The night Brad Warner learns that his childhood friend Marky has died, Warner is about to speak to a group of Zen students in Hamburg, Germany. It's the last thing he feels like doing. What he wants to do instead is tell his friend everything he never said, to explain Zen "to those who don't understand what I do for a living or why I care about this crazy philosophy and this weird meditation practice I do everyday." So, as he continues his teaching tour through Europe, he writes to his friend as he wishes he had spoken. Simply and humorously, he reflects on why Zen provided him a lifeline in a difficult world. He explores grief, attachment, and the afterlife. He tells Marky, "I'm not interested in Buddhism, I'm interested in what is true," and then proceeds to poke and prod at that truth. The result for readers is a singular and winning meditation on Zen, a unique tribute to both a life lost and to the one Warner has found.
Praise for Brad Warner's Don't Be a Jerk
"A delightful blend of irreverent everydayness, precise scholarship, and heartfelt commitment to practice."
-- Stephen Batchelor, author of After Buddhism
"Warner renders the esoteric [Shobogenzo] into a fun, readable text, conveying its spirit with humor and deep respect."
-- Publishers Weekly
"What's clear in reading Warner's book is his deep respect and lifelong engagement with Dogen. . . .While Warner's approach to Dogen may be unorthodox, its freshness might be exactly what the doctor ordered for anyone wanting a way in to the old monk's still fresh perspective."
-- Adam Frank, 13.7: Cosmos & Culture blog, NPR.org
"Each chapter opens with a passage from the original, which is then carefully and often humorously unpacked. . . . Although the tone may be irreverent and humorous, the book shows the utmost respect for the monk, who has influenced so many over the centuries."