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May 07, 2009

iPhone Meditation

The latest in cyber-Buddhism: an iPhone application with timed and guided meditations, all authored and spoken by contributing editor Stephan Bodian, who informs us, "The next two apps will be Open Your Heart to Love, including forgiveness, gratitude, and lovingkindness meditations, and The Happiness Pack, including mindfulness, an adaptation of tonglen, a gratitude meditation, and a brief piece on working with negative emotions." The application was produced by Mental Workout, a company specializing in technological approaches to meditation. More »
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May 07, 2009

A White Light Experience

Could lasers be more effective at developing concentration than meditation? The current issues of Nature and Neuron report advances in strengthening attention by inducing gamma waves in the brain with pulses of laser light. For his article on this topic for the New York Times this week, “Ear Plugs to Lasers: The Science of Concentration,” John Tierney spoke to Dr. More »
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May 07, 2009

Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change

In anticipation of the December 2009 U.N. Climate Treaty Conference in Copenhagen, several prominent Buddhists have drafted a document in support of environmental action from a "pan-Buddhist" perspective. The Time to Act is Now, as the declaration is called, was initiated by over 20 Buddhist teachers from a diversity of traditions who contributed to a recently published collection entitled A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency. (The Summer 2009 issue of Tricycle, which will hit newsstands next week, includes an essay from the book by Joseph Goldstein on taking the first steps as an environmental advocate.) Authored by Zen teacher Dr. David Tetsuun Loy and senior Theravadin teacher Ven. More »
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May 05, 2009

The Dalai Lama in Tricycleland; Buddha's birthday

Yesterday, a couple members of the Tricycle staff attended the Dalai Lama's lecture at the Beacon Theater in New York. His Holiness spoke about a chapter from Chandrakirti's Entry Into the Middle Way. Before lunch, he spent two hours laying the groundwork for a textual analysis by reviewing various critiques of Nagarjuna, attributing relevant texts to certain Buddhist thinkers (often arguably), and contesting the insights of the mind-only school. After lunch, he dove into the text. Buddhist rhetoric at its finest! The DL's visit to New York was particularly timely. On Sunday, I waited to cross the street as a drumming procession made its way down Sixth Avenue in celebration of the Buddha's birthday. More »
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May 05, 2009

Awake At Work

Nothing seems certain in these shaky times. Michael Carroll, author of Awake at Work and an article in the Summer 2009 Tricycle, "Bringing Spiritual Confidence to the Workplace," writes this in a new discussion at the Tricycle Community: In 1998, after 10 years working for a major publishing firm, I was laid off. Our company had been acquired and I, along with many other executives, was displaced and invited to leave. We were all treated well at our departure and I, for one, left with few hard feelings. Yet I was worried about my future prospects. More »
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May 05, 2009

Sullivan's Buddhist Travels

First off, a tip of the hat to the ID Project's blog for this one. Catholic blogger Andrew Sullivan wrote a post about Buddhism in which he didn't really say anything himself but was airing John Horgan's beliefs about Buddhism, which were extremely reductive and misinformed. Horgan cites the bewhiskered complaint that Buddhism is about disengaging from the world and the whole concept of enlightenment then begins to look anti-spiritual. Buddhist monasticism may be about renouncing aspects of the world, but so are all sorts of monasticism. More »
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May 04, 2009

Summer 2009 issue; Awake at Work with Michael Carroll

Tricycle's Summer 2009 issue is out and here is some of the free content available online now: Walking the Walk Pamela Gayle White on passing on passing judgment Buddha in the Googleplex The search engine's "Jolly Good Fellow" brings the dharma to Silicon Valley. And there's much more from the new issue here. More »
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April 28, 2009

Taming the bull, Tibetan-style

In his commentary on the Oxherding Pictures—the Zen depiction of the progression to enlightenment—Tibetan master Chogyam Trungpa wrote: In the Tibetan tradition there is an analogy of elephant herding but it refers largely only to the practice of shamatha. The symbolism does not go beyond the riding of the elephant. In the oxherding pictures the evolutionary process of taming the bull is very close to the Vajrayana view of the transmutation of energy. Great stuff, take a look at at the series at shambhala.org. And for more teachings on the Oxherding Pictures, look at Barry Briggs's blog Ox Herding. Briggs practices and teaches in the lineage of Zen Master Seung Sahn. More »
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April 28, 2009

Healing vs. Curing by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Daily Dharma, April 28th 2009: Healing does not mean curing, although the two words are often used interchangeably. While it may not be possible for us to cure ourselves or to find someone who can, it is always possible for us to heal ourselves. Read today's complete Daily Dharma. More »
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April 27, 2009

The Many Faces of Buddhism

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London kicked off the biggest Buddhist festival in the city's history on April 25th. The Many Faces of Buddhism, as it is called, is sponsored by the Robert H.N. Ho Foundation and will run until May 17, featuring films, dances, and artist talks. Read about the happenings at the Ho Foundation's website or in a recent Financial Times article. More »
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April 27, 2009

"Enlightenment Therapy" in the New York Times

Chip Brown discusses "the marriage of Buddha and Freud" in the New York Times. More »
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April 27, 2009

Daily Dharma: What a pity...

