June 02, 2011

At the Tricycle Book Club: The Heart of the Revolution with Noah Levine

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We're reading Noah Levine's The Heart of the Revolution over at the Tricycle Book Club. Pick up a copy of the book and come over and join us!

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.

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nancylt's picture

here's what I dog-eared:
"Humility means humbly accepting that we are worthy of love and kindness, that we have everything we need to be happy right here inside of us."
-- I always believed that humility meant being less than. ("Oh, Lord, I am not worthy" back in my Catholic days.) I am just beginning to believe with my heart that it means equal to, not less than.
"Contentment and satisfaction ... are moment-to-moment choices, every day."
-- MY choice. For real. Nobody makes me miserable but me.

I love the concept of "training the heart-mind to respond with love."

sending you so much metta, Noah. thank you for breaking my heart open.