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April 19, 2013

Giggle Reel: The Dalai Lama

Cambridge University paper The Tab has compiled a reel of all the Dalai Lama's chortles from a press conference this morning in Cambridge, England. We challenge you to watch without cracking a smile.     More »
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April 18, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Prayer Flags, 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.   Prayer Flags, Part 2 More »
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April 17, 2013

The Myth of Progress

Lama Jampa Thaye
And there may be no "progress" in religion, in practice, or in the Dharma, either. —Gary Snyder   I’ve been hearing from some people recently that Buddhism needs to change to fit with these modern times. I’m not sure what Buddhism they’re talking about. More »
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April 16, 2013

Treasury of Lives: The Sera Hermitage Founders

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.   The Sera Hermitage Founders More »
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April 15, 2013

A Good Death

NY Zen Center for Contemplative Care in the NY Times
The work of our good friend Robert Chodo Campbell was featured in a short article and photo series in the New York Times yesterday. Campbell is one of the Executive Directors for New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, an organization that provides direct care to the sick, dying, and suffering. The series shows Campbell with his friend John Hawkins in the months leading up to and the immediate hours after Hawkins' death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Both the photos and the accompanying article—a brief but moving testimonial from the photographer, Joshua Bright, on the effects of witnessing death firsthand—are honest and sweet, even graceful. More »
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April 15, 2013

Third Week of Gina Sharpe's Retreat: Asking for Forgiveness

In this third week's installment of insight meditation teacher Gina Sharpe's retreat, "Asking for Forgiveness," she requests that we reflect on those thoughts, words, and deeds that we feel we would like to be forgiven for. Stressing that we should be honest with ourselves, and warning us to resist the ease of blaming others, Sharpe guides us to reflect on our past mistakes without shame or guilt. "The beauty of spiritual work," she says, "is that we joyously remember that it is possible to shift our lives, and that that shifting comes through a change of heart and mind." Through a variety of metta practice and forgiveness meditations, she explains what it means to ask for forgiveness— that it is an internal practice, not something that promises reconciliation or obligates reforming relationships. She asks us to remember this wisdom from the Dhammapada: More »
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April 12, 2013

Buddha Buzz: The Burmese Holocaust and the Anti-Sexual Abuse Fork Test

Emma Varvaloucas
Awful news continues to pour out of Burma, where Vice is now reporting that Muslim Rohingya women are being kept hostage in military camps as sex slaves. Since the Rohingya are not considered to be citizens of Burma and therefore have no legal rights, it's not likely that there will be government action to free these women (<--the understatement of the century). According to the Vice article, by journalist Assed Baig, local villagers who live around the camps are "aware that women are being kept as prisoners but are too scared to speak out." More »
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April 11, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Prayer Flags, 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. Prayer Flags, Part 1 More »
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April 11, 2013

The World is Places: Extras from the Current Issue of Tricycle

For every interview or feature that appears in the pages of Tricycle, there sits a pile of editorial content on the cutting room floor that didn't make the final version. But that's what the Internet is for, no? In the current issue of Tricycle, former editor Sam Mowe speaks with religious studies scholar Jeff Wilson about the relationship between place and religion—where we're from, where we've been, and where we are now has a greater effect on our practice, Wilson says, than we often realize. Below is an exchange that didn't make it into the printed interview. You can read the full conversation, "The World is Places," here. More »
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April 09, 2013

Zen Graffiti

Artist Jens Jansen renders zazen in spray paint
Jens Jansen is ordained in the Soto Zen lineage. He teaches art and design in Frankfurt, Germany. More »
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April 09, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Nyingma Founders Part 1, Padmasambhava

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.   Nyingma Founders, Part 1: Padmasambhava More »
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April 08, 2013

Second Week of Gina Sharpe's Retreat: Forgiving Ourselves

In the second week's teaching of Gina Sharpe's retreat, "Forgiving Ourselves," she walks us through the first steps on the path of forgiveness, focusing on the initial process of forgiving ourselves and relieving the burden of past thoughts and actions. Asking us to reflect on our values and deep aspirations, Sharpe explores how regret, self-blame, and other fixations with the past keep us trapped in modes of self-inflicted suffering. By developing the resolve that it is possible to let go of these old habits and create new perceptions with practice, we begin to cultivate the fertile ground in our hearts necessary for the next steps of the forgiveness practice. More »
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April 05, 2013

