Some weeks ago I had had seriously bad and potentially career-changing day at work, and decided to splurge and buy myself a new book. I had been eying Noah Levine's book, "Dharma Punx: A Memoir," over the previous several months, hoping to find it at my semi-regular visits to my favorite used book store. But, I never did, and so when ever I found myself in a retail bookstore I would sneak-read a few pages of Dharma Punx. But then came The Bad Day: I threw all of Green Bean's excellent advice and restraint out the window and made a bee-line for the first bookstore I could find. It was a big box store and I didn't even care, I just bought the book, brand new. And my eyes and brain devoured it, page by page.
I suppose it is fairly ironic to have used a book about buddhism as a way to avoid thinking about my Bad Day, but I am certainly glad I bought the book, even under those less-than-admirable motivations and circumstances. Noah Levine has a way of making Buddhist ideas come alive, and showing how piercingly relevant they are in our society today, regardless of any other spiritutal/religious beliefs you may or may not have. His Dharma Punx book is an exposition of how he went from being a seriously drug-addicted young person frequenting jail, to a clean and sober maturing person living a life of compassion and service to others. It is a stark, blunt, riveting and yet ultimately joyous book. He has since written a second book, called "Against the Stream" which outlines the teachings of the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) , whom Levine affectionately refers to as "Sid." I really want to read that book too, but I am doing my best to wait for it second hand -- so far so good!
As a result of reading the first book, I stumbled on to Levine's two websites. On these websites are several of Noah Levine's dharma talks, in podcast form. I have been enjoying these down-to-earth talks immensely as I attempt to wait patiently for a chance to read Against the Stream. I see it is availabile through inter-library loan via my local public library branch. In the meantime, I will happily listen my way through Levine's podcasts on topics such as money, patience, meditation, impermance, relationships, forgiveness and women and Buddhism.
Now to check out those library hours....
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