Tricycle Blog

Our daily diary of the global Buddhist movement Subscribe to feed
Tricycle Community 0 comments

December 16, 2008

Brooks has Buddhism on the Brain

Maybe I can interview him for Tricycle. Discussing Malcolm Gladwell's new book, he David Brooks writes: Most successful people also have a phenomenal ability to consciously focus their attention. We know from experiments with subjects as diverse as obsessive-compulsive disorder sufferers and Buddhist monks that people who can self-consciously focus attention have the power to rewire their brains. Control of attention is the ultimate individual power. People who can do that are not prisoners of the stimuli around them. They can choose from the patterns in the world and lengthen their time horizons. This individual power leads to others. It leads to self-control, the ability to formulate strategies in order to resist impulses. More »
Tricycle Community 8 comments

December 15, 2008

Tricycle and Nichiren Buddhism

The current issue of Tricycle features an interview by contributing editor Clark Strand with Daisaku Ikeda, President of Soka Gakkai International. The interview, which was made available online, has become one of our most widely read web articles. Soon after it was posted, Buddhajones, an independent Nichiren-themed site, developed a thread with comments (many evidently posted by former SGI members) many of which criticized SGI and Tricycle for not being more critical of the organization. Below is editor-at-large Andrew Cooper’s entry to the thread, which was meant, in his words, to explain, how the magazine “viewed this interview as an editorial matter.” It might be of interest here, as the points it makes are relevant not only to that particular article but also to issues of diversity and inclusiveness for meditation-oriented Buddhists, as well as the sometimes thorny task of dealing editorially with controversies within Buddhist communities. This is a slightly abridged version, and readers can find the entire post, as well as the rest of the thread here. My name is Andrew Cooper and I am the Tricycle editor who worked with Clark Strand to develop his interview with Daisaku Ikeda. Please allow me to address, in a general way, some of the concerns raised in this thread. It would be presumptuous of me to attempt to speak to the specific disagreements among Nichiren Buddhists, but I can try to explain how we at Tricycle viewed this interview as an editorial matter. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

December 15, 2008

Two from the Times

Dharma Punx on the Bowery and retreats in the Catskills. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

December 12, 2008

American Dreaming; Lama Zopa Rinpoche

In a recent column in The Nation, Patricia Williams comments on the front page of the December 8th New York Times, which features a photograph of Detroit churchgoers praying to three gleaming white SUVs in hopes that the auto industry might be saved. While these parishioners undoubtedly provoked haughty disbelief over no small number of breakfasts—a delighted bit of disdain at such base veneration for a "once-golden, now dried-up cash cow," as Williams puts it—what does it say of the Times and the national appetite that the piece made for headline news? Following an election played out on CNN by Joe the Plumber and "the black vote," as Wolf Blitzer would have it, it's important that we pay skeptical attention to the ways we personify the economic crisis. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

December 11, 2008

Thailand Yanks the Economist; A Pattern Language

The Economist is yanked from Thai newsstands for running a story critical of the monarchy. Can we build a beautiful world? Christopher Alexander, author of the groundreaking A Pattern Language, thinks so. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

December 10, 2008

If you only do one thing today

Why not make it signing this petition? Courtesy Danny Fisher. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

December 10, 2008

Faulkner and Fear

58 years ago today William Faulkner received the Nobel Prize in literature. In his acceptance speech—which no one understood until they read it the next day in the paper because he was too far from the microphone—Faulkner said that "the basest of all things is to be afraid." In a Dharma Talk we are preparing for the next issue of Tricycle, Zen teacher Ezra Bayda stresses the same point: He writes that fear "is at the root of all conflict, underlying much of our sorrow" and offers guidance about how to practice with it. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

December 09, 2008

Right Livelihood Award laureates announced; Amy Goodman among them

The Nobel Prize, for all the much-deserved attention it draws to innovative and important people (HH The Dalai Lama among them), has attracted criticism for its selection process—individuals are chosen by predetermined panels, ruling out less-famous potential candidates. In 1980, Jakob von Uexkull founded the Right Livelihood Award, which has come to be known as the "Alternative Nobel Prize." Unlike the Nobel, the award accepts nominations from anybody. This year's recipients were just announced, and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! is one of them. She interviewed two of the other three recipients on yesterday's show. Check out the Right Livelihood website to read more about Goodman and the other three laureates. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

December 08, 2008

Rohatsu

Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) literally means the 8th day of the 12th month. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

December 08, 2008

Buddhist Board Game

Thanks to Konchog for pointing this one out: dhamma musings shows us a Buddhist board game. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

