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May 09, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Sacred Geometry, Part 2

Jeff Watt
Buddhist practice and Buddhist art have been inseparable in the Himalayas ever since Buddhism arrived to the region in the eighth century. But for the casual observer it can be difficult to make sense of the complex iconography. Not to worry—Himalayan art scholar Jeff Watt is here to help. In this "Himalayan Buddhist Art 101" series, Jeff is making sense of this rich artistic tradition by presenting weekly images from the Himalayan Art Resources archives and explaining their roles in the Buddhist tradition. Sacred Geometry, Part 1 Sacred Geometry, Part 2: The Tetrahedron More »
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May 08, 2013

Eastern Self/Western Self

Linda Heuman
We in the West are quite concerned these days with how to make the dharma authentically Western. But caution please, folks. Before we start inventing a new flavor of Buddhism to suit Western palettes, it is important to look closely at the implicit assumptions we are bringing to this project. More »
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May 07, 2013

Bearly Zen

Meet Bearly Zen, the most dedicated member of the Village Zendo sangha in lower Manhattan!This photo was snapped while we filmed the Village Zendo's abbot, Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara, for her May retreat, "Recognizing the Self." Watch the first week's teaching here (free for everyone!). Enkyo Roshi told us that Bearly Zen is always facing the appropriate way—towards the wall for meditation, away from the wall for chanting—but she never sees anyone move him. A very dedicated practitioner, indeed!   More »
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May 07, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Nyingma Founders Part 3, Nyangrel Nyima Ozer

Alexander Gardner
Biography and autobiography in Tibet are important sources for both education and inspiration. Tibetans have kept such meticulous records of their teachers that thousands of names are known and discussed in a wide range of biographical material. All these names, all these lives—it can be a little overwhelming. The authors involved in the Treasury of Lives are currently mining the primary sources to provide English-language biographies of every known religious teacher from Tibet and the Himalaya, all of which are organized for easy searching and browsing. Every Tuesday on the Tricycle blog, we will highlight and reflect on important, interesting, eccentric, surprising and beautiful stories found within this rich literary tradition. More »
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May 06, 2013

Sitting for Good: The Brooklyn Sit-a-thon

This Friday, May 11, Brooklyn Zen Center will hold a day-long sit-a-thon to raise funds for the Awake Youth Project, a program that the Zen center runs in partnership with Brooklyn College Community Partnership to bring mindfulness and meditation programs to Brooklyn youth. "Many of the young people with whom we work live with considerable economic hardship and risk for violence," say the staff members of Awake Youth Project, "They struggle with enormous stress, anxiety, anger and other strong emotions that make an already demanding life schedule all the more difficult. Consequently Awake Youth Project’s high school-based groups employ meditation and mindfulness practices to address the many challenges in the lives of our youth." More »
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May 06, 2013

New Online Retreat: Recognizing the Self

Our new May online retreat, "Recognizing the Self," with Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara, abbot of the Village Zendo in Manhattan, focuses on the importance of recognizing ourselves and maintaining that integrity in the often confusing cacophony of modern society. Organized into a study of Zen Master Dogen's three fundamental slogans—to study the enlightened way is to study the self; to study the self is to forget the self; and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the myriad things—Enkyo Roshi guides us to her own final conclusion: to be enlightened by the myriad things opens you to the bodhisattva path. Today's retreat teaching, "To Study the Self," tackles the first slogan. Enkyo Roshi emphasizes bringing our attention to and being intimate with ourselves, regardless of our recognitions or criticisms. By "turning the light inward," as Dogen says, we can become present in this moment and begin this very special consideration of who we really are. More »
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May 03, 2013

