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Thread: The Problems With Noah Levine

  1. #1
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    I'm not a troll.

    (1) His view of punk is inaccurate.
    (2) His association of Buddhism with 12 Step Recovery (AA/NA) is inappropriate.
    (3) While his experience with meditation and dhamma seems genuine, he is not, to me anyway, "the voice of the next generation of American Buddhism" (from the inside jacket of his book The Heart of the Revolution). Would he even be in this position if his dad wasn't already a popular Buddhist author, which gave him exclusive in-roads to folks like Kornfield? Maybe his dad should have spent less time teaching meditation and more time parenting.

    Again, I am not a troll. I'm a contemporary of Noah, an American (Theravada) Buddhist, and a long-time fan of punk. Noah is NOT MY LEADER, TEACHER or VOICE. My teachers are Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Gil Fronsdal, Ajahn Sucitto, etc.... IOW, the clearly competent.

    AnonOfIbid

  2. #2
    Administrator Aloka's Avatar
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    Hi AnonofIbid and welcome!

    Your critical first post in the group is rather a puzzling one since you haven't introduced yourself beforehand.

    I don't live in the USA and know nothing about Noah Levine personally, nor have I read the book you mention. A link would have been helpful.

    I am moving your post temporarily from the Theravada forum to General Buddhist Discussions because I'm not sure of the Theravada context at the moment.

    Kind regards,

    A-D

  3. #3
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Very interesting life, when considering his mother & father were well-known Dharma teachers



    As a youth, Levine was incarcerated several times. His first book, Dharma Punx, details teenage years filled with drugs, violence, and multiple suicide attempts—choices fuelled by disillusionment with American mainstream culture. His substance abuse started early in life—at age six he began smoking marijuana—and finally ended in a padded detoxification cell in juvenile prison 11 years later

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_Levine
    Last edited by Element; 12 Apr 11 at 07:24.

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    before i do anything else i'll introduce myself next...Levine identifies with Theravada, but Gen. Disc. fine w/me too...ps: is behaving critically okay? don't recall if the rules said anything about that or not

  5. #5
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    sure

    critical discussions, on some occassions, can be beneficial, that is, if helps us see our path more clearly

    but criticism just for the sake of it, like "wowsering", is not beneficial

    buddhism is something very opened minded, like one big democratic family, that has alot of disagreements about on individual viewpoints

    if Noah is helping others, even if he has his own version of Buddhism, as long as he is not involved in harming others, its OK

    you do sound like you are on some kind of vendetta

    if not, why are you "identifying" with Noah so strongly, if you care to share?


  6. #6
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Element
    if Noah is helping others, even if he has his own version of Buddhism, as long as he is not involved in harming others, its OK
    Well, I gave a careful read to the wikipedia link. First of all I agree completely with Element. I am looking to work with children left to live in the streets and the best results "out there" are with people of those same streets that have understood suffering and know better how to help this children. I am in the process of rapport with all this people. It seems that also they speak a complete different language. Their grammar repertoire is very short but they have a wide system of body communication with gestures, forms of greeting and accompanying rites.

    Some of the "oldest" as they call them know how to deal with them even when they are highly exposed to violence and drugs. Some of this "older" gangs are aware of the life they had and they quit violence and drugs and are eager to work to help and thy show an outstanding level of compassion and a deep knowledge of how to help in street circumstances. I can tell they have a kind of "own version of Buddhism" and I am learning from them about having intelligent compassion.

    Buddhism is not about robes and clean dojos always with everlasting smiling people around you. Street conditions are really tough and many, many people lives are tough too and we need to undestand that.

    Last edited by Esho; 12 Apr 11 at 16:04.

  7. #7
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esho
    Buddhism is not about robes and clean dojos always with everlasting smiling people around you. Street conditions are really tough and many, many people lives are tough too and we need to undestand that.

    A very good point. Thanks for telling us about those experiences Esho.

  8. #8
    Forums Member fojiao2's Avatar
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    I think it takes a bit of weighing both sides of this or many similar issues, because, on the one hand, it isn't really necessary to keep repackaging the Buddha's teaching to fit every new trend that comes along, or to try and only extract those elements from it that fit the current needs that people have for immediate satisfaction.
    On the other hand, the dhamma itself has no single shape or color. And if we imagine some sense of original purity to the teachings, picturing The Buddha sitting in a crowd giving a talk, then that is still just our own twist on things.

    But it's like what happens when you put a chopped onion or garlic into the same refrigerator as a container of milk. If the onion isn't sealed, the milk will take on the flavor of the onion or garlic. Of course, the milk is still good to drink, but it might give your tea a strange taste. Similarly, I think the Dhamma or Dharma can take on an infinite number of flavors - as many flavors as their are sentient beings - and still maintain its original purity, even though some may not find the taste very agreeable.

    The problems arise, or seem to have arisen, when self-proclaimed enlightened teachers come on to the scene, and do not carry on any tradition or lineage. I don't know if it really counts for much or not, if a tradition can trace an unbroken line all the way back to Sakyamuni, but at least if there are a few centuries where it is thought that enlightenment has been passed down, then I think that is good. This is an unfortunate aspect of Christianity, at least in America, where anybody can suddenly "feel the call of God" and set up a church and take people on all sorts of weird trips (and usually take their money as well). Noah's website very much reminds me of the "Punk" and heavy metal Christian rock band websites. But of course, this is only an outward form. Punks and monks have both shaved their heads.

    This discussion really touches upon a number of topics that have been brought up here lately.

  9. #9
    Administrator Aloka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnonOfIbid View Post
    before i do anything else i'll introduce myself next...Levine identifies with Theravada, but Gen. Disc. fine w/me too...ps: is behaving critically okay? don't recall if the rules said anything about that or not
    Hi AnonOfIbid,

    I tend to agree with what Element said in #5, and I'm wondering if perhaps you could share the reasons for your objections to Noah Levine in more detail ? Examples (with reference to sources) of what exactly you consider to be 'inaccurate' and 'inappropriate' would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

  10. #10
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    All: Wow. Thanks You're all so nice and civil. I appreciate that. I will respond to everything asap.
    with metta, karuna & mudita

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