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Don't Be a Jerk: Despite the timeless wisdom of his teachings, many consider the book difficult to understand and daunting to read. While entertaining and sometimes irreverent, Warner is also an astute scholar who sees in Dogen very modern psychological concepts, as well as insights on such topics as feminism and reincarnation. Paperbackpages.
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Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Nonfiction To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Don't Be a Jerkplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Aug 12, Trish rated it it was amazing Shelves: Those of us who have looked at the precepts of religions from around the world are often intrigued at how similar they can be across religions.
There is something ultimately freeing in realizing that the roots of goodness, happiness, and wealth are not based, as is imagined by some unenlightened and unlucky sods, in what we can accumulate but in what we can utilize.
Some things about Buddhism are so attractive in their attention to simplicity that one cannot help but be drawn to understanding a l Those of us who have looked at the precepts of religions from around the world are often intrigued at how similar they can be across religions.
Some things about Buddhism are so attractive in their attention to simplicity that one Master the chap s monster jerk help but be drawn to understanding a little more.
Master the chap s monster jerk does a wonderful job of sharing his realizations with us, in several steps. Warner does not translate the work, but speaks in language common to modern Americans about how he comes to understand the work. In each chapter he gives us a sense of what the chapter header means, then paraphrases generally those pieces of the work that will aid our understanding of the precepts.
Finally he gives us once again a few lines in colloquial English which aid absorption of the notions into our daily life. I skimmed this work, and feel richer for it. Depending on the lens one uses to look at something, the object will have a different appearance. Westerners generally are confined to two lenses: There is No Self. All the things in the house are what we believe, what we've learned and kept. Warner tells us this tradition is like that of osojia once-a-year house cleaning during which everything is taken out of the house, cleaned, and considered.
If it is not necessary, it does not go back into the house. The notion is terrifying, but if you allow yourself to contemplate it, completely freeing. If you let somebody in by mistake then, after consideration, kick them out.
The state of enlightenment is immense and includes everything… When jerk-type actions are not done by someone, jerk-type actions do not exist. This state has always belonged to us.
Cause and effect make us act. By not being a jerk now, you create the cause of not being a jerk in the future. Doing the right thing is beyond existence and nonexistence, beyond form and emptiness. The actual doing of the right thing is the universe itself.
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All individual examples of doing the right thing are like this. When we are actually doing the right thing, the entire universe is involved in doing the right thing. The cause and effect of this right thing is the universe as the realization of doing the right thing.
You just have to go with him on that one. Feb 24, Jonna Higgins-Freese rated it it was amazing. Like all of Warner's other work, this is wonderful.
Direct, straightforward, funny, no-nonsense. While it's certainly clear enough to be used as an introduction to Zen after all, beginner's mind is an important concept; sitting down for the millionth time is essentially the same experience as sitting down for the firstit's particularly useful for those who've been practicing for a while.
In my experience, there are lots of guides to beginning meditation, but guides for those who've been doin Like all of Warner's other work, this is wonderful. In my experience, there are lots of guides to beginning meditation, but guides for those who've been doing it for a while quickly become so esoteric and divorced from the practice as to be less than useful. May 21, David Guy rated it it was amazing. Brad Warner is that rare Master the chap s monster jerk, a Buddhist teacher who primarily teaches by writing.
In fact—though he leads retreats and gives lectures, does podcasts and has even appeared in a movie or two—I would call him a writer first and a teacher second.
Brad admits to the same thing in his earliest reading. But his teacher, Gudo Nishijima, was translating that massive work at the time, with the help of another student, Chodo Cross, and Nishijima was reading from his translations at their weekly sittings.
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Brad in the meantime had a long commute to work, an hour each way, and was pouring over Dogen as he did that. Perhaps long subway rides are a key to understanding this text; another famous Zen teacher had an enlightenment experience while reading it on the subway. He has actually been through the entire Shobogenzo three times.
He shortens things—often drastically—when he finds that appropriate, occasionally combines two talks into one. I feel empowered to go back and try the more literal translations again.
His commentary is especially helpful. Brad has already alienated the old fogie crowd by writing titles like Sex, Sin, and Zen and Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate, and by admitting in the latter book that he had recently broken a number of precepts.
