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Thread: Noah Levine

  1. #1

    Noah Levine

    Hello everyone,

    I am currently reading Dharma Punx by Noah Levine. I'm about half through the book. I am liking it better than other "similar" books, but I'm not sure if his other book is worth reading. Dharma Punx is enjoyable because it talks about how someone came to Buddhism, but his other book is more about practice (from what I've heard). Has anyone read it, or can give me more info on if it's worth picking up?

    Gassho,

    Adam

  2. #2

    Re: Noah Levine

    Oh, I should also add that I'm not reading this book or any of his other books for any sort of recommendations for my practice. It just seemed interesting.

    Thanks again.

  3. #3

    Re: Noah Levine

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam
    Dharma Punx is enjoyable because it talks about how someone came to Buddhism, but his other book is more about practice (from what I've heard). Has anyone read it, or can give me more info on if it's worth picking up?
    His book Against the Stream is more on practice and his thoughts on certain aspects of Buddhism.

    From Publishers Weekly
    Levine's first book, Dharma Punx, was the autobiography of a young hell-raiser. Having escaped juvenile hall and drug addiction through the slow discipline of Buddhist practices, the son of Buddhist author Stephen Levine is now a spiritual teacher. In this book he presents what he has learned about and through Buddhism. The compelling personal narrative may be gone, but the disarming, frank tone that made the first book persuasive remains.
    It did give me a better idea where he stands or what thinks of certain aspects of Buddhism. Is short (192 pgs) and to the point. If you want to follow up on his approach it is worth buying.

  4. #4

    Re: Noah Levine

    HI!
    Ok, here is a subject that I have been at odds with for about a year now. I did not read Dharma Punx, I plan to at some point when I simply don't have anything else on hand that I have not read or when Dan Brown stops writing novels Just kidding...ok...
    I read Against The Stream after reading his short bio, I figured after I read his short bio there was no need in reading his longer version of the story. The concept of how he came to Buddhism was less important to me. I was curious more about his actual practice since I come from a similar sort of background. I have been involved in the punk/hardcore/metal "counter culture" scene for more than half my life. I found Against the Stream to be very to the point, as was said above. However, it was so blunt in it's nature that I found it to feel more like Militant Propaganda than teachings about practice. It honestly scared me at times. After reading his book I was very very bothered by him but also very very intrigued by what makes him tick, not concerned about what makes him tick enough to read about his childhood and drugged out years mind you. I ended up buying his documentary about 6-8 months later after listening to his many pod casts. If you want to know what I LOVE about Noah Levine then listen to the Against The Stream pod casts made available from iTunes or his web site, if you want to see what is disturbing about him, please watch the documentary and bask in his the glory of his all mighty ego.

    But I say read Against The Stream, if I had brought my copy with me I would be more than happy to mail it to you myself. It is well written and interesting, I was just at a point in my practice where discovering the Militant side of Buddhism kinda knocked me back on my heels for a minute. But what I recommend most is to listen to his talks that he gives at his center that are made available on iTunes. There are many that have blown me away by how insightful and meaningful they have been...


    Gassho,
    Rob

  5. #5

    Re: Noah Levine

    Hi.

    I agre with the those who have already spoken about the book.
    Against the stream is to the point and a little blunt.
    But i also found it had it's jewles.
    If you liked the writing in the first, i would buy it, otherwise, borrow it and at least read it through once...
    And i also recommend his talks.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  6. #6

    Re: Noah Levine

    As an aside, I have found it fascinating that for all the Punk, Tattoos, "Rebel, Rebel your face is a mess" attitude, Noah et al turn into very strict Buddhists. :wink: :shock:

  7. #7

    Re: Noah Levine

    Adding my ditto to the every ones comments. On of my first "buddhism book" that I read. I passed it along to a friend of mine some time ago. I remember then the back pages describing levels of commitment to practice...sort of made a it seem that more was better... while its good to practice... doing a sesshin (think he says X long retreat) is better... not eating meat and becoming celibate even better still... (of course read the book...im pulling this from foggy memory aka my butt) what struck me about that is while yes some of this is good practice...its not better practice per se... easy to misinterpret.

    Gassho
    Shoheis

  8. #8

    Re: Noah Levine

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    As an aside, I have found it fascinating that for all the Punk, Tattoos, "Rebel, Rebel your face is a mess" attitude, Noah et al turn into very strict Buddhists. :wink: :shock:
    I find your statement very interesting. Maybe this is similar to my experiences of "Born-Again Christians" seem to be the most evangelical and militant or ex-smokers seem to be the most flamboyant "Smoking Nazis."

    I love the association of David Bowie lyrics with "...all the Punk, Tattoos..." This made me smile.

    Gassho,

    Rob

  9. #9

    Re: Noah Levine

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Heathen
    I find your statement very interesting. Maybe this is similar to my experiences of "Born-Again Christians" seem to be the most evangelical and militant or ex-smokers seem to be the most flamboyant "Smoking Nazis."
    Maybe I should qualify my statement. There are three angles here that I find interesting.

    One angle is how Punk music made a big impact in our culture specially our generation (I'm 40) and how they have carried some of the culture with them throughout this time.

