The Interview That Wasn’t

Noah Levine outline

Earlier this year we slated up an interview with Noah Levine. That interview never took place a last minute cancellation came and no further contact has been made. There’s no sense in good show notes going to waste, Enjoy.

The Unusual Buddha Podcast (006)


Noah Levine

Intro – I’ll intro podcast, myself, episode Segway to you

Intro – You intro yourself

All questions are of course to your level of comfort

Elephant in the room questions (Current)

-How do you feel about the decision by Spirit Rock pulling your authorization to teach?

Do you feel you were given a fair shake?

Is there any kind of appeal process, would you challenge their decision?

-Reading some of the articles it sounds like Jack Kornfield wasn’t involved in this decision, have you spoken with him?

-What is your side of the story regarding the events?

-Do you feel that the decisions made were made from a place of compassion?

-Were you targeted? If so why

-Did you violate any precepts?

Moving forward (where are you headed)

Will you continue to teach,

*if so will it be a solo endeavor or will you look to put together another organization?

-Is the credibility of your message diminished by the Spirit Rock’s decision?

-will you seek to regain your teaching authorization?

-What does this mean for the Refuge Recovery folks?

-What can we expect from you moving forward?

Direct questions from the Ethics and Reconciliation Committee statement and report

– This is a quote from the report “Separately, Dr. Kornfield has withdrawn his authorization for  Mr. Levine to teach, and, following the Buddhist tradition of Sanghadisesa, will allow this to be revisited in years ahead, should Mr. Levine demonstrate a significant transformation.”

What do they mean “significant transformation”, what exactly are they looking for from you?

-“Even in the absence of the initial allegations of sexual assault, Mr. Levine’s behavior has otherwise been so troubling that we would have reached this same conclusion.”

Can you discuss what other “behaviors” they found so troubling?

FAN QUESTIONS (This section will grow a bit as we get closer to the interview as with everything else answer to your comfort)

>Ben asks

“Can you touch on the difference between Buddhism as a religion and Buddhism as a practice for release/awareness/growth/freedom/etc.

>Tina writes

My question would be, who somehow found her way into living in the IMS sangha and knowing how echelon-y it can be (IMS people literally sometimes refers to it as The Mothership), I’m curious as to how he feels about this new not-quite-lineaged dharma that is emerging in the west and is inviting a bigger audience to the teachings or at least a taste of them than ever before

>JoAnna Hardy (who asked to be mentioned by name)

1) If you couldn’t earn a living from teaching, what would you do to make money? 
2) Is Buddhism your best chance to make money? 
3) How much do financial pressures inform your teaching decisions? 
4) How would you know if you were deluded and SRMC/ATS/RR were trying to send you an important message? 

>JoAnna Harper

The level of codependency, greed, narcissism, paranoia and enabling are so very powerful and extreme here; who are your real friends and teachers and are you getting help?

>Mark writes

As someone who came to the dharma through Against the Stream, it has been very sad to see it all come apart like this as many people felt it spoke to them. What responsibility do you think you have for this? And why should we trust your judgement when many good teachers of Against the Stream and respected teachers like Jack Kornfield think your conduct was unwise and not that of a Buddhist teacher?


I struggle daily to stay positive in such a hate filled negative world. How do you do it?

>Simian Uprising

Please ask Noah if he wants the ATS report to be published publicly, as The American Buddhist has called for, or if he pushed to have it kept secret.


When the scandal broke, it probably would have been easier to just disappear for a couple months. That’s what other teachers have done recently after accusations surfaced and it seems to help a little. Why didn’t you do that?

Whatever happened with you and the women accusing you may not have been a crime but why do so many people believe that what you did was wrong? And not just people that don’t know you but people that have known you as a friend, employer or teacher for many years? Are they all wrong about you?


Why do so many people believe that you did “cause harm through sexuality”?

How did Spirit Rock treat you unfairly? Their statement says they gave you more than one opportunity to tell your side of the story.


Is it true you had sex with a married woman? Will you talk about that?”

“This is about your life story. I’ve never seen anyone ask you this. I’ve read that you became a drug addict when you were 13. I read somewhere else that you first smoked pot when you were 6. This all led to a life of criminal behavior and luckily you were able to turn your life around before you turned 18. Is there embellishment in this story? Did you smoke pot when you were 6? Which leads to the question: where were your parents? Were they trying and failing to deal with you? Were they good parents that did the best they could with an awful child or were they absent parents? Can you talk about the efforts your parents made to straighten you out throughout your childhood?”

Closing Thoughts


Any points you want to hit on and emphasize. Please plug any books, appearances, upcoming projects, sites, pages, etc


I’ll cover my closing thoughts and points to emphasize (I’ll gather these directly from the interview).  I’ll also cover my Patreon shout out obligation. It will be a mention of 10 people by first name then a I’ll read our Patreon URL

Question of the day

What question do you want to ask anyone listening? Any topic.  Followers can answer it on Twitter @notthebuddha and/or they can comment their answer on a post I’ll be creating with “Question of the day” as the theme.

Hopefully you all got a little something out of this one.  I think this would have been a good one.

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