Tricycle - Awake in the World The Online Tricycle Magazine Blog en Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:43:17 -0500 Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:38:09 -0500 Buddha Buzz: Historic opportunity for Buddhist nuns <p class="normal"><img src="" width="570" height="755" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p class="normal">This week, <a href="" target="_blank">17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje</a>, one of the two claimants to the title, made a historical announcement and promise: to build a monastic college for nuns in the Himalayas.</p><p class="normal">"I believe you are ready,” the Tibetan leader told a gathering of 400 nuns at the <a href="" target="_blank">Third Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering</a> in Bodhgaya, India. A statement from the Karmapa’s office said the nuns will study the <i>shastras</i> (five Indian philosophies), and the college will offer education to both monastics and lay women.</p><p class="normal">This time last year, the <a href="" target="_blank">Karmapa pledged to work to “lay the necessary framework” for nuns’ full ordination in the future</a>.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">This week on <a href="" target="_blank">Tricycle’s blog</a>, we travel back to the 60s with Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo, who needed the Dalai Lama to intervene on her behalf when she wanted to study Tibetan at a monastery. Since then, she’s helped nuns learn to read and established an international organization for Buddhist women. You can read more in <a href="" target="_blank">“Gender Revisited: Are We There Yet?”</a>&nbsp;</p><p class="normal"><strong>Also on the blog this week:</strong></p><ul><li>John Makransky and Brooke D. Lavelle discuss their new program called <a href="" target="_blank">"Sustainable Compassion Training,"</a> which is designed to support caregivers and those who serve others.</li><li>“What is your original personal brand before you were born?” And other <a href="" target="_blank">Postmodern Zen Koans</a></li><li><a href="" target="_blank">Steve Jobs, Buddhism, and Awards Season</a></li></ul><p class="normal"><strong>There is a lot more new <i>Tricycle </i>content to explore:</strong></p><ul><li>The <a href="" target="_blank">Spring 2016 issue is here</a>. Be sure to check out “<a href="" target="_blank">Does Mindfulness Belong in Public Schools</a>,” with two experts discussing their two different viewpoints.</li><li>Tricycle Film Club’s February selection, <a href="" target="_blank"><i>Siddharth</i></a>, is now available</li><li>A new online retreat with Reverend Dosung Yoo breaks down the <a href="" target="_blank"><i>Heart Sutra</i>’s 16 sentences in a close and contemporary reading</a>.&nbsp; &nbsp;</li></ul> 47241 Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:43:17 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Steve Jobs, Buddhism, and Awards Season <p class="p1"><img src="" width="550" height="363" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p class="p1">The 2015 film <a href="" target="_blank"><i>Steve Jobs</i></a>—an intimate portrayal of the man behind the digital revolution—is a formidable presence this awards season, <a href="" target="_blank">with 13 wins and 87 nominations so far</a>.&nbsp;</p><p class="p2">But Curtis White, a novelist and social critic, writes in the <a href="" target="_blank">Spring 2016 issue of <i>Tricycle</i></a> that the film is a “soap opera” with not much plot to speak of beyond Jobs’ career.&nbsp;</p><p class="p2">Even worse, White writes, is that the “Apple mythology emerges unscathed”—a “consolation” to Apple fan-consumers and Silicon Valley. &nbsp;</p><p class="p2">“The claim that it [Apple] is informed by Buddhist values attracts a lot more skepticism than it did in the 1980s,” White writes. “Now it seems more credible to say that Apple was merely the first manufacturer to use Buddhism to brand its products. These days, Buddha branding of all sorts of things has created the oxymoron of a Buddhist consumerism. In the eyes of many, Buddhism is a religion for the affluent. There is today a vast soup of Buddha-branded commodities and programs that have co-opted an otherwise antagonistic discourse, just as the 1960s counterculture was long ago co-opted by Madison Avenue in what Thomas Frank called the great “conquest of cool.”</p><p class="p1"><a href="" target="_blank">White’s full review of <i>Steve Jobs </i>and <i>San Francisco 2.0 </i>is available online</a>&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">Read more from Curtis White:</p><ul class="ul1"><li class="li2"><a href="" target="_blank"><i>The Science Delusion: An interview with cultural critic Curtis White&nbsp;</i></a></li><li class="li2"><a href="" target="_blank"><i>It’s Not Me, It’s You: Corporate culture gets its Zen on&nbsp;</i></a></li></ul><div style="mso-element: comment-list;"><div style="mso-element: comment;"><div id="_com_6" class="msocomtxt" language="JavaScript"></div><!--[endif]--></div></div> 47239 Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Gender Revisited: Are We There Yet? <p class="p1"><img src="" width="570" height="760" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p class="p1">When Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo arrived in Dharamsala in the 60s to study Tibetan, she needed the <a href="" target="_blank">Dalai Lama</a> to give his blessing before she could study with the monks at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics. Since then, she’s helped Tibetan nuns learn to read, supported other&nbsp; Buddhist women around the world, and watched as thousands of nuns in Asian countries have fully ordained.&nbsp;</p><p class="p2">Donna Lynn Brown spoke with Ven. Lekshe about the role of women in Buddhism at the American Academy of Religion<i> </i>conference in Atlanta in November 2015<i>.</i>&nbsp;</p><p class="p3"><b>You were one of the earliest Western women to study in a Tibetan monastery. How did that come about?