Most people love Tricycle's long-running Daily Dharma, pearls of Buddhist wisdom delivered to your in-box each morning. But from time to time, we get a miffed response. Here's the April 26 entry followed by a reader's reply: Suffering Ends with Compassion Compassion is the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering and its causes. Like love, this is generated on the basis of seeing everyone’s happiness and suffering as equally significant. Whereas there is a power differential in the case of pity, none exists when we have compassion. With pity, we see ourselves as being superior and with condescension and false care, have pity on those who we consider inferior to us. Compassion, on the other hand, is very direct and equal. Suffering is to be removed no matter whose it is, and if we have the opportunity to help in a small or large way, we will. More »
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April 26, 2009

The Dalai Lama in the Times of London

A Life in the Day: The Dalai Lama: My day starts at 3.30am. I recite an inspirational stanza in praise of Buddha Shakyamuni. It reads: “Enthused by great compassion/You taught the immaculate teaching./To dispel all perverted views/To you, the Buddha, I bow.” I recite that with prayers in prostration. After that, analytical meditation. What is Buddha? What is self? I reflect on emptiness — the ultimate reality — and altruism. All human beings are the same: we all want happiness and we do not want suffering. Then the treadmill, jogging for 40 minutes. If you hold the rail firmly you can recite a prayer and meditate too. But you must take care or you might fall off! The rest here. More »
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April 25, 2009

The Dalai Lama, Psychedelics & Cher

Our current economic crisis might actually be a good chance for learning about excess. So said the Dalai Lama to a packed Thunderdome at the University of California, Santa Barbara.   His Holiness held two lectures, both sold out. Of the crowd he drew, the Santa Barbara Independent reports: At a casual glance, it was clear that the event was attracting Santa Barbara’s intelligentsia (Paul Orfaela, Nobel laureates, etc.) and religious leaders (Buddhist professor Alan Wallace, Chumash healer Adelina Alva Padilla, etc.) as well as the wealthy faces (too numerous to name) and top-of-the-line celebrities (Cher, in blue headband and leather outfit, and Goldie Hawn, who showed up late around 11 a.m.). More »
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April 24, 2009

Cosmetic Neurology

Judith Warner, who recently wrote about mindfulness in her weekly New York Times column (around the same time we spoke with Thanissaro Bhikkhu about what he sees as a nascent "mindfulness industry"), commented in today's paper on "cosmetic neurology"—the abuse of stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall as an aid to working hard and playing harder. Notwithstanding a juicy confession of firsthand experience, the article goes over well-trod ground—until this bit of spot-on skepticism: In the public mind, the “legal-drugging” of kids, as Arianna Huffington once put it, and the dangerous mind-doping of young adults, are merely points on the same continuum: symbols of the vicissitudes of li More »
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April 22, 2009

The American Koan

According to Elephant Journal's Waylon Lewis, it's "Paper or Plastic?" See his answer to that question here. Also, keep an eye out for a couple of articles by Daniel Goleman (author of Ecological Intelligence) and Ethan Nichtern (leader of the Interdependence Project) that address the same subject in the upcoming Summer '09 issue of Tricycle. More »
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April 22, 2009

Buddhist Fire & Brimstone

The Phnom Penh Post reports from the  serene surroundings of Wat Mondul Seyma, a temple near the Thai/Cambodian border. Serene at first glance, anyway: A nearby path to the sea may as well be a descent into Dante's Inferno. Macabre scultpures along the way depict narratives from Buddhist hell realms and, according to the article, perform a function similar to depictions of Hell in other faiths: Most visual representations of hell in Cambodia are painted on the walls of temples across the country, but it seems that the artisans who created these images over 30 years ago wanted to be sure that viewers would walk away with a much more realistic representation of the dangers of sinning. More »
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April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Do something green today. More »
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April 20, 2009

Dalai Lama; zazen instructions

The Dalai Lama is interviewed in the new issue of National Geographic for Kids, but the article doesn't seem to be online. Brad Warner asks in his Suicide Girls article, "Is Meditation Dangerous?" He also posts zazen instuctions with photos here. (HT: Frank Olinsky, who is art directing a book of Don Farber photos of the Dalai Lama. The book is due out in Fall 2009.) More »
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April 20, 2009

Marc Lesser: Accomplishing More by Doing Less

Marc Lesser, author of Z.B.A, Zen of Business Administration and Less, is now hosting a discussion at the Tricycle Community. Marc also blogs at doingless.net. He writes: "Our daily incessant busyness - too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce a to-do list and tick off items by each day's end - seems to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us. But if we approach our days in a different way, we can consciously change this out-of-control pattern. It requires only the courage to do less." More »