviously not fond of and think in ways may be taking advantage of people. What would you tell someone who’s just coming to the dharma to look out for in a mentor/ teacher

    BRAD: Zeppo and Gummo aren’t real people. I want to point that out first. They’re composite characters based on several real people. Some of those real people are trying to take advantage of others and some are not. Most Buddhist teachers aren’t trying to take advantage of anyone.
    Sorry. Didn't mean to start a flame war. :|

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