</b></p><p class="p3">I arrived in Asia in 1965 and met Tibetan Buddhists in Nepal. At that time, it was not easy to find teachings in English, so I studied Tibetan in Berkeley and Hawaii, and at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India. After I learned Tibetan, the only place where I could study Buddhist philosophy in depth was the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala, which is a monastery for monks. I can’t say they wanted me; His Holiness the Dalai Lama had to intervene personally to get me in. Thanks to his kindness, I had an amazing opportunity to study. Since I was usually the only woman, it wasn’t always comfortable, but I studied Buddhist texts and commentaries there for six years and loved it.</p><p class="p1"><b>Then you started helping Tibetan nuns. Why?</b></p><p class="p1">While I was in Dharamsala, I noticed that many Tibetan nuns couldn’t read. In 1987, I decided to start a literacy class for them. At first, I had to convince them that reading was useful. They believed they were stupid and incapable of learning, because they had been taught that it was enough for them to recite <i>Om mani padme hum</i>. I encouraged them, telling them that if they learned to read, they could understand His Holiness’s teachings. That did it. We engaged a lama to teach them, and within two months all of them, including a 63-year-old nun, learned to read. Then a small group of Western nuns started learning to debate and some Tibetan nuns saw them and got interested. So the literacy program had to expand. Jhado Rinpoche, who was quite young then, agreed to teach the nuns philosophy if I taught him English. Before we knew it, we had a full time study program, which turned into Jamyang Chöling Monastery in Dharamsala.&nbsp;</p><p class="p2"><b>What led you to start the Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women in 1987?&nbsp;</b></p><p class="p1">Just talking to other Buddhist women. When we began comparing notes, we realized how many experiences we had in common. We were frustrated at not having access to higher studies or retreat facilities, and were disheartened by the lack of encouragement. So we decided to get together to talk about it. We thought it would be just a small tea party! But it turned into a huge gathering, inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in Bodhgaya, India. There were many firsts at that conference. It was the first time Tibetan nuns had publicly played <i>gyaling</i> [trumpets] to welcome His Holiness. It was the first time outside of Dharamsala that Tibetan nuns wore the <i>chögu</i>, the yellow dharma robe. When we held a <i>sanghadana </i>[a<i> </i>lunch offering for monastics], it was the first time that Thai <span class="s1">bhikshus</span><i> </i>[monks] sat at tables the same height as <span class="s1">bhikshuni</span><i> </i>[fully ordained nuns]. These were incredible breakthroughs. At the end of that conference, we wanted to continue the conversation. So we launched Sakyadhita, which has created a space for women to share their experiences of learning and practicing dharma.</p><p class="p2"><i>Related</i>: <a href="" target="_blank">Daughters of the Buddha: Venerable Karuna Dharma discusses gender equality in Buddhism and her pioneering role in the rebirth of female ordination&nbsp;</a></p><p class="p4"><b>What progress has been made since then?</b></p><p class="p2">Amazing progress! Now it’s taken for granted that nuns can and should study. In those days, many people assumed that women were incapable of learning. It was assumed that the nuns’ best hope was to recite mantras and pray to be reborn as male. No one says that now! Today there are a number of monasteries where Tibetan nuns study philosophy and new retreat centers for women. Young Tibetan and Himalayan women are becoming educated in Buddhism and some are becoming teachers. About half of Sri Lanka’s 2,000 nuns are fully ordained. Even in Thai Buddhism, which is very conservative, there are about 100 fully ordained nuns. It’s like a wave that can’t be stopped. In Cambodia, there used to be virtually no nuns. When I visited there a couple of months ago, I went to a monastery and saw many nuns studying the dharma. Sakyadhita was one catalyst for this vast change. In Asia, the biggest gains have been education and full ordination for nuns. In Western countries, we see more and more women emerging as teachers of Buddhism. And greater equality: in American Zen temples, monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen share tasks more or less equally. However, men still seem to predominate in academic Buddhist studies, which concerns me.</p><p class="p2"><b>Have Buddhist women in Western countries achieved equality?&nbsp;</b></p><p class="p2">[<i>Laughs</i>.] Nuns wouldn’t say that! The monks have an easier time. Monks are usually treated with respect and generosity, while nuns are still serving food. It’s a great lesson in humility, but we can’t say that women have achieved equality. Nuns have more difficulty than monks finding financial support and places to live and study. There are still not enough monasteries for nuns. If women had more places to study and train, more would ordain. If there’s no place to go, nothing to eat, and no study program, why would a woman get ordained? In the early days, many of us went to India because we could live there on $50 a month, although we had to cope with visa and health challenges. But in the West, study programs are expensive. Lack of financial support for study and practice remains an obstacle for women whether they are lay or monastic.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5"><span class="s2"><i>Related</i>: <a href="" target="_blank">A Tibetan Buddhist nun blazes the trail for other women to follow&nbsp;</a></span></p><p class="p1"><b>What can we do to encourage women in the dharma?</b></p><p class="p1">Sakyadhita gathers people together for conferences where women can talk and have their experiences acknowledged, and also encourages them to study, practice, and become scholars, translators, and leaders. The conferences help move issues forward. But more is needed. For example, I believe that Buddhists need gender training. NGO workers all over the world receive gender training—why not Buddhists? Buddhism can benefit the world, but if the rights of women are not protected within the tradition, what moral authority do we have? It’s embarrassing. We need to live up to our own values.