Buddhism with a pinch of punk.

One of the most important concepts to grasp, according to Noah Levine, is that Buddha is not a god, and cannot be pinned down as a religion. Being a Buddhist involves a more persistent and aware mindset. I don’t know much about Buddhism therefore I cannot attest to how accurate a reflection this is in reality, however it does not seem to create any major problems as it is. One of the ways that links Levine to his relatively newfound spirituality is in fact crack cocaine, as he details. He believes that if he hadn’t been exposed to these materials from a young age that he wouldn’t have been lead down the path that he landed on.

One of the major elements of spirituality within Buddhism that Levine attempts to delineate is the connotation it has with the ‘hippie culture’. “Buddhism has always gone face-to-face with the ugly. A good deal of Buddhist practice examines the underlying ugliness, inadequacy, and foulness of the body, not to mention death, decay, and impermanence.” Again, I’m not very knowledgeable concerning Buddhism; however by his description of the purpose of Buddhism, it seems very applicable. Being brought up in a very Catholic family, I could also understand his argument. Like the Buddhist ideals, that teach to be a stronger person, I think that Christian ideals are very similar, (Christian teachings including the Sermon on the Mount) in that regardless of what you believe, the words themselves offer strong explanations and characteristics to better oneself in a moral and upstanding manner.

Levine offers some insight to the connection between Buddhism and the punk culture in an interview with Satya that clearly describes some of the core principles behind his, and the Buddha’s philosophy. “The Buddha said question everything, all the time. It’s not based on blind faith. Find out for yourself if it’s true. He was anti-racist, anti-sexist, letting women in when other spiritual traditions weren’t; breaking down the caste barrier. There were a lot of ways he was doing this revolutionary thing that punk, in its own confused way, is also trying to point towards—breaking down racism and sexism and oppression.” The primary goal, unlike almost every form of religion, is not to follow beliefs based on blind faith, but instead to better yourself and your community and your environment based on doing the right thing. It is about reaching a point of spiritual comfort, no matter where you are from, nor what you go through in life.

The combination of these two lifestyles are really unique, and at first, seemed incredibly conflicting to me, however I believe that within Noah Levine’s eyes and mind, they function simultaneously. The only question that was raised in my mind while interacting with this material is how other people ultimately view his outlook, specifically Buddhists and/or punks.


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