December 08, 2008

Recession Hurts Recycling Efforts

Recycling has suffered with the recession. Here's more bad news: Just months after riding an incredible high, the recycling market has tanked almost in lockstep with the global economic meltdown. As consumer demand for autos, appliances and new homes dropped, so did the steel and pulp mills' demand for scrap, paper and other recyclables. Cardboard that sold for about $135 a ton in September is now going for $35 a ton. Plastic bottles have fallen from 25 cents to 2 cents a pound. Aluminum cans dropped nearly half to about 40 cents a pound, and scrap metal tumbled from $525 a gross ton to about $100. More here. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

December 08, 2008

The Dalai Lama meets with Sarkozy. Cue Rhetoric from Beijing

French President Nicolas Sarkozy meets with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (And works on a GNH index along the lines of Bhutan's.) Beijing fumes. ("Unwise." "Gross interference.") Will China boycott next year's vintages? More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

December 08, 2008

Burma: Ban Ki-Moon and Cellphones

Ban Ki-Moon will visit Burma again but won't say when. (The UN must be feeling the pinch as much as the rest of the world, but they do say airfare prices are dropping soon): Human rights groups say there are more than two thousand prisoners of conscience in Burmese jails. Mr. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

December 08, 2008

Very Serious Business

As Alex notes below, happiness is contagious. And so, too, may be Bhutan's Gross National Happiness (GNH) economic model, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. For decades now the Bhutanese government has been keeping its people's well-being foremost in mind when formulating economic policy, and lately, Western economists have been showing up to have a closer look. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

December 07, 2008

Nitty-Gritty Dharma

Inquiring Mind's 25th anniversary issue is themed—buddhistically enough—"Sickness, Old Age, Death and the Path of Practice." It's been out for a while now and it's a great read. In it Ajahn Sumedho pays a pretty harrowing visit to a Thai hospital to contemplate autopsies, but "after the aversion and proliferating tendencies stopped," he writes, I really began to observe the decaying process. Strangely enough, I found it quite beautiful—the way nature disposes of things. My judgments of beauty had been created on a conventional level, but in the here and now—being with the aversion and the disgust—I didn’t feel repelled at all by the process of decay. It was quite marvelous to watch how life consumes and takes away. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

December 05, 2008

Sangha Spotlight

Our Spring 2008 issue featured a story by Travis Duncan about the Air Force Academy's Vast Refuge Dharma Center—the first space on an American military base dedicated solely to meditation. But Air Force cadets aren't the only military men and women with an interest in Buddhism. It turns out that the US Naval Academy Buddhist Club offers weekly meditation classes in Annapolis, Maryland. As managing editor Alexandra Kaloyanides notes below, nirvanic pursuit can be viewed as something of a selfless task—and it seems that navel-gazing has found a natural home at the service-oriented Naval academy. For anyone interested in attending, the club meets on Sunday mornings from 10-11 am in the All Faiths Chapel in Mitscher Hall (with Kelsang Dachog) and on Tuesday evenings from 19:15-20:00 (7:15-8:00 pm) in room 107 of Luce Hall (with Don Avery). More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

December 05, 2008

Navel-gazing as social work?

The archaic argument that arhants are selfish for focusing on their own liberation just got even weaker. A study published today in the British Journal BJM suggests that happiness is contagious, with its 20-year research showing that a neighbor's joy increases a person's chance of being happy by 34 percent. James H. Fowler, a political scientist at UC San Diego and a co-author of the study, told the New York Times that "if your friend's friend becomes happy, that has a bigger impact on you being happy than putting an extra $5,000 in your pocket." While the authors of the study are advising spreading the joy around, Fowler noted "We are not giving you the advice to start smiling at everyone you meet in New York. More »
Tricycle Community 2 comments

December 05, 2008

Matthieu Ricard

Molecular-biologist-turned-Tibetan-monk Matthieu Ricard is widely admired for his many talents, among them photography. But  Ricard's life seems best defined by his humanitarian work and devotion to the dharma. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

December 04, 2008

Intentional Chocolate

A holiday gift idea for your favorite sentient being with a sweet tooth: Intentional Chocolate. Earlier this fall, we received a variety pack—Love Truffles, Intentional Hot Dark Chocolate, and Dark Intentional Chocolate Pistoles—from the folks at Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, Wisconsin. There, Tibetan monk and University of Wisconsin professor Geshe Lhundub Sopa blesses the chocolates with his students. According to the company's website, Intentional Chocolate has been scientifically proven to decrease stress, increase calmness, and lessen fatigue in those who consume it by up to 200%. And that's not all: More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

December 04, 2008

Dalai Lama addresses EU Parliament

Danny Fisher points us to the Dalai Lama's address to the European parliament. Text here. More »