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Product Details

  • Author: Brad Warner
  • Product Code: 86018
  • ISBN: 978-1-60868-601-8
  • Pages: 256
  • 1 Paperback / softback
  • Size: 5.50 x 8.50


The night Brad Warner learns that his childhood friend Marky has died, Warner is about to speak to a group of Zen students in Hamburg, Germany. It’s the last thing he feels like doing. What he wants to do instead is tell his friend everything he never said, to explain Zen and what he does for a living and why he spends his time “Sitting. Sitting. Sitting. Meditating my life away as it all passes by. Lighting candles and incense. Bowing to nothing.” So, as he continues his teaching tour through Europe, he writes to his friend all the things he wishes he had said. Simply and humorously, he reflects on why Zen provided him a lifeline in a difficult world. He explores grief, attachment, and the afterlife. He writes to Marky, “I’m not all that interested in Buddhism. I’m much more interested in what is true,” and then proceeds to poke and prod at that truth. The result for readers is a singular and winning meditation on Zen — and a unique tribute to both a life lost and the one Warner has found.


Praise for Letters to a Dead Friend about Zen

“Warner is unafraid of sharing his own beliefs and doubts and freely questions Buddhism itself. While loaded with pop culture references and dark humor, his explanations of Zen philosophy are steeped in tradition, well researched, and ultimately respectful of the practice. . . . Warner’s voice is much needed in American Buddhism.”
Library Journal

“Warner provides an intimate, candid reflection of his Zen practice and his career as a writer and speaker in this touching work. . . . Honest and forthright, Warner’s trademark irreverent voice is present throughout.”
Publishers Weekly

Praise for the books of Brad Warner

“Brad Warner frames Buddhism with something that touches my soul on the very deepest level — humor!”
Vicky Jenson, director of Shrek

“Fresh, edgy, and insightful.”
Stephen Batchelor, author of Buddhism Without Beliefs

“There are plenty of ‘Buddhist/Spiritual’ authors on the market who will gladly sell you a pat on the back. Brad Warner is not one of those.”
D. Randall Blythe, lead screamer, Lamb of God

“While Warner’s approach to Dogen may be unorthodox, its freshness might be exactly what the doctor ordered for anyone wanting a way in to the old monk’s still fresh perspective.”
Adam Frank, 13.7: Cosmos & Culture blog, NPR.org

“Brad Warner cuts through the bullshit and writes with simple clarity, common sense, and humor about the most misunderstood of all spiritual paths.”
John Horgan, author of Rational Mysticism