I just finished reading Brad Warner’s latest, Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate.
It was the first book I read on my new Kindle and both the book and the reading experience were great.
Brad Warner is a Zen master with a dopey job making monster movies, a circus-y family life, and a past life as a punk rocker. (He is definitely not your typical Zen master–whatever image that brings to mind.)
What inspired me was here was someone who clearly faces real world dilemmas every day; a guy who gets frustrated, aggravated, angry and annoyed, BUT at the same time, in the midst of the whole circus, can see it. He can see that it is a circus. He says at one point:
“You can’t function in society if you don’t involve yourself in the fictions society accepts about time. But you do so with the understanding that you’re playing a game.”
And how is he able to do that? Involve himself in the time games society plays without being totally played by them??
By having a practice he is committed to. His is a long practice of daily zazen, but as I was reading I thought that it could be anything: yoga, tiddlywinks, exercise. Anything you are ritualistically committed to. Ritual commitments ground a person. They ground, they do not make you “perfect.”
This is what I aspire to, and I know the recipe: daily, unwavering and committed practice. Like my fave yoga sutra says:
“That practice is firmly grounded when it is practiced incessantly,reverence, for a long time.” I.14
That’s not only how Brad Warner can simultaneously live and witness his life, but how he can manage to write books about it. He clearly must also have a writing practice in addition to his zazen practice.
This is a very cool book.
It inspired me today.