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Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for…

Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Noah Levine

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Title:Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries
Authors:Noah Levine
Info:HarperOne (2007), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library

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Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries by Noah Levine (2007)



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At one level this is an introduction to Buddhism suitable for modern Western young people. At another level it is a reflection of the author's perspective and approach. These two levels also get tangled a bit - to what extent is the sort of authorial persona presented here actually helpful for the audience of the book?

This book takes a practical, down to earth, non-mythological approach to Buddhism, even an anti-mythological approach. This brings to mind the philosophical outlook of Robert Cummings Neville, e.g. The High Road Around Modernism. One can transcend modernism by amplifying it, a hypermodern post-modernism. Actually the whole punk heavy metal music scene gets caught up in this puzzle. Are the old myths merely clip-art to be paraded in the ever shifting collage, the play of identities, of brands, tribes as the principal axes of focus group analysis? Or are tribes actually channels to help us rediscover our roots, revealing that the free play of signifiers is anything but free. is deeply connected to the past and the future.

Noah Levine seems to be playing a game similar to that of Stephen Batchelor, to Batchelor's Buddhism Without Beliefs etc. This kind of anti-traditionalism is characteristic of modernity, the Descartes - Voltaire sort of modernity. Yeah, to some extent any Buddhist teaching must be adapted to the audience. But the purpose is always medicinal. Our modern age is nihilistic and this nihilism requires correction, cure. Sure, the language of cure will have to be something that a nihilistic audience can comprehend.

One of the fundamental insights of the Buddhist tradition is the mutuality of emptiness and interdependence. The middle way is not some third way apart from nihilism and eternalism, but this understanding of their mutuality.

By now it ought to be a tired joke, the way radical revolutionaries just repeat the same tired totalitarian power structures they'd fought to demolish. Sure, the Buddha was a radical revolutionary, but with a kind of subtlety and humor and exquisite sensitivity.

Instead of a warning the reader to "Beware of Teachers!", maybe Levine could have warned "Beware of Me!" and referred us to whatever sources of inspiration he has come to rely on. ( )
1 vote kukulaj | Jul 1, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006073664X, Paperback)

Buddha was a revolutionary. His practice was subversive; his message, seditious. His enlightened point of view went against the norms of his day—in his words, "against the stream." His teachings changed the world, and now they can change you too.

Presenting the basics of Buddhism with personal anecdotes, exercises, and guided meditations, bestselling author Noah Levine guides the reader along a spiritual path that has led to freedom from suffering and has saved lives for 2,500 years. Levine should know. Buddhist meditation saved him from a life of addiction and crime. He went on to counsel and teach countless others the Buddhist way to freedom, and here he shares those life-changing lessons with you. Read and awaken to a new and better life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:37 -0400)

"Levine's first book, Dharma Punx, was the autobiography of a young hell-raiser. Having escaped juvenile hall and drug addiction through the slow discipline of Buddhist practices, the son of Buddhist author Stephen Levine is now a spiritual teacher. In this book he presents what he has learned about and through Buddhism. The compelling personal narrative may be gone, but the disarming, frank tone that made the first book persuasive remains. He writes about the challenge of celibacy, for example, a different kind of difficulty than that posed by intimate relationships. Levine has taken the Buddha's teachings to heart - he would call it heart-mind - and clearly returns to such central ideas as impermanence and suffering, giving his thinking simplicity and consistency" -- www.amazon.com… (more)

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