Buddha Buzz: Sex Tape and the Sangha

Alex Caring-Lobel
In Lowell, Massachusetts, a sex-tape scandal involves neither unscrupulous celebrities nor hapless victims of disgruntled exes, but a Buddhist temple, a monk, and a community organizer with some shady finances. The city's Cambodian community has been rocked by the recording of prominent community leader Maya Men having sex with a monk—in a temple. Both Men and the monk, Ven. Nhem Kimteng, were part of an executive committee responsible for fundraising and overseeing the construction of a new $10 million temple, thus involving the area's sizable Cambodian community, which settled in Lowell in the 1970s following the Khmer Rouge-led genocide in Cambodia. The committee was already mired in controversy with accusations of suspicious finances and a lack of transparency. More »
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May 02, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Sacred Geometry, Part 1

Jeff Watt
Buddhist practice and Buddhist art have been inseparable in the Himalayas ever since Buddhism arrived to the region in the eighth century. But for the casual observer it can be difficult to make sense of the complex iconography. Not to worry—Himalayan art scholar Jeff Watt is here to help. In this "Himalayan Buddhist Art 101" series, Jeff is making sense of this rich artistic tradition by presenting weekly images from the Himalayan Art Resources archives and explaining their roles in the Buddhist tradition. Sacred Geometry, Part 1 The geometry of the sacred in Buddhism is not the same as the study of iconometric measurements and grids. While the latter is used exclusively by artists to form deity and mandala diagrams to aesthetically pleasing proportions, the former is the understanding of shapes, functions, contexts, concepts, and colors of Tantric imagery and visualization. More »
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April 30, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Gendun Chopel

Asha Kaufman
Biography and autobiography in Tibet are important sources for both education and inspiration. Tibetans have kept such meticulous records of their teachers that thousands of names are known and discussed in a wide range of biographical material. All these names, all these lives—it can be a little overwhelming. The authors involved in the Treasury of Lives are currently mining the primary sources to provide English-language biographies of every known religious teacher from Tibet and the Himalaya, all of which are organized for easy searching and browsing. Every Tuesday on the Tricycle blog, we will highlight and reflect on important, interesting, eccentric, surprising and beautiful stories found within this rich literary tradition. Gendun Chopel More »
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April 26, 2013

Buddha Buzz: The Mindful Lifestyle Movement and "Insta-Karma"

Alex Caring-Lobel
Over at Maclean's Anne Kingston surveys the world of corporate mindfulness and the Buddhist reaction. "What has gripped Western attention," writes Kingston, "is mindfulness's ability to improve performance—of Olympic athletes, parents, and even nations, as promised in U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan’s 2012 bestseller, Mindful Nation." Mindfulness: the panacea to all our personal and societal ills. Tech entrepreneurs, corporations (benevolent and evil), publishers (Buddhist and non-Buddhist), and life-coaches of all stripes have been quick to capitalize on the "mindful" vogue. More »
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April 26, 2013

Meet Tokyo's Bartending Monk

Alex Caring-Lobel
Bartenders are easy to confide in. Not just because you're probably wasted, but because so many others have been before you. Your neighborhood barkeep has already heard it all, and though he might not be able to impart any sage advice, he's at least developed some good listening skills. While barkeeps seem to have always occupied this unique social position, it's therapists who often do these days. Before therapy, which developed from the Christian culture of confession and divulgence, it was the clergy who saddled this responsibility. Vowz Bar in Tokyo revitalizes that once important role of clergy, placing them right behind the bar, where Buddhist-themed cocktails are mixed for spiritually thirsty patrons. Run by monks in the bustling Shinjuku district, it's likely the only bar where boozy-and-stirred concoctions are offered with a prayer. More »
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April 25, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Iconometry, Proportions & Guidelines

Jeff Watt
Buddhist practice and Buddhist art have been inseparable in the Himalayas ever since Buddhism arrived to the region in the eighth century. But for the casual observer it can be difficult to make sense of the complex iconography. Not to worry—Himalayan art scholar Jeff Watt is here to help. In this "Himalayan Buddhist Art 101" series, Jeff is making sense of this rich artistic tradition by presenting weekly images from the Himalayan Art Resources archives and explaining their roles in the Buddhist tradition. Iconometry, Proportions & Guidelines More »
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April 25, 2013

