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November 16, 2006

West Eats Meat

Andrew Merz
What is undoubtedly one of the premiere websites on Buddhism and vegetarianism launched this week. Shabkar.org is named after the Tibetan yogi Shabkar Tsodruk Rangdrol (1781-1851), who adopted vegetarianism far before it was an advisable practice in high-altitude, low-crop Tibet. His teachings on the subject are collected in Food of Bodhisattvas: Buddhist Teachings on Abstaining from Meat from Shambhala Publications. One of the first questions Western Buddhists seem to get (upon "outing") is "are you a vegetarian?", often accompanied by a smirk of varying degrees of smugness. Whatever the stereotype is here in the West, vegetarianism is by no means the norm in the Asian Buddhist world--no Buddhist lay population has ever been primarily vegetarian, and the monastic orders of a number of countries do indeed eat meat. More »
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November 14, 2006

Lives and insights of the early masters in the Dzogchen lineage

I would like to take this opportunity to intruduce Wellsprings of the Great Perfection, a book on the early Dzogchen masters and their poetry. It's a labor of love I've been working on over the last twelve years. Here are some excerpts: Throughout history great individuals have appeared to inspire others. They formulate their insights to help others transform their lives, and find meaning and happiness, even liberation and enlightenment. The philosophy and stories of these great ones, passed down by the first recipients, often have such a force and strength that thousands of years later, their lives and values continue to be sources of inspiration. The present recipient—always at the end of a long line, like at the water tap from a pipe originating at a mountain spring—must hear of the origin of the teaching and its teacher, to know and have trust in its authenticity, before turning on the water and drinking. More »
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November 01, 2006

On the Bookshelf

James Shaheen
Sam Harris, bestselling author of The End of Faith and telegenic darling of the Godless set, has recently come out with a new title—Letter to a Christian Nation. For those who've been waiting for someone to debunk the miraculous or tell us that Leviticus could use an update, it's a real treat. After all, it's been a long six years. More »
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October 24, 2006

Atrocities Against Dalits

Philip Ryan
The Buddhist Channel reports on terrible atrocities committed to Indian Dalits. This is news because of the anniversary of Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism, and the continued incentives for Dalits to leave the caste system. Philip Ryan, Webmaster More »
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October 16, 2006

Untouchables Still Turning to Buddhism

Philip Ryan
The Dalai Lama and others have spread the message that religions should no longer compete for "market share" and Buddhism is not generally thought of a missionary religion, but it's still picking up converts. In Nagpur, India on October 14, the 50th anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism, more than 9000 untouchables or dalits—this according to Catholic News, though actual numbers seem to vary significantly in different accounts—followed his lead and converted as well. More »
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October 13, 2006

Chinese Border Guards: "We Killed in Self-Defense."

Andrew Merz
*update* Now there's video of the killing taken by a Romanian climber, first shown on Romanian TV, available on Youtube in English. the galling Chinese acknowledgement of the shooting, via the Australian paper The Age the climbers' accounts of the shooting, from mounteverest.net. Andrew Merz, Associate Editor More »
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October 13, 2006

Shooting Follow-Up

Andrew Merz
A friend who works at Human Rights in China sent me their press release about the shooting I mentioned in my last post, including the links below. The seventeen-year-old Tibetan nun killed was named Kelsang Namtso, from Nagchu prefecture in central Tibet. More »
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October 12, 2006

Train to Nowhere

Andrew Merz
The new hi-tech railroad to Lhasa, Tibet, has been getting lots of press lately, as much for its technological innovations as for the threat it poses to Tibetan culture; easier access means that many more Chinese settlers, who already greatly outnumber Tibetans in the capital. However, in case you were thinking the situation in Tibet had slowed to a colonial economic creep, here's a story straight from the days of the Iron Curtain. The BBC is reporting that a group of British climbers witnessed Chinese soldiers shoot and kill a young Tibetan nun trying to flee to Nepal with a group of other Tibetans. Andrew Merz, Associate Editor More »
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October 11, 2006

Kicking Enlightenment

Andrew Merz
From time to time, we'll be posting short reviews and descriptions of some of the books and films, etc., that we get here in the Tricycle office but just don't have space for in the magazine. There are so many worthwhile but low-budget projects out there, hopefully a little exposure here will help some of them out... More »
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October 11, 2006

