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Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,124 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
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 guid
ebook, 192 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2007)
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Alan Scott
A fairly simple and straightforward explanation of the tenents of Theravadian and Mahayana Buddhism from a "punk rock" perspective. Although perhaps too simple for most non newbies, I really appreciated the moral clarity and seeming earnestness of author Noah Levine's vision and got a lot out of it.

A former punk rock junkie/ thug turned spiritual/ meditation teacher, Levine found Buddhism conducive to his anti authoritarian mentality (as we can see from such section headings as "Defy the Lies,"
May 19, 2009 Caris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism, 2009
This was a really good look at actual Buddhist practice. Every other book I've read on the subject has essentially been an explanation of Buddhism as a religion or philosophy. I like Levine's take on the whole thing. He makes it seem fresh and relevant. With him, Buddhism is not so much of an abstract concept that seems like a great idea, but is actually something you can start doing today.

Levine also cleared something up for me. Several times in my life, I have heard people say that they are go
Aug 25, 2015 Michel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eleole, how-to
I urge you to read this 160-page book.
It may not do anything for you and in that case you'll lose only $13.99, and an hour and a half (less than you'd need to watch a football game). But it just might boggle your mind.
Unlike most books about buddhism, this one requires no prior knowledge, interest, or commitment. It is written by, and for, a Western mind. And for the most part it says things that are (should) be obvious: that every thing is transient, and that not "letting each moment die its ow
The natural extension of Noah Levine's memoir, Dharma Punx. It focuses on the teachings of Buddhism, from the perspective of one who considers himself a rebel and spiritual revolutionary. It was a decent overview of Buddhism, covering the four noble truths and eightfold path, as well as providing a meditation tutorial, but the unique thing about his presentation is why he considers it so rebellious. He gives some Buddhist stories and teachings that illustrate this, notably the Buddha's initial r ...more
Oct 07, 2007 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beginner Buddhists
Shelves: spiritual
Levine is far from a bad writer, and is in fact an amazing human being. The author of Dharma Punx flatlined on me with this book, but its not his fault, its mine. This would be a great book for anyone wanting to get into Buddhism but doesn't know where to start. If you know even the slightest thing about it though, this book comes off as condescending, which again, I think is my own personal problem and not Levine's, but I think other people will feel the way I felt. He is a major inspiration as ...more
this book saved my life
I know people who identify as Dharma Punxs and wondered where that started. So I was interested in getting Noah Levine's spin. I am glad he turned to Buddhist since it helped him climb out of a deep pit he put himself in (see his brief review outlined in this book or his memoir). And I think he has created another space for disenfranchised people to hear the Dharma. That said, I was disappointed with this book on several levels. I give it two stars since the first chunk does cover the basics.

Mara Elwood
"Defy the lies, serve the truth, beware of teachers, and question everything." This is the fourfold manifesto that Noah Levine presents near the end of the book. For anyone that has ever had doubts on trying meditation and mindfulness because of its connection to Buddhism, this book shows that what Buddhism is today, is not necessarily what it was meant to be. Buddhism is not a religion, although many treat it in that way. Buddhism is a path, guided by meditation, mindfulness, and reflection. Th ...more
Mr. Roboto
It was okay. I don't like it when people try to break things down using slang. There were many references to Buddhas "homies," and that felt a little weird to me. (In fact, it was repeatedly misspelled in the text as "homeys," which further irritated me. Come on, editors.) Was the usage disrespectful? I don't know. Trying too hard? Maybe. It just felt contrived. I also don't like his prescriptions for what you have to do to be a rebel, revolutionary, or radical. (You'll find this in the back of ...more
Myla Stauber
Nov 06, 2014 Myla Stauber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've come far since I first read this but as with all Noah's books, he is "the one" that turned me from a book Buddhist to a meditator. I am forever grateful to Noah for teaching me the forgiveness meditation and how to bring Buddhism down from its rarified perch that I had placed it on right into my life as it is lived today, every day. There are a thousand paths and even more teachers, I am extremely grateful for the flowering of Buddhism in the west that has made it possible for modern lay te ...more
Jul 12, 2008 Bobby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Notable as a book from an experienced practitioner from my own generation, which I think allows for a certain accessibility that is nice. He offers some interesting takes on everyday issues like sexuality and money, and advice for living in an overly materialistic,consumer-crazy society from a Buddhist perspective. An appendix in the back of the book includes several different simple meditation techniques to try.
Feb 10, 2013 Marla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first thought was that I agreed with other reviewers in that this is a beginner's book on Buddhism. And it can be that, if that's what you need it to be. But when I slowed down, and stopped my attitude of "yeah, yeah...I know this stuff...", I found Levine had plenty to offer me...lots of "oh, THAT'S and interesting take on..." and "I never thought of it that way..." kind of moments. You may think you understand something, but truly knowing it, is different. Truly knowing something comes from ...more
I am Cat。
This one is definitely staying in my collection for good. Although this is nothing like Levine's Dharma Punx, he still has quite a way with words that makes the basics of Buddhism quite simple. Most of this book is made up of drawn out explanations, and then in the final chapter he sums them each up as far as down to a sentence each.

If you don't understand the basics after reading this, it's worth a second read. I am going to read it again myself, since it's a great refresher whether you're new
Frank Jude
Sep 12, 2009 Frank Jude rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Younger people interested in checking out Buddhism and Buddhist practice.
Shelves: buddhism
This is a wonderful book that covers just about all the basics of the Dharma and more importantly -- PRACTICE! Noah is a really good teacher, and is certainly bringing the Dharma to many folks who may not have ever been open to hearing it, let alone practicing it.