Buddha Buzz: The Kindness of Roger Ebert and the Magical Effects of Mindfulness Meditation

Emma Varvaloucas
We're surrounded, today and yesterday, with the deaths of beloved cultural icons. Today is the sixteenth anniversary of Allen Ginsberg's death. And yesterday, as I'm sure you know already, the prolific film critic Roger Ebert passed away at 70 years old. You can read his obit by the Chicago Sun-Times, his home newspaper for almost 50 years, here. More »
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April 05, 2013

Die When You Die

The Sixteenth Anniversary of Allen Ginsberg's Death Alex Caring-Lobel
Renowned poet and Tricycle contributor Allen Ginsberg passed away 16 years ago today. He used to sing this song he'd written called "Gospel Noble Truths" in this wobbly but painfully sincere voice. His delivery was earnest but freeing. Only Ginsberg could convey such devastating truths imbued with a freeing quality that gives you immeasurable courage. More »
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April 04, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Vajradaka's Purification by Fire

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. Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Vajradaka's Purification by Fire More »
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April 04, 2013

On Meditation: An interview with filmmaker Rebecca Dreyfus

Rebecca Dreyfus is the director of the forthcoming film series On Meditation, which documents the inner journey of meditation through portraits of practitioners from a variety of traditions. The team has so far filmed the Venerable Metteya, Hatha yoga teacher Elena Brower, author and Zen practitioner Peter Matthiessen, actor Giancarlo Esposito, and mindful congressman Tim Ryan. Filmmaker David Lynch is slated next. Known for her feature-length documentary Stolen, Dreyfus was inspired to film On Meditation by a curiosity about other people’s practices and a desire to cultivate her own. Tricycle spoke to Dreyfus earlier in the week by email about the impetus behind the film series and the challenges of depicting an inward-turning practice on film. More »
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April 03, 2013

Bhutan seeks to curb sexual diseases among Buddhist monks

NEW DELHI (RNS) Health officials in the tiny Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan are making condoms available at all monastic schools in a bid to stem the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV among young monks who are supposed to be celibate."We are making condoms freely available everywhere, even in monastic schools and colleges," Bhutan's minister of health, Zangley Drukpa, said in a phone interview. The ministry, he added, has formed a special action group to deal with STDs in monasteries.Warning signs of risky behavior among monks first appeared in 2009, when a report on risks and vulnerabilities of adolescents revealed that monks were engaging in "thigh sex" (in which a man uses another man's clenched thighs for intercourse), according to the state-owned Kuensel daily. More »
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April 02, 2013

Treasury of Lives: The Controversy of the Golden Urn

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. The Controversy of the Golden Urn More »
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April 01, 2013

NewsLeek: Blackwater to Integrate Intensive Mindfulness Course into Tactics and Weapons Training

Alex Caring-Lobel
Last week Academi LLC, formerly Blackwater Worldwide, announced the introduction of a mindfulness course module into their universal tactics and weapons basic training course. Founded in 1997, the military contractor has been the largest US private security contractor in the world since the beginning of the Iraq War. The new mindfulness training, they hope, will slow the ever-increasing number of civilian casualties that the company racks up in Iraq and Afghanistan, and prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the company's other operable zones at home and abroad. More »
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April 01, 2013

New Online Retreat: The Power of Forgiveness: Forgiving Ourselves and Others

Our new April online retreat with Gina Sharpe, co-founder of the New York Insight Meditation Center, addresses the difficult topic of forgiveness as a personal practice. Reflecting on the meaning of forgiveness, exploring what it is as much as what it is not, Sharpe helps us to see forgiveness as a practice of compassion and lovingkindness for ourselves. "Forgiveness," she says, "is not about condoning, or redeeming, or even reconciliation." "It is not about the perpetrator," she continues,"or about someone else. It is actually about us." Gently guiding us to a deeper understanding of forgiveness, she prepares us for a journey that will last beyond the four weeks of the retreat. Concluding with a lovingkindness meditation, she asks us to remember the Buddha's wisdom from the Dhammapada: "Hatred does not cease by hatred, but by love alone is healed. That is the ancient, and eternal law." More »