Brad Warner and Cat Stevens in Glasgow

Brad WarnerHad an enjoyable Friday night in Glasgow at a talk by Brad Warner. Brad’s the only Zen Buddhist teacher I know who’s also a punk bassist, worked on monster movies and writes occasional articles on Buddhism for a porn site.  He’s funny and self-deprecating but has a straight down the line serious attitude to Zen practice.

I was interested to hear that in Akron, Ohio where he grew up, the punk scene contained a strong element (I think he said they were called Straight Edge bands) who frowned on drink and drugs and barred any fans who’d damaged the previous venue. But these were the bands playing the most ferocious music.

The lady interviewing him started off with the reputedly unanswerable question ‘Well, what is Zen Buddhism?’.  It reminded me of the night way back in 1973 or 74 when Cat Stevens launched a European tour at Glasgow Greens Playhouse (or it may have been called the Apollo by then).  He’d decided to get closer to his fans and, for an interlude, walked to the front of the stage and asked if anyone had any questions – ‘Anything you like.’   Quick as a flash in a strong Glasgow accent came ‘What is the meaning of Zen?’  Poor Cat backed off, politely avoiding it, and that was the end of the Q&A.

One day I’ll also tell the story of the Maharishi at Easter Road, but that’s for another day.

Brad Warner’s site:


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