    The second angle related to the almost prodigal son story found in two folks that almost have similar parallels lives, but different faiths:



    Of course Noah Levine and......



    Jay Bakker.

    Yes. Jay Bakker the son of Jim and Tammy Fay Bakker, famous Christian Evangelists.

    Noah was born into a Buddhist household so actually came back to his Theravada roots.

    The third angle is how folks view them at the initial rebel looks, but really, at least for Noah, have a "traditional" line about their faith.


    I love the association of David Bowie lyrics with "...all the Punk, Tattoos..." This made me smile.
    :mrgreen: Good to see you caught my Bowie reference. :wink:

  10. #10

    Re: Noah Levine

    Thanks to everyone that has replied to this post. I really wanted to read and digest this book before responding to this thread. The book was okay, but I feel that it was written more as an entertaining story, rather than an explanation of how he found Buddhism. Now, I'm sure that everything that was written was the truth, but it still felt more like I was reading Trainspotting, rather than Dharma Punx. In addition, it feels like he writes from a real angry place. Even towards the end of the book, he is still representing himself in a positive light and painting other characters as having numerous shortcomings. I don't think I'll pick up the other book, but it was still interesting to see how he came to Buddhism. Thanks for the responses, again.

    Adam

  11. #11

    Re: Noah Levine

    just my 2 cents:

    i hear what you're saying about "dharma punx". i identified with it to some degree, mainly because noah was into a lot of the same stuff as me (harcore/punk, straight edge, etc - and buddhism, of course)...but i found myself somewhat irritated by the general approach. anyway, i actually found myself enjoying "against the stream" much more. i think it's worth checking out if you can get it used fairly cheap... although it is vipassana...and we stricly practice soto zen here 8)

    if you want that style of 21st-century-bad-boy-american dharma, i reccomend reading brad warner's books (if you haven't read them all already). i get irritated with his somewhat overly "hey dude..." style at times too, but i've read all his books and enjoyed each one for the most part. he's got a new one due out really soon too:
    http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Sin-Zen-Explo ... CKM11G21BB

    speaking of western buddhism, if you haven't read any stephen batchelor i highly reccomend his books... they go down like water. i've only read these 3, but loved each one:
    http://www.amazon.com/Confession-Buddhi ... 522&sr=1-1
    http://www.amazon.com/Buddhism-Without- ... 522&sr=1-3
    http://www.amazon.com/Living-Devil-Step ... 522&sr=1-4

  12. #12

    Re: Noah Levine

    Quote Originally Posted by mahakalaugh
    just my 2 cents:

    i hear what you're saying about "dharma punx". i identified with it to some degree, mainly because noah was into a lot of the same stuff as me (harcore/punk, straight edge, etc - and buddhism, of course)...but i found myself somewhat irritated by the general approach. anyway, i actually found myself enjoying "against the stream" much more. i think it's worth checking out if you can get it used fairly cheap... although it is vipassana...and we stricly practice soto zen here 8)

    if you want that style of 21st-century-bad-boy-american dharma, i reccomend reading brad warner's books (if you haven't read them all already). i get irritated with his somewhat overly "hey dude..." style at times too, but i've read all his books and enjoyed each one for the most part. he's got a new one due out really soon too:
    http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Sin-Zen-Explo ... CKM11G21BB

    speaking of western buddhism, if you haven't read any stephen batchelor i highly reccomend his books... they go down like water. i've only read these 3, but loved each one:
    http://www.amazon.com/Confession-Buddhi ... 522&sr=1-1
    http://www.amazon.com/Buddhism-Without- ... 522&sr=1-3
    http://www.amazon.com/Living-Devil-Step ... 522&sr=1-4
    Thanks for the reply.

    I connected with his history too, but I still felt like he was discarding one uniform for another in this book. He went from hardcore punk to hardcore punk with mala beads. Nothing seemed to change in regards to his perceptions about others or himself. I will attempt to get his new book from the local library, but I don't think I will buy them. I've read Brad's first book and I felt similar after reading that I feel with Dharma Punx. It's seems more of a uniform that's being adopted with both authors. I'm not saying anything against who they are as people. Just the clues I'm getting from the writing styles. I haven't tried any Stephen Batchelor, yet, so I'll have to check those out.

    Gassho,

    Adam

  13. #13

    Re: Noah Levine

    Hey Adam, Tim,

    I hear ya on the uniform/labels area. I have actually been dealing with this subject a lot lately. What you said is exactly how I feel about both Brad and Noah. I actually have a tremendous amount of respect for both of them, but I can't get past the PUNK RAWK thing feeling like nothing more than a label attached in order to sell more books. I have actually been planning on writing a very large (large in my repertoire is 1 to 2 pages :roll: ) piece about labels and how I can't seem to get away from them in my life. Punk/Hardcore/Soldier/Atheist/Drunk/Mahayana/Theravada/Soto/Rinzai...the list seems to go on and on every day. I can't blame them for sticking with a label that was self imposed (Mr. Warner has addressed this concept a few times I think actually...) it not only sells books but gives them their own little special niche in Western Buddhist Culture that was going to have to be filled by someone eventually....anyway. I am rambling again, I will make a post around here soon for further discussion, unless anyone sees fit to beat me to it. Take care.

    Gassho,

    Rob

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