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Don't Be a Jerk

And Other Practical Advice from Dogen, Japan's Greatest Zen Master
Narrated by: Brad Warner
Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)
Regular price: £23.49
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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

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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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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 3 people found this review helpful

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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 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Clint J. Latham Jr.
  • 24-03-17

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.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • RZ
  • 19-05-17

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!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Campbell
  • 29-09-17

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • 22-01-19

OMG Stop hitting the mike!!!

It was so distracting. Brad is continually hitting the mike. Drove me nuts.

The book was interesting because he puts these old zen texts into current vernacular. I nonetheless found myself vacillating between this is profound and useful and this is mental masturbation and completely pointless.

But it’s hard to argue with the principal tenet of don’t be a jerk.

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  • Lucas Iverson
  • 19-11-18

Makes Zen approachable!

Making it something a tad less mystical, this book presents a complex, yet simple concept in a way that anyone can enjoy.
thank you Brad!

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  • Jrpelle
  • 12-11-18

wished it was actually about Zen

it seemed like the book was just the author justifying his past interpretations of Dogen to haters from the past. I wished he would let the haters hate and just write the book to teach Dogen. it was frustrating because I was hoping to learn something but was distracted by the authors underlying plot to tear at criticisms.

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  • TJ
  • 04-09-18

Not what I expected.

When I think zen, I typically don't think of college course essays about it, or nitpicking zen quotes that might as well be biblical.
Every now and then, the listener is treated to a pop culture reference or cohesive slice of wisdom. In between these times are analysis after exhausting analysis, over translated words that were already open to interpretation.
I would only recommend this to people interested in a scholarly commentary on some guy named Dogen.

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  • cbellevie
  • 06-08-18

Very accessible, very fun

I'm a fan of Warner's work. He makes Buddhism accessible and places it in a modern context, keeping it fun and interesting the entire time, while not seeming to water it down or make it something it is not. This work was no exception. I'm fairly certain that his paraphrasing of Dogen was intended for someone just like me and hearing him actually read some of the more amusing parts of the book had me laughing more than a few times, very enjoyable.

The drawback to the audiobook was that it referenced a lot of other material and I don't find audiobooks as a good way to go back and follow up on things like this. One might be better served by having a paper or ebook edition available for references. I know that is what I did.

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  • B. Banzai
  • 29-01-18

Great Book!

I liked this so much I bought the actual book for future reference.
I am looking forward to reading more of Brad Warner's books in the future.

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  • Erin P. Quick-laughlin
  • 01-11-17

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.