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">We can also encourage Asian Buddhist women. Some people think that Asian Buddhists are stuck in tradition, but there are changes afoot. Western Buddhists need to pay attention to Asian women and learn from all the sources of our tradition. By listening respectfully, we can help overturn the stereotype that Asian women are passive or submissive. We can also contribute to food, shelter, and education. Buddhist women in Asia deserve to be more than just the objects of academic study. They are the subjects of their own valuable dharma experience, and we have much to learn from them.</p><p class="p1">Also, in both Asia and the West, many Buddhist women work very hard for their male teachers. They give their lives. Men are generally the lineage holders and heads of organizations, and often their success is because of the work of women. Should we ignore contributions by women? As liberated as Western Buddhists may be, we may also be influenced by lingering sexist preconceptions. Sad to say, women have been trained to respect the accomplishments of men, but not always the accomplishments of women. It’s important to recognize our own internalized sexism. Women support unbalanced institutions. And as we take our places at the table, we must use our power wisely. For example, if there are four speakers on a panel, we can make sure that half are women, and if we give material support, we can make sure it goes to men and women equally.</p><p class="p2"><b>How important is full ordination?</b></p><p class="p1">Women should have the same opportunities as men. The Vinaya—the ethical foundation of the Buddha’s teachings—has equal value for nuns and monks. Observing precepts is essential for higher accomplishments, so how can we deny women access to the precepts? Full ordination is <i>not</i> a bid for status or “just a Western women’s rights thing.”</p><p class="p1"><b>What misconceptions exist about women in Buddhism?</b></p><p class="p1">In Buddhist texts and traditions, we find stereotypes of women as jealous, gossipy, sexually uncontrollable, overly emotional, and so on. Many people, including some women, accept these stereotypes. Even in the West, we often find women ignored, excluded, or talked over. If a woman speaks out, she may be considered arrogant or aggressive, whereas a man will be seen as confident and assertive. Western feminists are sometimes accused of exaggerating gender inequalities, but we cannot ignore the discrimination we face. Asian women certainly notice gender discrimination. They joke about it all the time.</p><p class="p1"><em>Related</em>: <a href="" target="_blank">Buddhist History for Buddhist Practitioners</a> &nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><b>Do you have trouble convincing people that women’s rights matter?</b></p><p class="p1">We don’t need to convince anyone. Once women have opportunities, their capabilities speak for themselves. That’s why we have great women teachers both in Asia and the West, such as Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Pema Chödrön, Sharon Salzberg, Marsha Rose, and Thubten Chodron. There are also many respected Buddhist scholars who are women: Anne Klein, Janet Gyatso, Sarah Jacoby, Sarah Harding, Karen Lang, Judith Simmer-Brown, the late Rita Gross, and others. Their accomplishments come from their own efforts and intelligence, but without the women’s rights movement, could they have achieved what they have?</p><p class="p1"><b>What do you see the future bringing for <a href="" target="_blank">Sakyadhita</a><a href="" target="_blank"> </a></b><b>and Buddhist women?</b></p><p class="p1">Sakyadhita has been hugely successful and not only regarding women’s issues. The conferences encourage interreligious and intercultural dialogue on a range of important topics. Sakyadhita has always been concerned about social justice issues such as poverty, LGBTQ concerns, indigenous rights, the environment, and economic justice. We have pioneered education, research, and publications. Our next conference in Hong Kong in summer 2017 will integrate scholarship, contemplation, and social action. We are encouraging a new generation of Buddhist women scholars, practitioners, and leaders. I find that young women often become passionate about equality and justice when they see the challenges Buddhist women face.</p><p class="p2">You know, there are more than 300 million Buddhist women on this planet—perhaps 600 million if we include China. These women have enormous potential to foster peace, compassion, and understanding in the world. Why don't we make sure they get the chance?</p><p class="p2"><span class="s3"><b><br></b></span></p><p class="p2"><span class="s3"><b>Donna Lynn Brown </b></span>is a freelance writer on Buddhist issues living in Portland, Oregon.</p> 47237 Wed, 03 Feb 2016 11:50:10 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Postmodern Zen Koans <p><img src="" width="570" height="422" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p>If you see a Buddha in the road, ask which gender pronouns they prefer and then kill them.</p><div class="articleBody"><div class="break">- -</div><p>One day Atticus lay down in the snow, and called out, “Help me up! Help me up!” His mother came and gave him some cold-pressed juice. Atticus got up and went away because that’s how unschooling works.</p><div class="break">- -</div><p>What is your original personal brand before you were born?</p><div class="break">- -</div><p>If a minimalist curates a 10-item fall capsule wardrobe but doesn’t blog the experience and doesn’t count her Acne Pistol Boots as one of the 10 items, has she really edited her closet?</p><div class="break">- -</div><p>A conceptual sculptor asked Tobias when he was weighing some flax at Whole Foods, “What is Buddha?” Tobias said: “Flax helped me lose three pounds. It’s also my daughter’s name.”</p><div class="break">- -</div><p>If a performance artist self-flagellates at MoMa while it’s closed and there are no guards or cameras there, does it still leave a laceration in the shape of a pentagram?