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Lions Roar : May 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2010 41 teachers he trains tell everyone who comes to their centers that meditation is essential, because it can show you the roots of your troubles. drugs and alcohol only do damage, and do not help. Punk rock, however, is regularly referenced and loudly praised. The music is angry, powerful, and often articulate. it focuses on the unsatisfactory nature of existence, on how society’s promises of success will not make you happy. “Punk rock,” levine says, “is the voice of the first noble truth.” word is being passed by email and text-messaging, on Face- book and blogs. The word is: dharma Punx helps. The teachers are not staid and churchy, but streetwise, friendly, nonjudgmen- tal, and on your side. You learn to meditate, to see your mind in a new way. You can become its master rather than its slave. shorTness oF BreaTh. Pain in the chest. a desperate need to run, to hide, to make this stop. it’s a panic attack, and it’s hap- pening—again—on the street. what do you do? Jean Maire Martin, a twentysomething irish immigrant now living in new York, didn’t know where to turn. she was suffer- ing under life’s busyness and confusion, with a terrifying result: panic attacks in public places. after a particularly painful re- lationship breakup, Martin bumped into Josh Korda, the man levine appointed to lead dharma Punx in new York. she had zero interest in Bud- dhism or meditation, but was desperate and had heard from friends that Korda was known as someone you could talk to. so she introduced herself, and the two began to talk. Korda helped her, she says, to see how her thought patterns were causing her misery. Martin is now a regular at Punx meetings, and works to keep up a daily practice as well. she says meditating is helping to change the shape of her mind. “i used to be a very jealous per- son, and would just react and react. now i go into my stomach and say, ‘oh, this is what jealousy feels like.’ i sit with it. i get out of my mind, into my body, and it loses its power. it’s still there, i still get jealous. But i don’t react to it.” other students edging their way through the crowded door- way of the rebel saint Meditation Center have similar stories. drea Bernardi moved to new York hoping to become an actress, “anyone who is teaching Buddhism is teaching revolutionary philosophy and action,” noah levine says. “i think Buddhism is radical. i don’t think i’m radical.” Rebel Saint Buddhist Meditation Center in New York’s Bowery district, birthplace of the punk movement. PhoTosBYKaTieorlinsKY