June 02, 2011
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The Heart of the Revolution: The Buddha’s Radical Teachings on Forgiveness, Compassion, and Kindness opens with author Noah Levine likening the Buddha to an outlaw biker. In the same way that outlaws see themselves as individuals who stand outside mainstream culture, Levine sees the Buddha as a radical whose teachings are world-shattering and not for the faint of heart. “The practices in this book are not a quick fix,” Levine writes. “They are a map to a hidden treasure. You will have to do all of the digging yourself.” After years of doing his own digging during meditation practice, Levine—who grew up in the punk subculture— started to experience some of the compassion that the Buddha promised would be found. “My heart has softened; my mind has quieted down,” he tells us. “These days, I rarely want to bash anyone’s head in.” Displaying both Theravada and Mahayana influences, Levine describes practices such as lovingkindness, tonglen, and forgiveness meditation. What’s most praiseworthy about The Heart of the Revolution is that it’s unabashedly pragmatic. As he did in his previous books, Dharma Punx and Against the Stream, Levine makes clear that he doesn’t care about what Buddhism is or isn’t; he cares about what works to make the world a better place. It happens that Buddhism accomplishes this, Levine finds, by giving us access to our innate “aggressive wisdom.” The Heart of the Revolution is a call to action.
Below is a video of Levine speaking at Omega Institute.