</p><div class="break">- -</div><p>As the roof was leaking, a yoga instructor told two students to bring something to catch the water. One brought the landlord, the other a bucket with ice. The first was severely reprimanded, the second highly retweeted.</p><div class="break">- -</div><p>What is the sound of a pop star rapping?</p><div class="break">- -</div><p>A&nbsp;MFA&nbsp;student asked her professor, “How does an enlightened one return to the ordinary world?” The professor reminded her that he was only an adjunct but alerted her to the fact that Starbucks does offer health insurance to part-time employees.</p><p>- -</p><p><strong>Read more about Zen koans on <em>Tricycle</em>:</strong></p><ul><li><a href="" target="_blank">Koan Practice</a></li><li><a href="" target="_blank">Martine&nbsp;Batchelor offers a Korean Zen koan practice to refresh our minds and open us to creative wisdom</a></li><li><a href="" target="_blank">Fairy Tales and Zen Riddles</a></li></ul><p></p></div><p><br><a href="" target="_blank">"Postmodern Zen Koans" originally appeared in McSweeney's, and is reprinted by permission</a></p><p><a href="" target="_blank"></a>Illustration by <a href="" target="_blank">Mike Taylor</a>&nbsp;</p> 47234 Tue, 02 Feb 2016 10:44:32 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Sustainable Compassion for Those Who Serve <p><img src="" alt="Compasstionate Care" width="570" height="400" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p class="p1">Social service professionals are exhausted.&nbsp;</p><p class="p2">Forty- to fifty-percent of teachers quit their jobs within the first five years of teaching. Nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals report increasingly less satisfaction in their work. Suicide among social workers is on the rise; clergy suffer from depression and other medical issues.&nbsp;</p><p class="p2">Part of the problem is systemic—our social service providers are overworked and under-resourced. Yet another part of the problem is cultural, and stems from our beliefs about what compassion is and how we cultivate it.&nbsp;</p><p class="p2"><b>Compassion is not a self-help technique</b></p><p class="p3">Many in social service are led to believe that exhaustion and burnout come with the job. Taking time for oneself can be seen as selfish, and requesting help from others can be interpreted as a sign of weakness.&nbsp;</p><p class="p3">But these assumptions are holding us back. Being cared for is what drives our ability to care for others. Without being open and vulnerable to receive care, our ability to care for our children, family, patients, students, and others is built on a fragile foundation.</p><p class="p3">Overcoming these obstacles requires that we recognize and challenge some of our deeply held beliefs. Learning new ways of conceptualizing and cultivating compassion can help us gain the confidence and tools to work with and overcome these blocks.</p><p class="p3"><em>Related</em>:&nbsp;<a href=",1" target="_blank">Love is All Around</a></p><p class="p3">We live in a highly individualistic culture that tends to view compassion and other contemplative trainings as techniques to make a person more kind and caring. This frame places the burden of healing and transformation solely on the individual’s shoulders and misses the deep relational framework of Buddhist and other ancient spiritual traditions from which many of our modern contemplative programs are drawn.&nbsp;</p><p class="p3">In these traditions, loving care and compassion are not understood to emerge simply through one’s own efforts—they emerge in relation to others. In Asian Buddhist traditions, practitioners first <i>feel what it is like</i> to be held in the love and compassion of others, including their spiritual and biological families. These loving qualities then become <i>real</i> in their experience. <i>Then</i> they learn to extend the same care and compassion to others through meditation. Within such cultures, this is an important part of the meaning of refuge in the Buddha and sangha.</p><p class="p3"><em>Related:&nbsp;</em><a href="" target="_blank">The Healing Power of Innate Love and Wisdom: Meditations from Tibet for Westerners</a></p><p class="p3"><b>Tapping into the relational dimension of loving care and compassion</b></p><p class="p3">We can replicate this kind of relational starting point, but it needs to begin from within our own experience. We can tap into this by recalling a moment of caring connection from any time in our lives—a moment in which someone was with you in a simple loving way, rooting for you, wishing you well, laughing with you, and happy you existed in that moment.&nbsp;</p><p class="p3">This image of care may be a memory of someone from childhood with whom you loved being with or a moment of genuine connection from any part of your life—a warm smile, a welcoming gaze—with someone such as a teacher, a friend, a mentor, or even a stranger.&nbsp;</p><p class="p3">We can relive that moment as if it were present right now and re-experience ourselves as seen and loved—beyond our familiar, self-critical, or reductive thoughts of ourselves, to whatever extent is possible.&nbsp;</p><p class="p3">Taking a few moments to recall such moments on a regular basis can help us remember many other instances of care during our lives. With repetition, a whole field of caring moments and figures can be revealed, and we can learn to accept the deep worth and potential in us that can inspire others.&nbsp;</p><p class="p3">By returning repeatedly to these moments of unconditional care, we can begin to extend care to others. This is done not as an isolated self, but as someone grounded in a field of care who learns to extend the same care and compassion to others in a way that is not subject to empathy fatigue or burnout.&nbsp;</p><p class="p3"><i>Makransky and Lavelle have co-founded <a href="" target="_blank">Courage of Care</a>. Their Sustainable Compassion Training (SCT) is a new method designed for helping all those in caring roles and professions generate a power of care and compassion that can become increasingly stable, inclusive, and self-replenishing, empowering their work while protecting them from burnout.