Guest, Brad Warner
Brad Warner is an ordained Zen teacher and author of the books There Is No God And He Is Always With You (2013), Sex Sin and Zen (2010), Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate (2009), Sit Down and Shut Up (2007) and Hardcore Zen (2004). He’s also a writer for the Suicide Girls website, bass player for the hardcore punk rock group 0DFx (aka Zero Defex), star of the movies “Shoplifting From American Apparel” and “Zombie Bounty Hunter M.D.,” director of the film “Cleveland’s Screaming!” and former vice president of the US branch of the company founded by the man who created Godzilla.
Born in Hamilton, Ohio in 1964, in 1972, Brad’s family relocated to Nairobi, Kenya. When he returned three years later, nothing about rural Ohio seemed quite the same anymore. In 1982, Brad joined 0DFx, famous for an eighteen-second burst of noise titled “Drop the A-Bomb On Me.” 0DFx recently reunited and has a new CD out.
While still playing hardcore punk, Brad became involved in Zen Buddhism. The realistic, no BS philosophy reminded him of the attitude the punks took towards music. He made it to Japan in 1993 where he began studying the philosophy with an iconoclastic rebel Zen Master named Gudo Nishijima. After a few years, Nishijima decided to make Brad his successor as a teacher of Zen.
WRITING CAREER: Nishijima prevailed upon him to write a book about Buddhism. But Brad knew he couldn’t write anything like the Buddhist books he’d seen. So he published his abrasive, in your face writings about the Dharma as a website. When the website became tremendously popular, he began to think again about putting out a book. So he collated his writing, sent them off, and soon he had a book out. That book sold so fast his publishers could hardly keep up with demand. A second, third and fourth book followed. In the meantime he accepted an offer from the alt.porn website Suicide Girls to write a regular column. He has also published work in the Buddhist magazines Shambhala Sun, Buddhadharma, and Tricycle as well as rock magazines such as Alternative Press, Maximum Rocknroll and Razorcake.
PUBLIC SPEAKING: Since 2004 Brad has spoken in a variety of settings from Zen centers to public libraries, from vocational high schools to university auditoriums. Though Brad’s talks always focus on the Buddhist dharma, the actual topics covered can range from the words of the ancient masters to the finer points of slam dancing, from insights to be found in the depths of marathon meditation sessions to whether Godzilla could beat up Yog the Space Monster. Lively and full of self-effacing humor, Brad prefers to respond to an audience rather than lecture them. The talks themselves tend to be more like brief introductions to free-wheeling and stimulating Q&A sessions. A large sampling of these can be seen on YouTube.