Home > Musings > A New Perspective on the Buddha

A New Perspective on the Buddha

I first found out about Noah’s books after a friend recommended his autobiography to me.

Entitled Dharma Punx, it tells the story of a troubled youth growing up during the heydays of punk. Moving from city to city, his parents split, Noah turne to drugs and punk rock to vent his anger – the classic “rebellious teenager” stereotype.

Eventually the drugs took over and the punk stopped – it had to come to the point where he was on a first-name basis with many of the guards at his local juvy before he realized his addictions and behaviour were killing him. In desperation, he called his father to ask for help.

His father introduced him to an awareness meditation that day and in doing so saved his son’s life. After leaving juvy, Noah hopped from religion to religion, even entering a cult, until he found Buddhism.

Believe it or not, there are enough punks-turned-Buddhists that they have started a thriving community. They call themselves the Dharma Punx: dharma is the Indian word that refers to the teachings of the Buddha. The book and the community are both fantastically interesting, and the book was life-changing for me. I highly recommend it.

In any case, the other day at Indigo I picked up a copy of Against the Stream. He calls it “a Buddhist manual for spiritual revolutionaries”. At first that seemed a little odd – Buddhism doesn’t seem very revolutionary. It seems placid; revolution doesn’t fit with that.

But when you look at the Buddha, he was a spiritual revolutionary. He swam against the stream of popular religion (Hinduism, at the time), and against his parents’ wishes. In a way, he was an angsty teenager too.

Funny, until I read that I never would have thought of the Buddha as a rebel.



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