&nbsp;</i></p><p class="p3"><i>The next course begins on Feb. 19, 2016. More information is available at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.&nbsp;</i></p><p class="p4"><br><strong>John Makransky, PhD</strong>, is associate professor of Buddhism and comparative theology at Boston College and co-founder of the&nbsp;Courage of Care Coalition&nbsp;and of the Foundation for Active Compassion.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5"><strong>Brooke D. Lavelle, PhD</strong>, is the co-founder and president of the Courage of Care Coalition and a senior education consultant at the Mind and Life Institute</p><p></p><p><em><a href="" target="_blank">Photo by Vincent_AF</a></em></p> 47224 Mon, 01 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Buddha Buzz: Beautiful Sutras and Old Postcards <p class="normal">Earlier this month, the <a href="" target="_blank">New York Public Library</a> released 180,000 public domain images, texts, maps, and other materials for view, download, and use.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">The collection has quite a few (beautiful) prints from the 16th century Sutra of the Ten Kings of Hell—which depicts the Buddhist hell realm of souls being judged after death—as well as travel postcards showing Buddhist monks and meditators in Asia in the early 20th century.</p><p class="normal">Here are a few of our favorite images from the collection:</p><p class="normal"><img src="" width="570" height="457" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p class="normal">(The Sutra of the Ten Kings of Hell, 1594)</p><p class="normal"><img src="" width="570" height="457" style="margin: 7px;"></p><p class="normal">(The Sutra of the Ten Kings of Hell, 1594)</p><p class="normal"><img src="" width="570" height="713" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p class="normal">(Priests or Zen Shu, 187-)</p><p class="normal">&nbsp;Here’s the link to the digital collection if you’d like to take a spin through yourself:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"></a>&nbsp;</p><p class="normal"><b>What’s new on Tricycle this week:</b></p><ul><li>Laurie Riepe, a writer and psychotherapist, <a href="" target="_blank">remembers how Stephen Levine’s teachings helped her through the deaths of her mother and her husband</a> more than 20 years apart. Levine died on Jan. 17 at his home in New Mexico.</li><li>A conversation with ICU physician and Shambhala teacher Dr. Mitchell Levy&nbsp;on <a href="" target="_blank">how death can be a spiritual experience and how it’s possible to die in a “healthy” way</a></li><li>Ginny Holbert, a former TV critic with a personal meditation practice, and <a href="" target="_blank">her attempt to watch “Making a Murderer”&nbsp;with mindfulness in mind</a></li><li>The Psychedelics of Compassion: In this <a href="" target="_blank">Tricycle Talk, Allan Badiner and Don Lattin discuss the complex relationship between Buddhism and psychedelic experiences</a></li></ul><p class="normal"><b>New from the Winter 2015 issue:</b></p><ul><li>Dan Zigmond sends us a <a href="" target="_blank">postcard from Tibet</a>&nbsp;and discusses the moral and ethical implications of traveling to the Chinese-controlled state</li><li>Wendy Johnson on <a href="" target="_blank">gardening during the California drought&nbsp;</a></li></ul><p class="normal"><b>And beyond Tricycle:</b></p><ul><li>A Guided Meditation for the Anxious Mind (<i><a href="" target="_blank">The New Yorker</a>)</i></li></ul><div><div><div><p class="normal"></p></div></div><div><p class="normal"></p></div><div><div><p class="normal"></p></div></div><div><p class="normal"></p></div></div> 47225 Fri, 29 Jan 2016 11:40:51 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Knowing the Right Prayer <p><img src="" alt="Stephen Levine Buddhism" width="570" height="380" style="margin: 7px;"></p><p class="p1"><em>The following essay remembers <a href="" target="_blank">Stephen Levine</a>, 78, a meditation teacher whose work focused on death and dying. He died at his New Mexico home on Jan. 17.</em></p><p class="p4">Seattle. Gray. It’s February, after all. My husband, Julian, has been dead for one month. It’s early. Seven in the morning. I’m sitting at the kitchen table huddled under the light from the ceiling dome. The house is dark and shadowed around me.&nbsp;</p><p class="p4">I’m doing what every lonely person does. Sitting at the keyboard, I want to type: <i>is anyone out there?</i> I’m afraid of the response. Instead, I look for portals of connection. I’m not looking for something to replace Julian. I’m trying to find a way not to feel so alone with what has happened.&nbsp;</p><p class="p4">I search. First with my brain, then with Google. I remember that back in the late seventies there was a small group around what Elizabeth Kübler-Ross called the “Living/Dying Project,” and that Ram Dass and Stephen Levine were a part of that group.&nbsp;</p><p class="p4">Ah, Stephen and Ondrea Levine. I search for workshops thinking maybe I could go somewhere, away from all this gray. Nothing. There’s a <a href="" target="_blank">website</a>, though, and a notification that they are not offering live workshops. I make a donation so I can listen to their online teachings.</p><p class="p4">They both appear sick in the videos clips and I find out that they are sick. She has some kind of leukemia and lupus, and he has a neurological degenerative condition.&nbsp;</p><p class="p4">Every morning for weeks, the weather outside is only a slight variation of itself. The two of them talk about fear and dying in their 30-minute videos. I watch video after video. I like hanging out with the dying. With people who talk about dying. It seems like these people are right on the edge, too, where I am, just barely hanging on.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">One of the videos tells their genesis story. When Stephen met Ondrea he was teaching a spiritual retreat and she was a participant. He put a note on her meditation cushion during a break. They’d never spoken before that. She liked the note. They haven’t been apart since.