I’ve already started this book, but once I get past the reading projects that were assigned to me by my head priest, I’m going to try to finish this bad boy. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Brad Warner, but he’s the punk rocker turned Zen monk who wrote the amazing book “Hardcore Zen.” I recommend “Hardcore Zen” if you’re tired of overly scholastic-sounding, overly esoteric-sounding, or wimpy books about Zen.
Back in 2010 when I initially joined the training for Taoist priesthood, I was going through a lot of loss. My father had passed away a year prior, and because my father never settled many of the financial responsibilities he had gotten himself into (that we didn’t even know about), everything – almost everything – that he achieved in terms of financial and material success was getting taken away. Even assets of my own. Even till this day I’m still feeling the aftereffects of that situation. So not only was I reeling from the loss of my beloved Dad, I was wondering whether or not I was going to have a home to live in. Not to mention that most of my relatives and close family friends had pretty much turned their backs on us.
So there I was, in the middle of this Taoist priest training with my spirit splattered all over the floor (I was intensely depressed), wondering how to deal with all of this. One day I asked a member of the Taoist priesthood (but not the head priest) “So how do I deal with this?” And the only answer that he could come up with was basically that I was too “attached” blah blah blah. Attachments, I get it. At the time I was new to the whole “attachments” concept, so his answer didn’t help at all. Not one bit. Here I thought I could get an answer from a real Taoist priest to at least jumpstart my spiritual healing, but that answer was all he can come up with? Come on man, give me something I could use. Needless to say, that moment was the starting point from which I would eventually leave the training program in 2011. I was thinking, what good is being a priest if you can’t help anyone get through a rough patch?
Well, I quit the program and I got through it on my own, no thanks to him.
Fast forward four years later, I would spiritually evolve and return to the Taoist priesthood training with one thing in mind… to become a spiritual guide and to help others get through those moments in life when they need help the most. If I had to do the extra work to translate ancient esoteric Taoist scripture into a much more pragmatic approach to life, then I would.
Which brings me to this book “Zen Wrapped In Karma Dipped In Chocolate: A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, And Spiritual Celebrity In Search Of The True Dharma,” by Brad Warner.
Damn right I judged a book by its cover.
But how could I not? Why wouldn’t I want to read about how a Zen monk was able to deal with life when his entire world was crumbling? That’s how I felt back in 2010, so hopefully (when I get around to actually reading it) it could help inspire me to get into the mindset of translating the Tao into work that people can truly use to deal with the crappy moments in life.
And from what I read so far, it’s pretty darn good. I can actually use this stuff.