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He started out as a punk rocker and a punk in general, made his living for years with a company that made Japanese monster movies. He wrote about those pastimes in his first book, Hardcore Zen, and continues to write about them when he feels like it.
He also wrote a column for some months for the online porn magazine Suicide Girls—those columns, accessible from his website, include some of his best writing—and one gets the impression that his following is heavily tattooed, body pierced, and spends more time perusing Suicide Girls than reading Dogen. Nishijima was suspect to the establishment too. He became a priest later in life, and even while he was teaching those weekly Zen classes Master the chap s monster jerk had a day job.
He had begun reading Dogen himself when he was a young man and discovered this book which, though it was written in his native language, seemed utterly incomprehensible. While working a day job in Japan, he found time to lead a weekly Zen group and also to translate Master the chap s monster jerk while other Japanese priests were playing Go and following baseball in their spare time.
In addition to Brad, he has a number of other students who are dedicated to him and to the teachings he espoused. He was a fierce advocate of daily zazen, once a day if not twice, and practiced it all his life. He was a Zen teacher who devoted himself to lay people, not just those who entered a monastery and made a career out of it. I am a certified Old Fart, have zero interest in punk rock and monster movies, but everything Brad says about Zen seems right on the money to me.
His teachings have been a great help in my life, his writing has gotten deeper and more mature as he has gotten older, and he has the same dedication to his vocation that Nishijima had.
This book is the real thing. In the meantime, go out and buy it.
View Master the chap s monster jerk 4 comments. Nov 10, Gabrielle rated it it was amazing Shelves: So when I saw that my favorite Zen writer Brad Warner had published a Master the chap s monster jerk to make the Shobogenzo more accessible, I knew this was a necessary addition to my library. After a few years of studying and practicing Buddhism, I often feel like the whole philosophy can be boiled down to a very simple sentence: Whatever situation you are in, watch how you behave and react, and try really, really hard not to be a jerk.
And sit zazen, obviously. He brings the teachings of Dogen into both historical and translation context, paraphrases them to make them easier to absorb, and comments on them with various anecdotes and pop culture references that will make you laugh, cringe and think.
Because for all his bad dad-jokes and potty mouth, Warner knows his stuff. I love that he takes time to discuss the history of the Shobogenzo, to put the reader into the context in which the chapters were written, and what kind of audience they were targeting.
As he points out, most people interested in Zen today are fairly educated and tend to be older, as where the monks Dogen taught were in their late teens, from peasant families and had very little formal education.
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The fact that Warner also often lists multiple possible translations for certain ideas and phrases is also fascinating and Master the chap s monster jerk really help the reader grasp the concepts more easily by giving the opportunity to examine multiple linguistic interpretations. It's more serious and scholarly, but his voice and style are very clear and strong.
Highly recommended to anyone interested in the work of Dogen and not quite ready to get into the big book. I will certainly be re-reading this one, as well as Warner's second tome on the Shobogenzo.
Mar 23, Stewart Tame rated it really liked it. I'll admit that I'm a fan of Warner's work. I discovered him via his first book, Hardcore Zen, many years ago, and have been hooked ever since. For as long as I can remember, I've had a layman's interest in Zen.
Some years it's stronger than Master the chap s monster jerk, and I've never actually tried meditation or anything, but it's a philosophy I keep circling around. Brad Warner writes some of the best books on Zen around. He has a straightforward, no bullshit approach that I find refreshing and endlessly readable.
This book is, honestly, probably my least favorite of the five of his that I've read, which means it's still pretty darn good. What he's doing here is translating, paraphrasing, and condensing Dogen's Shobogenzo, an year old Zen classic. This is actually the first of two projected volumes, which, considering the original usually runs to four, is pretty good.
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I love that he takes time to discuss the history of the Shobogenzo, to put the reader into the context in which the chapters were written, and what kind of audience they were targeting. His commentary is especially helpful. When we are actually doing the right thing, the entire universe is involved in doing the right thing.
Each chapter starts out with Warner talking a bit about the piece he is about to paraphrase. Warner's approach to the material makes it about as comprehensible as possible but I see myself returning to this book again and again in the future.
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