We are pleased to announce that Zen teacher and author Brad Warner will be at Black Cat tattoos on June 21st. The author of Hardcore Zen, Sit Down and Shut Up!, Zen Wrapped in Karma, dipped in chocolate, and Sex, sin, and Zen will be on hand to sign books and to promote his latest work “There is no God and he is always with you“. There will be a brief Q&A session and Brad will have books on hand as well. The event begins at 7pm and is free to the public. Donations are accepted but not expected and will go to help Brad offset the cost of his (self-financed0 book tour of the Northeast/Midwest.
On a personal level this is a great honor for me. Brad has mentioned in the past that when people tell him “your book changed my life” that he feels it’s too much credit to the book and not enough to the person whose life it is. I understand this and agree, but i have a hard time seeing how my life would have been what it is now (namely, awesome) if i hadn’t stumbled across Hardcore Zen at a particularly low point in my life. I was searching for something, something that wouldn’t be sated by numbing my brain with drugs or booze, something I wouldn’t have stuck with is it tried to force some superstition down my throat, and something that I wouldn’t have trusted if it came from some supposedly beatific guru in book promising rippling ponds, pretty lotus and the spiritual equivalent of elevator music. Basically i needed someone (or something) to hit me upside the head with the truth, presented straightforwardly and without a hint of the kind of bullshit that my well honed cynics radar can pick out 100 miles away. When I read Hardcore Zen I immediately resonated with Brads approach, he told it the way he saw it and invited the reader to try it for themselves and either confirm it via their own experience or reject it. He didn’t care either way, and i appreciated that! In my own life I have found that folks who really, REALLY want you to believe what they do always come off like they don’t really believe what they are selling, as if the only way they can have any confidence in whatever snake-oil they are peddling is if everyone else repeats back the party line. Zen, and soto-zen in particular is the complete opposite of that, in it one is constantly admonished to think for oneself, to ask hard questions, to explore doubt thoroughly and to, in the end, reject that which doesn’t resonate with the truth, even if it means rejecting Buddhism itself!
In Hardcore zen, for the first time, I found a method to look at my own life thoroughly, more thoroughly than i even expected to! I was looking for something to give me peace of mind without being “too hard”, but of course I eventually found Zen changing everything, even the things I thought I didn’t want changed! I came into zen with some very firm ideas about the world and myself only to find 10 years later that everything has changed! They say “everyone gets into zen for the wrong reasons” and boy are they right! The funny thing is that even with that, if you do it long enough it tends to straighten out the things that are crooked, even the ones you didn’t know were a problem! Its like going into a Chinese restaurant and being served French cuisine. . . .and then finding out that French food was exactly what you needed to eat!
Anyway, the honor is all mine to be able to help Brad, even a little bit, to promote his new book. Whether he wants the credit or not, reading hardcore Zen those many years ago was exactly what needed to happen in my life, perhaps I would have gotten here anyway, but I truly appreciate the path that book helped me to use in getting to where I am today.
If you live anywhere near Pittsburgh you should definitely come!