We wish to share the statement and results from the Against the Stream Meditation Society (ATS) on the recent allegations of sexual misconduct about Noah Levine, founder of the ATS and author of Dharma Punx which we fist addressed in this post.
In short, the Against the Steam Meditation Society recently stated that: “Ms. Yang [the independent investigator] concluded that with multiple women, Mr. Levine violated the Third Precept of the Teacher’s Code of Ethics, namely, “to avoid creating harm through sexuality.”” and ATS shared “The standard for evaluating a Buddhist teacher’s actions are not the same as the criminal or even the civil standards of proof. Spiritual leaders are held to a higher ethical standard than the public at large and higher than other community leaders. However, ATS’ conclusion is not a finding of guilt or liability by a court; it is our conclusion based on our own evaluation of the evidence presented to us. Mr. Levine denied, and continues to deny, wrongdoing.”
To read in full the ATS statement please see this article by Lion’s Roar. There is also this article from Tricycle, though it does not share the full ATS statement.
The impact of this investigation on ATS is that as of September 30th the Against the Steam Meditation Society will dissolve.
What does this mean for Phoenix Dharma Punks? Well, operationally, nothing really. As we shared in our previous post we aren’t really an official group of any kind and we’ve never been anything more than loosely connected to the ATS and Noah – please see the post for the exact details. Thus we will continue to meet just as we have, as a group of individuals who practice and share the Dharma together.
What we have done in response to this news is remove the links we previous had on this site to Noah, his books, the Against the Stream Meditation Society, and Refuge Recovery (which is a for profit organization which Noah is a principal owner.)
It is not our place to judge, and we certainly don’t have all the facts to do so, but given the disillusion of the ATS, and the loose nature of our groups’ association to begin with, these steeps seem both reasonable and called for.
“If you find a wise and virtuous traveler to share the path with rejoice. If you find no one of benefit to walk with (at the moment), walk on alone.” – paraphrased Dhammapada