November 24, 2010

Book review: Sex, Sin & Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory & Everything in Between (Brad Warner)

Brad Warner, the renegade “bad boy” of Zen Buddhism, returns with his irreverent and highly relevant views of life, this time focusing on that Most Hallowed of subjects: sex.

Covering topics as wide-ranging as pornography, prostitution, and love, Warner provides an unflinching look at sex and love through the lens of Buddhism (Zen in particular as he is a Soto Zen priest) and how sex has come to be viewed in the West (as well as his theories as to why it is viewed that way).

Written in his usual casual, humorous style, Warner provides plenty of serious teaching to reflect on throughout the book. However, don’t look for any clear-cut, hard and fast rules about sex in relation to Buddhism here; Warner points out that the Buddha himself didn’t provide many solid rules about really anything, so he doesn’t feel compelled to, either. Instead, Warner simply offers his own views based on what he has learned through both his Buddhist studies and his own life experiences.

Witty and insightful, Sex, Sin, and Zen is going on my list of Best Books I’ve Read in 2010 (soon to be published!). From New World Library and available from your local, independent bookseller. (Shop local, shop independent, and tell ‘em you saw it on Elephant Journal!)

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