Sneak Peek of our Summer 2013 Cover

An advance copy of the new issue of Tricycle, Summer 2013, arrived in the office yesterday. It goes online May 6, but until then, check out this sneak peek of the cover (we have to say, it's pretty cool...). And of course, take a look at our Spring 2013 issue in the meantime.   More »
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April 24, 2013

How to Change the World Without Getting Really Depressed

An Interview with John-Paul Flintoff
We all want to change the world, but we can quickly run up against despair, and worse, come to harbor the idea we can't make any difference whatsoever. In his new book from School of Life, How to Change the World, author and journalist John-Paul Flintoff offers examples of people who have done just that, and how they were able to do so. The fact is, whether we acknowledge it or not, we are all making a difference all the time. Flintoff implores us to be more conscious of that impact so that we may produce the effects we desire. Tricycle caught up with Flintoff via email to ask a few questions about the new book and how to overcome self-imposed obstacles to meaningful social change.   More »
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April 24, 2013

Purposeful Action

How to Change the World John-Paul Flintoff
How can I, one individual in a world of billions, hope to change anything? There are many reasons why this kind of defeatist question comes so easily to us. They include the way we have been brought up, a lifetime of putting up with things that frustrate or dismay us, and painful memories of failed attempts to Do Something. But the fact remains that we are all making a difference all the time. The real problem is that if we’re only affecting things unconsciously then we are probably not producing the effect we would wish for. More »
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April 24, 2013

A Tibetan Buddhist monk pays his respects to the Boston Marathon victims

A Tibetan Buddhist monk meditates during a moment of silence near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.   Photo from Getty Images. More »
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April 23, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Nyingma Founders Part 2, Dampa Deshek

Alexander Gardner
Biography and autobiography in Tibet are important sources for both education and inspiration. Tibetans have kept such meticulous records of their teachers that thousands of names are known and discussed in a wide range of biographical material. All these names, all these lives—it can be a little overwhelming. The authors involved in the Treasury of Lives are currently mining the primary sources to provide English-language biographies of every known religious teacher from Tibet and the Himalaya, all of which are organized for easy searching and browsing. Every Tuesday on the Tricycle blog, we will highlight and reflect on important, interesting, eccentric, surprising and beautiful stories found within this rich literary tradition. Part 1: Padmasambhava More »
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April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013: The Best of Tricycle's Green Archives

Happy Earth Day! Throughout the years, Tricycle has celebrated the relationship between the teachings of Buddhism and eco-consciousness. In 2009, we decided to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk: we were proud to obtain Forest Stewarship Council certification for our paper stock, which means that it comes from "responsibly managed forests." The entire chain of production for the paper we use, from the forests to the pulp providers, mills, merchants, and finally, our printer up in Vermont, have all received FSC certification.  For Earth Day 2013, we're revisiting the best of our "green" archives. Read, be inspired, and hug a tree (or save that for Arbor Day, on Friday).   More »
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April 22, 2013

Final Week of Gina Sharpe's Retreat: Granting Forgiveness

In this last week's teaching of insight meditation teacher Gina Sharpe's retreat, "Granting Forgiveness," she reviews the past weeks' practices that have culminated in the final and most difficult aspect of forgiveness: granting it to those whom we believe have harmed us. Guiding us from a metta practice into a forgiveness meditation, Sharpe calls on the forgiveness work that we have already done, and asks that we first face our pain, fully feeling all of our emotions, memories, and stories. Then she asks that we let it all go. Reminding us that forgiving others does not necessarily mean reconciliation—forgiveness is an internal, not an external practice—Sharpe lays out a template for a forgiveness practice that can and should last well beyond her four-week retreat.   More »
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April 19, 2013

Buddha Buzz: A Rough Week for Monks

Alex Caring-Lobel
It's been a rough week for Buddhist monks. I'm afraid that, if you're still holding on to any bit of romanticism regarding Buddhist monks, young or old, this week's news will crush it. It's been a devastating week news-wise, and it looks like the Buddhist world is no exception. More »