Brad Warner's
Hardcore Zen Strikes Again Book Review
By: Tyler Vile
Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen Strikes Again is a collection of essays, blogs, and outtakes from around the time of his first book, Hardcore Zen. Each article in the book is sandwiched between an intro and an afterword, which makes for an interesting conversation between younger Brad, older Brad, and the reader. The first two essays, “Zen is Punk, Punk is Zen” and “Zen is Not Punk,” chronicle Brad’s reconciliation of his days in the Cleveland, Ohio hardcore scene with his then-current feelings on Zen practice. We see a fiery, foul-mouthed Brad who doesn’t come around very often anymore. I can’t read the phrase “Right here. Right now, motherfuckers!” without laughing and thinking of the MC5 song “Kick Out The Jams.” Brad tends to bark less and subtly sharpen his bite over time. In the afterword to “Hopelessly Naïve,” he acknowledges sounding “harsh and unforgiving,” but assures the reader he didn’t mean to come across that way. His most straightforward pieces are the two on reincarnation, “Past Life Regression?” and “Reincarnation and All That,” which basically tell the reader not to get caught up in that stuff, and “Zen and the Art of Writing,” which is a concise outline to the collision of instinct and intellect that is creative writing. If you’re a Brad Warner fan like me, put some money in the guy’s pocket and get this either as an ebook or physical copy. If you don’t know who he is, read his blog, maybe get a book of his, and then give this a try. It does jump around a lot, but it’s like someone giving you a tour of their hometown and handing you the map. Half the fun is getting there.