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Lions Roar : July 2010
Letters to the Editor IF YOU KNEW NOAH... Having known Noah Levine all his life and also having attend- ed several meditation retreats and many sittings where he was the teacher, I can only presume that the writer of Dharma Punx (May 2010) doesn't know much about Noah. He seemed to focus on fairly minor and seemingly negative aspects of Noah's life. Choosing the one negative quote from an online chat was un- necessary and geared to be hurtful. Noah is a skillful teacher and someone who has helped so many young people find an avenue to change their behavior and enrich their lives that to portray him the way the author has does a disservice to all those who have benefited from this gift. Noah's honesty, compassion, humor, humility, and knowledge of the Buddhist teachings are truly priceless. I only hope more people will take advantage of the Dharma Punx groups around the world to help find a way to deal with their suffering. Patricia Washko Santa Cruz, California ALL-AGES BUDDHISM I hope staying in an age range very close to your own can stop being so important to everyone. As a musician, I remember when folks demanding "all-age shows" came in loud to us who were in bands. We listened and did all we could. What if we had said, "No, we only play for those near our own age"? See how silly that is? I wanted to go to a Dharma Punx meeting once but was told by a friend I was too old! Having been in punk rock for so many years and rock and roll in general, I felt sad and pissed all at once. Of course I de- nounced it all as bullshit, and not only ageist, but silly and elitist. You are too old and you are too young and too tall and fat and short and Buddhist and Jesus and too this and too that-what non- sense. If you don't feel comfortable in a meditative space because everyone is too old, the problem is not the place but you. Too bad. Gary Floyd Member of the dicks sister double happiness black kali ma t wd"uffI!:' yuu/ Ch/!:'/ und "ufflfflau . }llt:u !:' !:'nd 11æffl u) firstname.lastname@example.org. DIVIDED WE FALL Three articles in Shambhala Sun's May 2010 issue seemed divi- sive, and struck me as being out of step with the magazine's more typical message of gentleness and equanimity. Rod Meade Sperry's piece Buddhism in the Spin Zone recounts a recent comment by FOX News commentator Brit Hume that suggested Buddhism doesn't offer the kind of forgiveness and redemption Christianity does. In response, Sperry said, "Hume had thrown impartiality out the window along with his common sense, presenting to FOX viewers... a divisive... suggestion that colored Buddhism as inferior." Hume's comment was divisive, but engaging FOX over such divisiveness-a trait they have demonstrated over and over again-only serves to legitimize the dishonest network, reducing Buddhism perilously close to FOX's level. Besides, Fox commen- tators have a rich history of making divisive and ignorant com- ments. Bill O'Reilly, for instance, felt compelled to stick up for faith by denigrating atheism during an interview with biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins by pointing out that Stalin too was an atheist. Who but O'Reilly would make such an inflammatory and divisive comment? Well, Hannah Tennant-Moore would and did in her article Lessons From Guantánamo. After going through heroic gyrations trying to convince us that Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc. are similar (perhaps even interchangeable to hear her tell it) in their positive attributes, she says, "Many of us have forgotten that re- ligion is not the enemy. Stalin, after all, was an atheist." Such a comment may pander to FOX News viewers, but I fail to see what place it has in a Buddhist publication. Finally, the subject of David Swick's Dharma Punxwas brazenly divisive. While I appreciate the positive impact Noah Levine et al are having on the "new generation;' their divisive approach was summed up with Levine's comment that Dharma Punx resonates with "the kind of people who are attracted rather than turned off by tattoos." And if you're offended by the f-bombs that Levine says allows participants to "hear the dharma better;' then you're not part of the Dharma Punx. Is the divisiveness exhibited by these three articles-FOX News vs. Buddhism, theists vs. atheists, punk Buddhists vs. everyone else-really the message that Shambhala Sun wants to promote? Jason Cornwell Newark, New York SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2010 15