There are a few caveats that have kept me from giving this book a full five stars:

1. I am not convinced that the sometimes militantly aggrssive tone is the most skillful way to go. Case in point: "Meditate and Destroy" while 'punky,' i
Mar 19, 2008 EunSung rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: punk anarchists interested in buddhism
i checked this out from the book shelves of the hive (the new community space in greensboro).

some of what levine has to say is wonderful, but his use of spiritual revolutionary and "homeys" sort of feels yucky to me. he also comes from theravada tradition, so his language has little more bits with religious elements even though he like warner (author of hardcore zen and sit down and shut up) talks about questioning everything. i find warner's voice and style just more refreshing. warner is a lo
Scott Ford
A solid introduction to mindfulness. Levine approaches the topic from the orientation of an addict, but quickly establishes that we're all addicts of one type or another, which is a very valid claim and serves to hook the reader into staying with the author to see what he has to say.
Steven Elliott
May 17, 2015 Steven Elliott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Noah Levine grows as a writer with this book and his intentions in the writing are clear and precise. Often very inspiring and humble in his approach, Levine brings Buddhism from the pillow and into the reality of an active world needing to go beyond sitting and finding an action. Reflecting an in small doses on his own life, we see a true spiritual leader making real change in the world, but never looking for the glory.
Chiara Van den berg
If you want to learn about buddhism, this book gives you a very good introduction and personal story about buddhism and the way of the dharma, I carried this book everywhere as a little bible, i loved reading it in times i needed some wisdom from above.
Jun 11, 2015 Jasmine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
This is a good introduction to Buddhist meditation. His section "Advancing on the Path to Freedom" in the appendix might be a turn off for people who don't want to be told what they should do when just starting out. Just use it as a suggestion for where you can go if you decide to.
David Laurin
Jun 25, 2014 David Laurin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you can get over some of the turns of phase.(I just find him referring to the Buddha a Sid the rebel saint kind of silly. But I can see why he does it) but the informations the the explanations are pretty good.
Feb 01, 2016 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
I was surprised at how much I liked this book. Read things here I haven't read before and that's not easy. I didn't read the meditation instructions in the appendix, but I know they are there if I need them.
Shelby Snapka
A quick beginner's guide on Buddhism basics. I found it a little too simplified in some areas, and the use of slang was rather awkward... It felt like Levine was trying a little too hard to be hip. Otherwise this was a great intro into everyday applications of Buddhism.
Brian  Baker
Jan 14, 2013 Brian Baker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, buddhism
Buddhist teachings for a new generation.

Noah Levine has taken the teachings of Buddha and made them readable and relatable for a new generation. Gone are the talks about the different traditions, replaced with words that a generation raised on metal, punk, video games and the internet can relate to.

Noah's no nonsense descriptions of Buddha's teachings make this book so wonderful. This is a book I will refer my friends to when they ask about what Buddhism is about for the simple reason of its wr
Beau Raines
Sep 28, 2014 Beau Raines rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book about Buddhism. It gives a great foundation and translates it to everyday scenarios. And to really differentiate it from other books, it outlines how a lay person would practice Buddhism. Its quite a fresh change from other texts or the media, where the focus is on monastic life. While not everyone can take on the life of a monk, there are still the Buddhist practices that everyone can take on.
Sean Donahue
Dec 31, 2013 Sean Donahue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unlike Levine's previous book, the Dharma Punx, Against the Stream actually strikes me as a book about Buddhism as opposed to a book about a Buddhist named Noah Levine. Personal experiences are used to give grounding to abstract terms. I'm not sure if it delivers quite what the title promises, but that's a big check to cash. There's definitely worse entry points for interested readers just getting started with the Dharma.
Jan 17, 2014 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly helped me to understand Buddhism more clearly than anything else I have read.
More important: It motivated me to go further in my study.
Aug 19, 2010 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Levine has overcome a lot to get where he is. Truly a spiritual warrior! His story and message will serve others in the Dhamma for years to come.
This book is a very down-to-earth and direct explanation and description of the Buddhist path, including all aspects necessary for someone who is just starting out; or useful as a refreshingly penetrating account of exactly why the Buddhist path is so efficacious in this modern world.
Mar 24, 2009 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the best book I've come across for someone mildly or moderately interested in Buddhism that would really prefer a crash course. It is like the Cliff's notes for Buddhism. It is clear, easy to read, and only about 150 pages. Great for someone with ADHD! It is also a good reference book for guidance on specific meditations for someone a little further along in study and practice.
Betsy Housten
Sep 10, 2008 Betsy Housten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Altogether it is thoughtful and good for me to be reading... despite a handful of awkward "you can do it! yo, buddha's my homey" trying-too-hard-to-talk-down, cheerleader-y moments (mostly in the beginning, and if you can get past them, you're all set), I still very much like this book, respect the author and would recommend it. If you think it might be useful for you, it probably will be.
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American Buddhist teacher, author and counselor known for his philosophical alignment with Buddhism and punk ideology. Identifies his Buddhist beliefs and practices with both Theravadan and Mahayanan traditions. Holds a masters 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 ...more
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“Sitting still is a pain in the ass.” 30 likes
“We are born into a realm of constant change. Everything is decaying. We are continually losing all that we come in contact with. Our tendency to get attached to impermanent experiences causes sorrow, lamentation and grief, because eventually we are separated from everything and everyone we love. Our lack of acceptance and understanding of this fact makes life unsatisfactory.” 11 likes
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