The Mind's Attachment to The Body

Philip Ryan
After meeting with the Dalai Lama, Supermodel Elle Macpherson is dropping her lawsuit against fellow model Heidi Klum, according to the UK's Life Style Extra. It seems Elle was miffed that Heidi released a bra called "The Body." A spokesperson for Elle said, "We have numerous press clipping in the office referring to her as 'The Body'. In terms of public record, that name belongs to Elle." But Heidi has her own claim to the nickname. She's the face of a Victoria's Secret campaign called "Body by Victoria." About her bra Heidi said: "They call me 'The Body' and now I have one named after me." Elle was ready to call in the lawyers until her meeting with the Dalai Lama. As Elle put it: "A few people have made me stop in my tracks and the Dalai Lama would be one of them." And the nickname itself? "It's no big deal for me. She can have it." Way to let go, Elle. More »
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October 11, 2006

Welcome!

Philip Ryan
Welcome to the Tricycle Blog! I know, we already have blogs on tricycle.com, but this one will be a little different. Instead of Buddhist teachers and scholars writing about topics they've thought about deeply, the Tricycle Blog will contain the passing thoughts and inspirations of the thoroughly unenlightened Tricycle editors. It’s not the official voice of the magazine, and the opinions here represent nobody but the writer, but we hope you enjoy it! Philip Ryan, Webmaster More »
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October 07, 2006

What makes a Buddhist?

Over the last decade, there has been a fascinating discussion about Buddhism for the West—whether the Buddha's teachings should be adapted or imported with all the cultural trappings, whether we should all dressed up as Tibetans, Burmese monks and Zen masters, or whether it is our duty to create a new brand such as "American Buddhism." Since I'm supposed to be a spokesperson here for the Tibetan tradition, it brings up an interesting point: was there really a "Tibetan Buddhism"? I wonder. That branding sounds a bit like it was made by early explorers and travelers who simply described what they saw—from the outside. You probably heard names like Lamaism, the Yellow and Red Hat Sect. More »
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August 25, 2006

Effortless (almost) farming

FUKUOKA - A Japanese agro-philosopher developed a farming practice called "Natural Farming", in response to modern organic agricultural methods that degrade soil. He encourages "no till" methods of grain cultivation, and the idea of letting nature do the farming work for you. He wrote an important book called One Straw Revolution, and introduced the idea of "seed balls", self propagating balls of clay containing hundreds of seeds, to the world: The Natural Way of Farming by Masanobu Fukuoka. Check out: www.seedballs.com I would be very interested in hearing some practical experience with this method. More »
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August 16, 2006

Cultivation of Flowers and Vegetables the Mahayana Way

It was just the other night that I heard about some ethical way of growing things in your garden without "having to" leave casualties in one's wake. Have any of your heard something called "Mahayana Cultivation" by Fukuoka? More »
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August 02, 2006

A "Buddhist Thing"

By Erik Pema Kunsang
Recently, the folks at Tricycle asked me to begin writing a blog on this website since there was no other Westerner directly representing the Tibetan branch of Buddhism. Now I wonder what I got myself into. I thought about this opportunity and feel that a blog opens up many possibilities for exchange. Here is an opener. All levels of the Buddha’s teachings emphasize respect for the living – not just human life but animals and even insects. But refraining from needlessly snuffing harmless creatures out of existence is not necessarily a “Buddhist thing." Isn't it also the First Commandment? My non-Buddhist mother taught my siblings and me be kind to animals. Early childhood memories include a story, told with abject horror, of a local farmer who put newborn kittens into a sack an smacked them against the wall. More »
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April 18, 2006

Welcome!

Welcome to the all new Tricycle blog. Our editorial staff will be posting all manner of interesting material here, from links to websites and stories that catch our eye to commentary on hot topics in the public eye, with free links to pieces in the Tricycle archives. Check back often, and let us know what you think! Rediscovering Judas Nothing has dominated public discourse like religion has in recent years, and in political life, we hear most often from the fundamentalist extremes. But a growing number of voices—from Tikkun magazine’s Michael Lerner to scholars Karen Armstrong, and Elaine Pagels—navigate the moderate middle, finding in the world’s greatest traditions an evolving ethos of tolerance and compassion. Tricycle has given airing to each of them, and in recent weeks, these thinkers have found themselves in the spotlight once again. More »