Yoga Blog

AUGUST 26, 2013

Against The Stream

Posted by Dorothy under Community Interests, Interesting Reads, Philosophy, Wellnessno responses

Noah Levine ‒ the son of Buddhist teachers, rebel of cultural norms, punk rocker, drug addict, juvenile criminal turned Buddhist believer and now a preacher calling himself a Dharma Punx ‒ was the student of the well-known spiritual teacher, Jack Kornfield. Son of proud parents Stephen and Ondrea Levine, he voluntarily swayed from the spiritual paths which his parents were following even before his teenage years. After rediscovering meditation and Buddhism, Noah now aims to to use his early life’s experiences to serve youth in juvenile halls, men in prison and the general public interested in such topics.

In his book “Against The Stream”, Noah explained that the Buddha isn’t a god or deity to be worshipped. He was a rebel and an overthrower, the destroyer of ignorance, the great physician who discovered the path to freedom from suffering. The Buddha left a legacy of truth for us to experience ourselves. The practices and principles of his teachings lead to the direct experience of liberation. Since Buddhism is not a religion, people should stop worshipping Buddha like a god and try to become a good Buddhist. Instead learn his teachings to become a wise and compassionate human being, to awaken from our life of complacency and ignorance and to be a buddha!!

The Buddha delivered the four noble truths of the revolutionary path to freedom which he referred to as the setting in motion of the wheel of Dharma. The term wheel is used because the Buddha’s teachings explain the cycle or circle of existence. Furthering that imagery, the wheel of Dharma consists of eight trainings, the eightfold path, which are seen as the wheel’s spokes. When a wheel is set in motion it revolves.

The First Truth

The Buddha taught that life by its very nature is unsatisfactory, that some level of difficulty exists for all unenlightened beings in creation. We face sickness, old age, and death; the sense pleasures we do experience don’t last; and physical and perhaps emotional pain is a given in life.

There are two levels to this truth. The first is the pain of exeistence that we can’t do anything about. The second is the suffering and unhappiness that we create for ourselves due to our lack of wisdom and our vain attempts to control the uncontrollable-that is, the transient nature of all physical, emotional, and mental phenomena. We are born into a realm of constant change. Everything is decaying. We are continually losing all that we come into contact with. Our tendency to get attahced to impermanent experiences causes sorrow, lamentation, and grief, becuase eventually we are separated from everything and everyone we love. Our lack of acceptance and understanding of this fact makes life unsatisfactory.

Pain and suffering are two completely different experiences. pain is unavoidable. Suffering is self-created.

Some level of dissatisfaction exists for all unenlightened beings.

For some this is a revelation, a normalising statement that brings about a great sense of relief. Finally we are being told the truth: life isn’t always easy and pleasant. We already know this to be true, but somehow we tend to go through life thinking that there is something wrong with us when we experience sadness, grief, and physical and emotional pain. The first truth points out that this is just the way it is. there is nothing wrong with you; you have just been born into a realm where pain is a given.

The Second Truth

There is a cause for all this dissatisfaction and suffering. It is our craving for life to be filled exclusively with pleasure. That craving for pleasure creates a naturla reaction of aversion to the pains and difficulties of life. This truth can be seen as a simple lack of acceptance: unwilling to accept the pleasures and pains as they are, we go about clinging to the experiences we like and trying to get rid of the ones we don’t like.

We also create suffering for ourselves due to our craving to exist permanently-that is, our craving for eternal pleasure. When life is good, we want it to go on forever. At other times, though, we create suffering for ourselves through our craving to not exist at all-the craving for nonexistence, which results from the desire to escape from the pains and difficulties of life. When life is difficult of painful, we want to no longer exist.

As long as greed, hatred, and delusion exist within our hearts, suffering will continue in our lives, no matter how much we seek to experience pleasure and avoid pain.

Craving is a problem. Desires are natural, but craving-which is painful-is the extreme aspect of desire.

The Third Truth

Freedom from suffering is possible. There is a way to relate to all experience that is in harmony with the reality of constant change and the ultimately impersonal nature of all things. When greed, hatred, and delusion are destroyed, a state of peace and happiness is all that remains. This is the state of freedom from suffering referred to as Nirvana (which means cessation).

The Buddha experienced it, and if he could do it through his own efforts, others can too.

We all have mini-experiences of this-moments in our life, perhaps even on a daily basis, when we are free from greed, hatred, and delusion, when we are satisfied and at peace. Yet we tend to ignore or forget those experiences. The truth of craving blocks the truth of freedom. the path of rebellion, the Buddha’s path, will bring us to a more consistent state of freedom.

Freedom is available in this lifetime.

The Fourth Truth

The path to freedom consists of eight factors (often referred to as the eightfold path). These eigh important areas of comprehension and practice, which make up the spiritual revolutionary’s training manual, can be broken down into three sections:




Studying and contemplating these eight factors, the enlightened revolutionary can experience the freedom celebrated and taught by the Buddha.

Keeping these four noble truths and eightfold path in mind, let us all go against the stream and free ourselves from negative emotions and adopt positive ways of life. This will not only benefit ourselves but those around us, in hope of setting them free too.

back to category

Comments (0)

Be the first to add comment.

Add New Comment