Brad Warner was born in Hamilton, Ohio, in 1964. His family traveled for his father's job and Warner spent some time in Nairobi, Kenya, but grew up mainly near Akron, Ohio, and attended Kent State University. As a teenager Warner got into the music of the 1980s and hardcore punk, and a friend of his took him to a show by Zero Defex. He auditioned for and joined the band after finding out they needed a bass guitarist. He began practicing Zen Buddhism under his first teacher, Tim McCarthy. Warner later studied with Gyomay Kubose.
He has played with Dimentia 13. After the financial failure of his Dimentia 13 albums, Warner got a job in Japan with the JET Programme, and then later in 1994 with Tsuburaya Productions, the company behind Ultraman. Warner played the roles of various foreigners in their programs. While in Japan, he met and trained with Gudo Wafu Nishijima, a student of Rempo Niwa Zenji, who ordained him as a priest and named him as his dharma heir in 2000.
In 2008 Warner lost his job with the Japanese company he had been working for in the States and as of January 2009 he was self-employed.