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Publisher's Summary

A Radical but Reverent Paraphrasing of Dogen's Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

"Even if the whole universe is nothing but a bunch of jerks doing all kinds of jerk-type things, there is still liberation in simply not being a jerk." - Eihei Dogen (1200 - 1253 CE)

The Shobogenzo (The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye) is a revered 800-year-old Zen Buddhism classic written by the Japanese monk Eihei Dogen. Despite the timeless wisdom of his teachings, many consider the book difficult to understand. In Don't Be a Jerk, Zen priest and best-selling author Brad Warner, through accessible paraphrasing and incisive commentary, applies Dogen's teachings to modern times. 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. Warner even shows that Dogen offered a "Middle Way" in the currently raging debate between science and religion. For curious listeners worried that Dogen's teachings are too philosophically opaque, Don't Be a Jerk is hilarious, understandable, and wise.

©2016 Brad Warner (P)2016 Brad Warner

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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You don't need to use bad theology

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, as someone who has been studying and practicing the dharma and zazen for over 10 years, this is a great way to get some insights into Shobogenzo. I've really enjoyed Brad's other books as well.

What other book might you compare Don't Be a Jerk to and why?

This is hard because there are not a lot of books that try to give you an understanding of a specific theological work. If you like Brad Warner I would recommend Dharma Punks by Noah Levine.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, Brad uses some really bad christian theology to try to prove a point. What I mean by that is; he uses theological ideas that are not grounded in the actual Judeo-Christian theology. But rather generic post christian reformation points you would get from an Atheist Facebook group, rather than true 1st century Judeo-Christian theology. This is the reason I'm giving this book 4 stars out of 5. I'm sure if Brad were to read a book by a Christian theologian and they were to make some of the same type of statements about Buddhist Theology to prove their point he'd feel the same way. If you're going to make comparisons make sure you fully understand both sides before you use them.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • RZ
  • 05-19-17

Brad Warner at his best

Great synopsis and "translation" of Dogens book Shobogenzo. Easy to understand in modern terms. highly recommend it to any practitioner of zen!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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First time reading Dogen and made it through!

Thanks Brad for your time and effort on this. Your modern colloquialisms kept me on my toes. Not having read Dogen before, there are a few chapters that are very tough to get through (at the end), but I figure it does the job of getting us out of our head and a little more into or heart. :)

side note: my preference for a bibliography would be a link, not audio. I skipped it.

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  • Campbell
  • Devon, United Kingdom
  • 09-29-17

Brad at his best

Brad explains the complex in a fun and engaging way. This is a great place to start getting into to Dogen.

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The truth is a pathless land.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

First, I recommend listening to the last chapter before starting the book. <br/><br/>This is a difficult audio book to review. What I learned is that Dogen was contradictory, metaphorical, and open to interpretation with great latitude. My chant too often became "Wait.....what?"

Would you recommend Don't Be a Jerk to your friends? Why or why not?

In fairness, this interpretation was probably deeper than I was prepared to dive into the tradition. Much of it was simply beyond my level of understanding. I would not use my review to determine its worthiness. I think, there is an awful lot to digest. I will likely get the print version and go back to it from time to time.

Which character – as performed by Brad Warner – was your favorite?

Dogen - he did the accent perfectly.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Actually that's not as crazy an idea as it sounds.

Any additional comments?

Authors reading their own works seldom works well. Warner's reading does, however, add to the enjoyability of the book.

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same witty Brad

I have returned to Brad's books time and time again because I understand him. down days some nutty stuff and I need a guide to slog through those crazy koans. thanks Brad.

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Terrific

This is a very instructive book at the same time it is quite entertaining. That's always a winning combination! If you like them and Dogan you're gonna love this.

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Accessible Dogen

This is the most easily accessible introduction to Dogen's writing. Brad Warner makes Zen approachable.

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  • Kev Nw1
  • 08-02-17

Excelent Book

What made the experience of listening to Don't Be a Jerk the most enjoyable?

Exploring Zen through a slightly comical view

What did you like best about this story?

Different take and expression of traditional ideas

Have you listened to any of Brad Warner’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No

Any additional comments?

I will read another of his books I enjoyed this one

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gareth Galea
  • 11-15-17

Found this obscure at times. Just keep sitting.

Read a lot of Mr. Warner's books but found this obscure at times. Just keep sitting.

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  • Gavin
  • 11-02-17

Not what I was expecting

This is an analysis of Dogen theories. I was looking for an introduction to Budism. This would be suitable for someone with an understanding of Budism already.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-22-17

heavy going but explained with humour

heavy going material that is explained well & with humour. will listen to it again a few times