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More Practical Advice from Dogen, Japan's Greatest Zen Master

In Japan in 1253, one of the great thinkers of his time died — and the world barely noticed. That man was the Zen monk Eihei Dogen. For centuries his main work, the Shobogenzo, languished in obscurity, locked away in remote monasteries until scholars rediscovered it in the twentieth century. What took so long? In Brad Warner’s view, Dogen was too ahead of his time to find an appreciative audience. As Warner writes, “He understood aspects of human nature that we take for granted today but that there weren’t even words for in his time.” In order to bring Dogen’s work to a bigger audience in the West, Warner began paraphrasing the Shobogenzo, recasting it in simple, everyday language. The first part of this project resulted in Don’t Be a Jerk, and now Warner presents this follow-up volume, It Came from Beyond Zen. Once again, Warner uses humor and pop-culture references to bridge the gap between past and present, making Dogen’s words clearer and more relevant than ever before.



Praise for Don't Be a Jerk, volume one of Brad Warner’s paraphrasing of the Shobogenzo:

“A delightful blend of irreverent everydayness, precise scholarship, and heartfelt commitment to practice, Don’t Be a Jerk is just the kind of book to stub your toe on.”
— Stephen Batchelor, author of After Buddhism

“Warner renders the esoteric [Shobogenzo] into a fun, readable text, conveying its spirit with humor and deep respect.”
Publishers Weekly

“What's clear in reading Warner's book is his deep respect and lifelong engagement with Dogen. I have spent decades of my own life trying to unpack this 800-year-old voice from medieval Japan because, behind all the paradox and poetry, something powerful seems to shine through. So 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 blog,

“Each chapter opens with a passage from the original, which is then carefully and often humorously unpacked. The book provides plenty of resources in case readers want to subsequently dive into the original work, and Warner clearly explains why he chose some words over others. His tone is direct and engaging, and his paraphrases bring Dogen’s thoughts to life for a modern audience. Although the tone may be irreverent and humorous, the book shows the utmost respect for the monk, who has influenced so many over the centuries.”

“You couldn’t ask for a better guide through The Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye. A most warmly recommended read!”
Nexus Magazine, Germany