I’m a big fan of Brad Warner. Getting to interview him back in 2011 was a real nerve wracking experience for me! The thing I’m learning with Zen Buddhism is that every person that explores it has to find someone that can explain things in a way that they can understand, and for me, Brad Warner is one of those people. Perhaps it’s because Warner drifts around the edges of my interests. Obviously I have an interest in Zen Buddhism and he is a Zen priest and author of books on the subject of Zen Buddhism. I am a huge music fan and Warner is involved in, or was involved in, the underground punk music scene. I’m a big geek about assorted things; he’s a big geek about Japanese giant monster movies. Warner actually lived in Japan and worked for Tsuburaya Productions. Eiji Tsuburaya, who founded the company, directed the special effects on all the classic Godzilla movies. Also, he swears a lot, which of course I do too.
Warner’s latest book, “Hardcore Zen Strikes Again!” revisits the early years of his website, the contents of which formed the basis of “Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, and the Truth About Reality”. “Strikes Again” even features a complete chapter that didn’t make it into “Hardcore Zen” called “The Whole Vegetarian Thing”, which was pretty fascinating. So I, like Warner, am confused as to why Wisdom Publications didn’t include it. Oh well, we get it now! Each essay gets an introduction and an afterword so that you’re given some perspective and additional context as to what Warner was thinking, or what was occurring, when the original website post was written. Considering there is sometimes as big as an eight year gap it’s refreshing to see how much or how little Warner’s views have changed with time.
Obviously “Hardcore Zen Strikes Again!” is wonderful for fans like myself, amused by fun facts (Did you know that originally Warner wanted to call “Hardcore Zen” “Sit Down and Shut Up”?) as much as new writing. That said, there is still something there for those looking for an enjoyable Zen read or an introduction to Brad Warner’s work.