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Lions Roar : May 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN MAy 2010 73 its nemesis. he no longer sees punks and hippies as rival forces struggling for coun- terculture supremacy. Now he sees dif- ferent groups of people sharing similar troubles. The hippies, he says, had “an unrealistic view about peace and love being easy to come by. Not acknowledging how much hard work it takes to truly come from a place of love. Not acknowledging the great suffering in this world, and the great work it takes to come from a place of freedom.” Punks, on the other hand, are far too cen- tered on suffering. They are too focused on negativity and hopelessness, and not enough on love and compassion. Punks are “so busy pointing out and critiquing the problem” that they wind up lacking the “willingness to work toward peace.” If you or I said this to a roomful of punks, or convicts, or drug addicts, would it make a difference? When Noah Levine says it, some listen. With great courage and conviction he is teaching peace to people accustomed to violence. he is teaching in- ternal rebellion to people used to thinking that the fight is outside. Is this right speech and action? Is the dharma in safe hands? These questions are only asked by people no longer young, who have reached an age where many choices of the younger generation may seem odd, mistaken, or inexplicable. so it’s important to focus on the essence. Levine—like Nichtern and Lewis too— is bringing people to the dharma. In many cases people who otherwise may never have come near. The visuals and tone and word choice might be new, but then Buddhism has been made fresh countless times, by countless teachers. Buddhism is still in its infancy here, and it can be ar- gued that a genuine North american va- riety is yet to emerge. What these teachers offer is dharma for their own generation, based in the ancient and Earth-shaking wisdom of compassion and mindfulness. Their teachings are part of the solution. “anyone who is teaching Buddhism is teaching radical, revolutionary phi- losophy and action,” Noah Levine says. “I think Buddhism is radical. I don’t think I’m radical.” ♦