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September 16, 2014

Mindfulness at Moonshine Hollow

Seeking an escape from the hum of academic life, a theology professor finds solace among the stone cliffs and sycamore trees of southeast Missouri. Belden C. Lane
The locals call it Moonshine Hollow, or Mooner's Hollow, partly because of the haunting character of the moonlight in this small, isolated valley. It forces you to pay attention to the thousand shades of shadow and light you'd never thought to distinguish before. The phenomenon has something to do with the curvature of the ravine here, as light reflects off stone cliffs above and the lithe, white limbs of sycamore trees below. Whatever accounts for it, Moonshine Hollow is well named. More »
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September 15, 2014

Tricycle Talks: Andrew Holecek, The Good Death

A conversation with Tibetan Buddhist teacher Andrew Holecek
Tricycle Talks: Now in iTunes More »
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September 12, 2014

Stephen Colbert: The 15th Dalai Lama?

The host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report makes a stunning announcement.
In 2007, Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, announced his run for President of the United States. Now, in the midst of this week’s media frenzy regarding the question of the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso's successor, Colbert dropped another bombshell on the Nation: he will be the 15th Dalai Lama. Finally, a successor that both Tibetans and China can agree on. On a more serious note, the media, at the least at first, got this story mostly wrong. Read our coverage here. More »
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September 10, 2014

The End of the Dalai Lama?

Not exactly. Alex Caring-Lobel
The Dalai Lama's likely reaction to the current media frenzy. An interview with the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso by the Sunday edition of German paper Die Welt has caused quite a stir in the media and in Tibetan communities across the globe. More »
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September 09, 2014

Going Back to the Source

A conversation between Stephen Batchelor and Henry Shukman
Stephen Batchelor and Henry Shukman, both Tricycle contributing editors, sat down for a thoroughgoing conversation at the Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico on "Going Back to the Source." Batchelor is a widely published scholar who has trained formally in Tibetan, Theravada, and Zen Buddhism. Shukman, meanwhile, is the head teacher at Mountain Cloud and an accomplished poet and novelist. More »
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August 31, 2014

The Reluctant Mystic

A review of Barbara Ehrenreich's Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth About Everything Roberta Werdinger
Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth About Everything By Barbara EhrenreichGrand Central Publishing 256 pp.; $26.00 cloth More »
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August 31, 2014

Direct and Gradual

The Platform Sutra tells the story of how, after a split in the sangha, the Northern school sends a spy to steal teachings from its southern counterpart. Master Huineng
The Platform Sutra, a classic of Zen Buddhism attributed to the Sixth Patriarch Huineng, tells the story of the aftermath of the religion's split into two schools: Northern and Southern. In this selection, the Northern Master Shenxiu sends a spy to gather teachings from the Southern Master Huineng. But the reconnaissance does not go as planned.—Ed. More »
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August 28, 2014

Dharma in Action

Our collective economic practices are endangering life on Earth. It’s time to set a new course through collective action. Ven. Santussika Bhikkhuni
As our dharma practice deepens, it begins to inform and influence everything we do, including how we engage with the important moral and social issues of our times. At this moment in human history, the unrestrained extraction and burning of fossil fuels has brought us, in the industrialized nations, to the point where we are contaminating and pillaging the Earth to such an extreme that we are endangering all life on this planet. Nothing could be further from the intention and practice of dharma. More »
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August 26, 2014

What's in a Word?

The trials of a major effort to translate Tibetan scripture into English Sarah K. C. Wilkinson
Terminology. Syntax. Diction. All words likely to send my mind wandering. And yet there I was, at the conference of 84000: Translating the Words of Buddha, in Bodhgaya, India, in a room full of high lamas and scholars who were convening to determine how to transmit Mahayana teachings to the world. It wasn’t just important. It was fascinating. More »
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August 22, 2014

