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Lions Roar : May 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2010 42 but since learning to meditate has returned to school. she’s do- ing media studies, and hopes to find a way to use new media to spread loving-kindness. “i needed to learn about my head. My whole life until a couple of years ago i was looking outside myself for happiness. This job, that person, drugs, alcohol, whatever. i came here and it was, ‘oh, you find happiness within!’” with some exceptions, the Bowery dharma Punx crowd could pass for a graduate class at nearby nYu: most appeared to be young, white, and middle-class. of course, being young, white, and middle-class does not mean you are free of serious troubles; noah levine is exhibit a. still, the vibe in the room was so cool, so cultured, so exquisitely counterculture, that i wondered if dhar- ma Punx might be this year’s fad. when questions were called for, though, the meditators revealed seriousness and depth. Their questions were nuanced and important. They know that life is suffering and, like all of us, are struggling with that knowledge. in the past few years levine has been working to build this community. he and it are learning and growing together. his 2006 book Against the Stream was not just about him, but made space to consider other people’s problems. he was becoming a teacher. still, punk rock remains an important part of his life and thinking. and just as his music has stayed raw, the conversa- tion has remained uncensored. swearing is a regular feature of dharma Punx meetings, including dharma talks by teachers. levine says his audience can “hear the dharma better because of the rawness or realness of that language ... saying ‘fuck you’ in a harsh way is harsh language and wrong speech. But saying, ‘My meditation practice has been really fucking challenging lately’ is not wrong speech. it’s just an expression of what’s happening.” anyone who criticizes this approach, levine says, is not part of the dharma Punx subculture. in ManY north american Buddhist communities people in their twenties and thirties are being trained to up- hold the traditions and to teach, and will inherit the legacy from their el- ders. This usually happens quietly, without fanfare or fuss. at the same time there are other young teachers who, like levine, are not keeping to the path laid out by previous generations. another next-generation Buddhist making a name for himself by inspiring others is ethan nichtern. like noah levine, nichtern has a father who is renowned in Buddhist circles. david nichtern, a senior teacher in the shambhala tradition, is a former co-director of the l.a. shambhala Center and has worked to establish medita- tion/yoga workshops with his wife, Cyndi lee, of oM Yoga. ethan nichtern turned his back on meditation as a young teenager, but by the end of high school he was meditating regularly. nichtern studied under levine, and while they remain friends nichtern is focusing on his own effort, the interdependence Project (id Project for short). Based in new York, the id Project meets in the same Bowery space above the lingerie store. it’s a nonprofit working to bridge the gap between the inner work we “we meditate to develop more sanity and awareness. how can this not lead to being involved with the problems of the world?” asks ethan nichtern. The Interdependence Project’s 24-hour meditation marathon in the window of ABC Home & Carpet. PhoToBYMarKriFKin/Twi-nY.CoM