Punk Rock & Buddhism

by jenny sansouci on August 21, 2008

“Being Buddhist is about as punk as you can get.” This is a quote from Noah Levine, meditation coach and author of “Dharma Punx” and “Against the Stream.”

I’m really intrigued by the thought of punk rock being related closely to Buddhism, mainly because I’ve always been attracted to punk rock and have recently realized how attracted I am to Buddhist principles as well. Seems like there is a connection between the two, so I just wanted to throw some stuff out there, food for thought, to see what you cats think.

Quotes from Noah Levine:

“Buddhism teaches present time awareness. It’ not about living for some future date. It’s about moment-to-moment awareness in this present time. That’s punk. The Buddha said his path leads against the stream. That’s punk.”

“The loud, aggressive music of the punks points out the truth of corruption, oppression and ignorance in society. Punk rock in its purest form is the Buddha’s first noble truth.”

“Spiritual practice is the punkest thing you can ever do. That is what the book (Dharma Punx) is about. This is the ultimate form of the anti-establishment rebellion. It is easy to be angry and to be disenfrancised and to point out all the problems. It is the hardest and most important thing to do to come around to some personal, cultural, and societal solutions to some of these problems. Yeah, there’s a lot of problems, what are we gonna do about it? Other than to stay loaded and stay angry. How can we use that anger and dissatisfaction in a positive way. There is an option here whether you are into it or not.”

Excerpt from an interview with Noah Levine, by Satya:

Can you characterize how you integrate Buddhism and your punk ethic?
“Over the years I’ve come to see the intention or foundation of both punk rock and Buddhism as so similar, as being this energy of dissatisfaction. The Buddha was dissatisfied with the ordinary suffering of life and wanted to find freedom from that suffering. I think that the punk movement is founded on that same dissatisfaction—that all of this oppression and inequality and political corruption sucks!

The Buddha said question everything, all the time. It’s not based on blind faith. Find out for yourself if it’s true.

Another guy, Brad Warner, wrote a book called “Hardcore Zen,” and makes the following comparison of punk and buddhism, which I really dig:

“At the roots of the hardcore mindset is a fundamental anarchy––everything taken for granted must be questioned, no leaders can be accepted, and the only rules that matter are those you’ve written for yourself.”

Anyway this has been on my mind so I wanted to share these quotes. As I have mentioned before, I’m just starting to dip my toes into these waters so I’m not claiming to be any type of expert on the subject. Just feeling some good vibes from this stuff. It could have to do with the fact that I’m juice cleansing today ;)




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