Beware the Charismatic Guru

Cultic gurus do not liberate their followers but entrap them. John Snelling
The following article by John Snelling (1943-1992) was first published in 1982. As reports of abusive teacher-student relationships in Buddhist communities continue to surface, Snelling’s essay remains just as relevant today. We hope that its republication here, along with the suggested readings that follow, will provide further food for thought. —Ed.Of course, in following a spiritual path—as in anything in life—one needs information, support, and the guidance of experienced people. We could call those who supply these essentials teachers—though perhaps spiritual friends is a better term. Traditionally in both East and West such people have lived modestly and often in seclusion, avoiding the public gaze. Some, however, on account of their very rare gifts and achievements, attained fame and sizeable followings. The Buddha is an example from the distant past, Sri Ramana Maharshi from more recent times. More »
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August 21, 2014

Monks in Ferguson

Six Tibetan monks join Ferguson demonstrators to support justice for Mike Brown. Joshua Eaton
Tensions continued to escalate in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, on August 9. His death set off days of protests and a heavy-handed, militarized police response that has sparked national outrage. But Ferguson residents got a pleasant surprise on Sunday: A visit from a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks. “Ferguson was a very heated issue in our backyard,” explained Patty Maher, who is hosting the monks during their stay in St. Louis. “Sunday was their day off. . . . We didn't know what to expect, but they gladly went. And as you saw, their presence was profound.” More »
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August 20, 2014

What Were They Thinking?

A Buddhist-feminist scholar responds to an all-male panel on the “risks and benefits” of opening Buddhist leadership to women Rita M. Gross
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August 15, 2014

Now Showing: Satori

For America's favorite irreverent writer, Robin Williams's The Fisher King is an unbidden, instantaneous round-trip ticket to satori. Tom Robbins
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August 14, 2014

Moving from a Culture of Death to a Culture of Life

A mere change in technologies will not suffice to avert climate change. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
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August 11, 2014

Do We Really "Have No Choice"?

An Israeli Buddhist argues that if we truly yearned for peace, we would respect human dignity. Stephen Fulder
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August 06, 2014


Sooner or later, whether from panic or in our final hour, each of us will find ourselves breathless. A former neuropsychologist offers three tips for when awareness of breath becomes difficult or even impossible. Meikyo Robert Rosenbaum
Many meditators learn first to focus on the breath, following it mindfully in the manner described in the Satipatthana Sutta; counting breaths in a way frequently taught at Zen centers; or using one of the many methods of pranayama from yoga. None of these work very well when breathing is compromised. I recently recovered from a bout of pertussis (“whooping cough”)—what the Chinese call the hundred-day cough. For three months my meditation was marked by a heavy chest and constricted bronchioles, and deep breaths would bring on paroxysms of coughing. More »
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August 01, 2014

A Shamarpa without Borders

After over a month of political turmoil, the 14th Shamar Rinpoche is cremated in Nepal. Ralph Frammolino
KATHMANDU, Nepal—It was the kind of ceremony that the honored guest seemed to be directing from the Beyond: thousands of students and admirers, from peons to a Nepalese government minister, converging on a half-built monastery to attend the traditional cremation rite of a vajra master that, even in death, stirred up an international fuss. They came to honor the 14th Shamar Rinpoche, Mipham Chokyi Lodro (1952–2014), a spiritual force who understood that staying true to his calling as the second-highest ranking lama of the Karma Kagyu order wouldn't win him any dharmic popularity contests. To many, he was a polarizing figure, an uncompromising traditionalist. More »
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July 30, 2014

Joshu Sasaki Roshi, Rinzai Zen Master, Dies at 107

The influential teacher leaves a mixed legacy. Mark Oppenheimer
On Sunday, Joshu Sasaki Roshi, a Rinzai Zen Buddhist who came to the United States in 1962 and went on to become one of the country’s most influential, if not most controversial, Zen teachers, died at Cedars-Sinai medical center in Los Angeles. He was 107 years old. Although said to have no dharma heirs, Joshu Roshi had legions of followers who founded about 30 Zen centers, from Seattle to Oslo, Vancouver to Berlin, some of which later closed. He led a large center in Los Angeles and two training centers in the Southwest, one in New Mexico and one at Mount Baldy, in the mountains east of Los Angeles. The poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen lived at Mount Baldy in the 1990s, lending his teacher a semimythic status among spiritually inclined rock fans. More »
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July 25, 2014

From Monastery to Marketplace

Mindfulness is no longer just a form of meditation—it’s a lifestyle that can be bought and sold. Is there an upside? Jeff Wilson