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Noah Levine
Noah Levine.jpg
Religion Buddhism
Nationality American
Born 1971
Santa Cruz, California, United States
Religious career
Teacher Jack Kornfield

Noah Levine (born 1971) is an American Buddhist teacher and the author of the books Dharma Punx: A Memoir and Against the Stream. As a counselor known for his philosophical alignment with Buddhism and punk ideology, he identifies his Buddhist beliefs and practices with both the Theravada and Mahayana traditions.[1] He holds a master's degree in counseling psychology from CIIS. He has helped found several groups and projects including the Mind Body Awareness Project, a non-profit organization that serves incarcerated youths.

Levine is the son of American Buddhist author Stephen Levine, and was trained by Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California. He also lists the 14th Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ram Dass, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Norman Fischer, and Sylvia Boorstein as his teachers.[2]

He currently leads Dharma and vipassana meditation retreats and workshops across the United States and teaches weekly meditation classes in Los Angeles.[3] An important aspect of his work is with inmates in juvenile and adult prisons where he combines meditation techniques with psychotherapy—"exploring how they can have a deeper understanding of what has happened and what they need to do in order to be free, on many levels—free from prison, free from the trauma of the past."[4] Noah Levine is a member of the Prison Dharma Network.

Levine's work with inmates is fueled by his own past—as a youth he experienced several periods of incarceration. His first book, Dharma Punx, in large part details teenage years filled with drugs, violence, and multiple suicide attempts—choices fueled by a rebellious nature and identification with punk rock and culture. His substance abuse started early in life—at age six he began smoking marijuana—and finally ended in a padded detoxification cell in juvenile prison 11 years later.[5] It was in this cell where he hit "an emotional rock bottom" and began his vipassana practice "out of a place of extreme drug addiction and violence"[4] While incarcerated, he saw for the first time how the practice his father taught him gave him the tools to relieve the fear and uncertainty that pervaded his life.

One notable aspect of Buddhist Dharma is the path of our choices, the actions past and present and the intention for future action – (ref. Buddhist Law of Karma). Levine's past—addiction, incarceration, violence, initial rejection of Buddhism and meditation—are all defining characteristics of his writings and teachings. "We all sort of have a different doorway to dharma or spiritual practice. Suffering is a doorway. For me it was the suffering of addiction, violence and crime which opened me at a young age, 17 years old. I was incarcerated, looking at the rest of my life in prison and thought, "Maybe I will try dad's hippie meditation bullshit." Suffering opened me to the possibility of trying meditation." [3]

In Levine's second book, Against the Stream, released in April 2007, "he presents what he has learned about and through Buddhism"[6] and "clearly returns to such central ideas as impermanence and suffering".[6]

Levine is the subject of the feature length documentary, Meditate and Destroy, directed by Sarah Fisher of Blue Lotus Films. The documentary was shown in film festivals and independent screenings from 2007-2008. Meditate and Destroy was released on DVD in 2009 by Alive Mind Media.


  1. ^ Dharma Punx find inner peace, The Globe and Mail (Canada), March 17, 2006 Friday, The Globe Review 7: British Columbia; Going Out: Events; Pg. R5, 543 words, Sarah Efron, Special to The Globe and Mail
  2. ^ Noah Levine
  3. ^ a b LA Yoga. Teacher Profile: Noah Levine
  4. ^ a b Satya Oct 03: Interview with Noah Levine
  5. ^ From punk to Buddhist meditator, Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico), May 23, 2004 Sunday, FINAL; Pg. F6, 546 words, David Steinberg Of the Journal
  6. ^ a b Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries, Publishers Weekly Reviews, April 23, 2007, REVIEWS; Nonfiction; Pg. 47, 240 words, Staff

External links

Other references

  • Zen And The Art Of Slam Dancing Buddhist Punks Find Enlightenment In The Pit , The Boston Globe, September 19, 2004, Sunday, THIRD EDITION, Pg. D1, 1223 words, By David F. Smydra Jr.


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Noah Levine (born 1971) is an American Buddhist teacher, author and counselor.


Dharma Punx

  • I sought a different path than that of my parents. I totally rejected meditation and all the spiritual shit they built their lives on. Looking at the once idealistic hippie generation who had long since cut their hair, left the commune, and bought into the system, we saw that peace and love had failed to make any real changes in the world. In response, we felt love and despair and hopelessness, out of which came the punk rock movement. Seeking to rebel against our parents' pacifism and society's fascist system of oppression and capitalist-driven propaganda, we responded in our own way, different from those before us, creating a new revolution for a new generation. Painfully aware of corruption in the government and inconsistencies in the power dynamics in our homes, we rebelled against our families and society in one loud and fast roar of teen angst. Unwilling to accept the dictates of the system, we did whatever we could to rebel. We wanted freedom and were willing to fight for it.

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