There is no God and he is always with you Paperback – 27 Aug 2013
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"At times in my life I've been an atheist, a Bible study teacher, a lover of quantum mechanics, and a believer that the universe is older and vaster than anything I could imagine. This book reflects the paradox of being a human interested in anything that might be divine."
-- Moby, musician and recording artist
"Insightful, refreshing, serious, humorous, and enjoyable, "There Is No God and He Is Always with You" takes a deep dive into the actual meaning of the word God and how it can be as useful for Zen Buddhists and atheists as for monotheists."
-- David Chadwick, author of "Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki"
"Brad Warner frames Buddhism with something that touches my soul on the very deepest level -- humor!"
-- Vicky Jenson, director of "Shrek" and "Shark Tale"
About the Author
Brad Warner, a Soto Zen monk and teacher, is also a punk bassist, filmmaker, and popular blogger. He is the author of "Hardcore Zen, Sit Down and Shut Up, Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate, " and "Sex, Sin, and Zen." A documentary about him is forthcoming from Pirooz Kalayeh, the director of "Shoplifting from American Apparel." Warner lives in Los Angeles.
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Top Customer Reviews
These are all important questions in a world that is swinging wildly (not in the good sense) between the spiritual -as evidenced by the fundamentalists of different religions- and the material -as evidenced by the soulless consumerism that plugs up the hole in our lives.
Brad Warner provides his answer. If you want to know what that answer is, buy his book and read it. The guy is trying to make a living here. I saw some reviews that just didn't get it: is he trying to graft God onto Buddhism? No. Buddhism has a God. Buddhism is a God. Don't know what I mean? Read the book!
The writing style is disjointed, say some. I didn't get that impression. Each chapter links to the following chapter. It's an exploration of God and so a handily arced narrative might be asking too much. I have yet to come across any major God works that followed an easy beginning-middle-end structure. Anyway, how Brad organised his book suited me just fine and I got it read within a week.
There's a lot in there and this is the sort of book that you will finish reading and then put back on your bookshelf for future ponderings. I'd recommend it to anyone who wanted to understand the truthful answers to the questions this review posed at the beginning. Read with an uncritical mind and a willingness to believe and you will come out of the experience at the end with a better understanding of what God really means.
Essentially Brad tries to put God into Buddhism (normally seen as an atheistic religion). He does this by simply redefining what most religious people mean by God. God is now effectively the living universe and therefore we are all aspects of God. If you sit meditation you will see God (by which he means see into the ultimate nature of the universe). This is all fine and dandy but it simply isn't what most people mean when they say 'God'. I know a lot of people who are Catholic and they would simply not agree with how Brad defines God - and therefore the book comes down less to whether there is God in Buddhism but more just how are you defining the terms used. It felt a bit like saying that although most people call the sweet yellow curved fruit a 'banana' we're going to use that name for the fruit more commonly called a lemon (and then writing a 188 page book about how people are wrong when they say a banana is sweet because actually it's sour)!
I felt Brad gave the game away in one of the early chapters when he talks of his early interest in Christianity and quote "life-long quest for God". I felt that this 'quest' had led to him, as a Buddhist, to shoehorn in a concept of God that simply doesn't belong there. He seemed to ignore a lot of the Buddhist teachings that run utterly counter to what he is saying, so despite publishing a translation of Nagarjuna (for example) he never addresses the Nagarjuna verses that specifically attack the idea of ishvara / God.Read more ›
The extract below puts the "God" word into context:
The thirteenth century Zen master Dogen Zenji said, "We know that we ourselves are tools that it possesses within this universe in ten directions because the body and the mind both appear in the universe yet neither is ourself." The word translated here as it is the Chinese word inmo which refers to the ineffable substratum of reality, the ground of all being and nonbeing. To me, this is just another way of saying God.
This extract was surprisingly helpful to me:
Ton said that Abe was in great distress during a Zen retreat and screamed at his teacher, "I cannot find anywhere to stand!". His teacher told him to stand right at that place where there is nowhere to stand. That's how Abe found God.
This is well grounded:
If there is any aim to zazen practice, the aim is to teach you how to be quiet enough to stop chasing after extraordinary states and simply notice who or what you are right now.
And this made me smile:
Enlightenment porn comes mainly in the form of books whose centrepieces are stories of the author's enlightenment experiences.
This book is worth reading. It is also an important book in that it manages to build bridges around the "God" word that are both challenging and refreshing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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