Welcome to Mondo Samu - Questions and Answers about my self-work.

Mondō: "questions and answers"; a recorded collection of dialogues between a pupil and teacher.
Samu: Work service; meditation in work.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Dharma Punx by Noah Levine

A big part of the Buddhist practice is experience.  This could also be put as "Question Authority".  If you're a Buddhist to whom a big part of the appeal of Buddhism is this very aspect, then there's a good chance you like Punk Rock, or at least appreciate the Punk Rock ethic.  And if you're all of those things, then there's a really strong chance you've already heard of the Punk turned Buddhist teacher Noah Levine.
Dharma Punx

Contemplating suicide by the age of 5, smoking pot by the age of six and regularly in trouble with the law not long after.  He grew up bouncing between splintered halves of his broken home.  His Dad in Santa Fe, NM and his Mom's in Los Angeles, CA.  He had an angst about him from an early age and used drugs and alcohol to try and find happiness, or at least escape.  When he got a little older, he discovered Punk Rock and felt, for the first time, that he had found the answer to his life long unhappiness with the status quo. 

After spending years bouncing around, doing drugs, living on and off the streets, and popping in and out of jail, Levine eventually hit bottom.  He woke up in a padded cell, to the full realization that he was out of chances.  This time, he was headed straight for prison.  He spoke to his dad on the phone, who gave him some mindful meditation instructions to hopefully help him calm down.  It worked.  And BOY did it work!

Noah had heard this stuff from his Dad his whole life.  His Dad was a tree-hugging hippie, to Noah's mind.  Turns out his Dad actually knew a thing or two.  Noah's Dad was Stephen LevineStephen is very well known in his own right as the author of "A Year To Live" and many other books.  He's also a poet and teacher who was part of a group of like minded individuals who helped introduce Theravada Buddhism to the Western world.  You usually see his name along-side Sharon Salzburg and Ram Dass (one of Stephen Levines close friends).

Noah had always dismissed, and distrusted, his Dad's hippie advice.  On that day when he was facing a prison sentence, he finally listened.  He followed his Dad's advice and did a very brief mindful meditation exercise and found that it actually helped.  He did some more.  I'll leave it to you to find out the rest from his memoir, Dharma Punx, but I can tell you it has a happy ending.  At least for him.  Many of his old friends weren't so lucky, but Noah has survived, and even thrived, on the path of Buddhism that he discovered. 

He's now clean and sober and is doing everything in his power to spread the teachings that saved his life to others who need it most.  Actually, he's trying to spark a revolution.  A spiritual revolution.  A mindful revolution.

Noah Levine, with his book Dharma Punx, has taken the first steps down his path.  His path seems to be to help others find the peace and revolution that he has found, and his second book "Against the Stream" (Which I am also currently reading, and will review soon) as well as his web site and related DPunx Nation Meditation Groups around the country is how he's doing it.

I invite you to read this book and see if you find encouragement, interest or even just entertainment there.  I found them all, and I think just about anyone can find at least one of those things to love about this book.


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