</p><p class="p4">Stephen says that every day when they wake up they pray that the other will die first. I’m struck and confused by this. I feel like I spent every morning of the last years of my marriage silently praying that Julian wouldn’t die. If I am being honest with myself, I might say that being on the other side of his death, alone, I am feeling a little jealous of him. I’m feeling a bit ungenerous about the deal I got. I’m feeling bitter that he got to go first.&nbsp;</p><p class="p4">Stephen says that he prays for Ondrea’s death before his own because he doesn’t want her to be left behind. That’s what working with the dying and grieving gets you—knowing the right prayer.&nbsp;</p><p class="p4"><em>Related</em>: <a href="" target="_blank">Living the Life You Wish to Live&nbsp;</a></p><p class="p6">* * *</p><p class="p4">Watching these videos, I remember an earlier experience. In 1988 I was taking care of my 51-year-old mother, who had a Parkinson’s-like neurological disorder called Multiple System Atrophy. It is a slow, progressive, unpredictable disease that affects the autonomic nervous system. That’s the system that governs involuntary functions, the ones we take for granted: swallowing, breathing, digesting, eliminating.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">Julian and I couldn’t take anything for granted while taking care of my mother. Not the continuity of her life, nor the character of it. One day she’d be able to drive and the next she couldn’t walk up the stairs. There were losses every day, little cuts. She lived with us and our daughter. We went from a house of three adults and a toddler to some kind of hybrid. There was a point where my 3 year old could speak more clearly than my mother, was more mobile, and could eat more complicated foods. We found ourselves pureeing long past my daughter’s infancy and buying diapers long after Annie was potty-trained. We were inventive, selling a house, buying a house with an apartment. I was young, 29, and no one I knew had ever taken cared for the sick. No one I knew had ever died.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">That fall I saw a flyer for an all-day workshop with Stephen Levine. He was coming to Seattle to talk about caring for the dying. Nobody in my house talked about dying. We talked about diapers (adult and big-girl pull-up versions), about Raffi, about the importance of hand rails. We talked about chewing all of our food carefully and not talking while eating. We cautioned about laughing at dinner.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">I was worried, though. I knew my mother could live a long time—a decade? Maybe longer? I also knew that she could die in exactly in the way she did die—suddenly choking, aspirating, and drowning from pneumonia.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">I named my worry as worry for my daughter. I was encouraging her to love her grandmother, who might suddenly leave in such a way that is inexplicable to a 3 year old. I worried about Annie’s eventual, inevitable loss. I couldn’t think about my loss.</p><p class="p5">The flyer was on a bulletin board at the local spiritual bookstore, East-West Books, on Roosevelt Way. The offering mentioned the title of Stephen’s new book, <i>Healing into Life and Death</i>. It suggested that there might be something in it for me—even though I wasn’t worried about me. Maybe it would help me help Annie? Maybe it would help me help my mother? Standing and looking at the flyer, I mentally undid myself from a Saturday at home taking care of the needs of others. Later that evening, Julian agreed to step in so I could go, and I sent my check to a local address, securing my spot.&nbsp;</p><p class="p4">Stephen was a small man. He didn’t look well, even then when he was in the middle of his life. He had bad teeth and smoked. We all smoked back then. He wasn’t charismatic. During breaks we went outside and stood, shuffling one foot to another, trying to make small talk while we smoked: the caregivers, the patients, the meditators.&nbsp;</p><p class="p4">We sat on the linoleum floor of an auditorium on the campus of Seattle University. I tried to make myself comfortable on a blanket and pillow I’d brought from home. I tend to think morbid thoughts when I’m in unfamiliar territory, and I couldn’t help having images of being forced to sit, body-to-body, during a bank robbery or an air raid. Others seemed more comfortable than me. A woman near me in the sold-out crowd was using a contraption she brought to support her back—a padded canvass harness that cradled her lower back and wrapped around the outside of her knees as she sat in a cross-legged position. I’d never sat on the floor in a room with 250 people, not for anything. I was too young to have been at sit-ins. I’d never meditated. I heard the woman say to her neighbor that she was a nurse. She was excited. There seemed to be many others like her. I felt like the only one like me.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">I didn’t know why I was there. I wasn’t sure that any of this was relevant for me. I didn’t know if I needed to heal. I did know that I wanted to feel as though I had some leg up on what might happen to my family. I wanted to feel like I’d been thorough, that going to a workshop about death was like talking about the risks of choking when eating and laughing. I wanted to feel something.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">At the end of the day Stephen asked us to clear the floor of all our belongings. The group moved like a large animal and pushed blankets and backpacks, cushions and pillows against the cinder block walls. We kept our shoes off. He had us stand throughout the auditorium. We waited while he fiddled with the sound system. Then, before starting the music, he told us what to do. This was a kind of Sufi dance.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">We each faced a partner. Starting with our right hands, we touched palm to palm while placing our left hands on our hearts.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">The man who I found myself next to was just slightly taller than me. I tried not to notice his brown socks and collapsing arches. We held our hands in the prayer position and I noticed a little bit of moisture starting to slip between our palms as we waited. Finally, Stephen got the music started—Pachelbel’s Canon. The man and I brought our gaze to each other’s eyes and began to move, slowly, in a clockwise circle. Three points of contact: left hand on heart, right palm to right palm, unwavering gaze.&nbsp;</p><p class="p4">After one revolution he and I released our palms and turned away from each other to the next person. Now I reached my left palm out, higher—she was much taller. I noticed long blonde hair. Green eyes. Left palm to left palm, right hand on heart, we turned our bodies slightly and moved counter-clockwise, one step for one beat of rhythm. Meeting her gaze, I did what I had been told to do. I didn’t look away.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">And so on.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">We danced for 20 minutes. Every next person was unknown to me. The room seemed to be full of movement, slow and measured. I was a stranger. Every person I met was a stranger. The eyes I rested my gaze on became anyone’s eyes, became everyone’s eyes. All the thoughts I’d had earlier in the day about not belonging wouldn’t stick in the same way now that I couldn’t hold on to an image of any particular partner. I lost a sense of the difference between me and them, boundary and caution. I wept. Others wept. Over and over, for one rotation, I gave myself to the movement, to the gazing, to the music. I fell in love.</p><p class="p5">And even though I felt myself falling in love as I would with a lover or a baby or an expanse of sky painted pink, there was no possibility of holding on to anything. The music and the movement was slow and measured, yet each meeting was so brief. There was no chance, no need, even, to express gratitude or sadness or longing. At the end of one circling we parted, completely.</p><p class="p5"><em>Related</em>: <a href="" target="_blank">Death as a Spiritual Experience</a></p><p class="p7">* * *<a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p class="p4">Twenty-three years later on those gray mornings after Julian’s death I listen to Stephen and Ondrea speak to me through recorded video clips. Each of them is sick and each of them is a patient and a caregiver. I hope for something. I hope for some kind of gazing, or weeping, or revolving. Some kind of falling in love. What I find is my loss, my parting. It’s a confirmation of sorts.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">I find that the dying are not to be pitied or envied. Stephen and Ondrea teach me this. They teach me their petition, their morning prayer:<i> </i>p<i>lease, whoever is listening, protect my beloved from being alone.</i>&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">It is a petition for the gift of dying. Not for oneself but for the one I hold closest.&nbsp;</p><p class="p5">They teach me in those mornings after Julian is gone that while everything feels so horribly wrong, everything has turned out perfectly. That the only prayer worth praying has already been answered for me.</p><p class="p5"></p><p class="p8"><br><b>Laurie Riepe</b> is a Seattle-based writer and psychotherapist. Her work focuses on conscious dying and grieving.&nbsp;</p><p class="p8"><em><a href="" target="_blank">Photo from Stephen and Ondrea's Facebook page</a>&nbsp;</em></p><p class="p5"></p> 47222 Thu, 28 Jan 2016 10:04:05 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Death as a Spiritual Experience <p class="p1"><i><img src="" width="570" height="378" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></i></p><p class="p1"><i>Over the last couple of years, I’ve interviewed many doctors and spiritual teachers about death and dying. I typically ask the doctors questions about medicine and the healthcare system, while saving questions about meaning and purpose for the spiritual teachers. I had to throw that framework out the window with <a href="" target="_blank">Dr. Mitchell Levy</a>, who is both.</i></p><p class="p1"><i>Levy has been practicing medicine for 25 years and meditating for more than 40 years. He is currently chief of the pulmonary and critical care divison at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School and a senior teacher in the <a href="" target="_blank">Shambhala</a> lineage.</i></p><p class="p1"><b>Do you think that death can be a spiritual experience?</b></p><p class="p1">Yes. Many Eastern religious traditions include the contemplation of death as a practice; the idea is that dying is a natural disillusion of ego. In many ways, it is what many meditation practices are geared toward helping people experience. Even if death isn’t a spiritual experience, at the very least, it doesn’t need to be a horrible experience.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><b>Let’s start there. How can we avoid death as a horrible experience?</b></p><p class="p1">We can face death and be very realistic about serious illness without becoming depressed about it. We can cultivate a sense of health in the midst of the dying process. We see patients do this all the time. Some people transform when they are told they have a terminal disease. Their senses transform. They might start talking about the fact that they’re seeing things in a different way. They are less distracted. They have less of a filter of distracted thoughts between what they’re looking at and what they see. They see colors more vividly. They appreciate their families more. We hear reports like that from patients all the time.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">This is not true for all patients, of course, but when some patients are faced with a death sentence, it is actually liberating. You can discover a greater sense of health during the dying process.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><i>Related: </i><a href="" target="_blank">The Great Matter: Caught up trying to extend our lives, we’ve forgotten how to let them go &nbsp;</a></p><p class="p1"><b>Can you teach people how to do that when they have a chronic and serious illness?&nbsp;</b></p><p class="p1">I think that it has to start with caregivers. Caregivers have to appreciate that it’s not just a matter of taking symptoms away. It’s a matter of restoring some functional healthiness, teaching people about mindfulness or some other activity that allows them to discover a sense of self-worth and functional wholesomeness, and using that as a contrast to the depression of chronic and serious illness.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><b>We usually think of death as the ultimate absence of health. You’re saying that people can die in a healthy way?</b></p><p class="p1">Yes, it’s not an oxymoron to talk about healthy dying. People who work with the dying, even the acutely dying—I work in an intensive care unit—can discover some quality of healing during the dying process.&nbsp;Not that people are ever happy that their loved one is dying, but you can see a greater connection between family members, a sense of real support and lovingkindness resolving some conflicts.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">This doesn’t always happen, but if we don't acknowledge that it’s possible, we’ll never be able to do it.</p><p class="p1"><b>We’ve been talking about how the dying might experience colors more vividly or heal their relationships. These seem like immediate benefits for people who are actively dying. Do you think there are potential benefits for younger people reflecting on mortality?</b></p><p class="p1">Yes. All of us get so distracted by the many lists of things that we have to do and are so pressured by all the different forces of relationships and expectations in our life that we lose track of what really makes us happy, brings us joy, and is important. Reflecting on death can sometimes help us see more clearly what’s important and what’s not. It’s a practice that can help us be able to experience more directly—and remind ourselves—what our real priorities are.&nbsp;</p><p class="p3"><span style="font-family: Cambria; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;"></span>For more reading on death contemplation, see these <em>Tricycle&nbsp;</em>articles:&nbsp;</p><ul class="ul1"><li class="li3"><a href="" target="_blank">The Supreme Contemplation: Practicing with the Four Reminders</a></li><li class="li3"><a href="" target="_blank">Tricycle Talks: Mindfulness and Awareness in End of Life Care</a></li><li class="li3"><a href="" target="_blank">Death Awareness</a>, a guide for those who practice Vipassana&nbsp;</li><li class="li3">Part four of Ven. Bhikku Bodhi’s retreat on the four protective meditations, <a href="" target="_blank">Mindfulness of Death</a></li></ul><p class="p4">Dr. Levy will be speaking at the Garrison Institute and New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care's Buddhist Contemplative Care Symposium in November 2016. More information on the conference is available&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</p><p class="p4"></p><p class="p3"><br><b>Sam Mowe </b>is a&nbsp;<i>Tricycle</i>&nbsp;contributing editor. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.</p><p class="p3"><em>Image from <a href="" target="_blank">University of Liverpool Faculty of Health and Life Sciences</a></em></p> 47220 Wed, 27 Jan 2016 12:18:49 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Tricycle Talks: Buddhism and Psychedelics <p><span style="color: #1a1a1a;">In this episode of Tricycle Talks, Allan Badiner and Don Lattin discuss the complex relationship between spiritual practice and psychedelic experiences. They also examine a new wave of clinical research that uses psychedelic drugs to treat PTSD, addiction, depression, and other mental illnesses. Badiner is the editor of </span><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, </i><span style="color: #1a1a1a;">an inquiry into the moral, ethical, and spiritual implications of blending Buddhist thought with the use of hallucinogens. Lattin is a reporter and author of the bestselling book </span><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">The Harvard Psychedelic Club.</i></p><p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=""></iframe></p> 47179 Mon, 25 Jan 2016 17:12:40 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Mindfully Binge-watching “Making a Murderer” <p class="Body"></p><p></p><div></div><div><p class="Body"><img src="" width="570" height="302" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p class="Body">Anyone who has mindfully washed the dishes knows it’s not as easy as it sounds. So how about being mindful while binge-watching a true crime documentary on Netflix? That’s a challenge.</p><p class="Body">The addictive, infuriating, and wildly popular “Making a Murderer” can be seen as an eye-opening parable of how failing to be mindful can have tragic consequences in the justice system. The series, with its kaleidoscope of shifting facts and high-stakes subject matter, also presents a good opportunity for viewers themselves to transform mindless entertainment into mindful observation.</p><p class="Body">The 10-part series begins with the Mark Twain quote: “It ain’t what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” And throughout, I had to ask myself what I really knew for sure. The goal of watching with bare attention, without judgment, required constant effort as I rode my own little living room roller coaster of doubt, certainty, aversion, outrage, and self-righteousness.</p><p class="Body">“Making a Murderer” starts with Steven Avery being released from prison after serving 18 years on a sexual assault charge later overturned because of DNA evidence. What happens next is seemingly an open-and-shut case. Wisconsin photographer Teresa Halbach, 25, disappeared on Halloween in 2005. Her charred and fragmented bones were found days later in a burn pit at Avery's home. Yet, if we are to believe the filmmakers’ case, it seems that law enforcement brazenly framed Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey for the young woman’s 2005 murder.</p><p class="Body"><em>Related</em>:&nbsp;<em><a href="" target="_blank">The Mindfulness Wedge&nbsp;</a></em></p><p class="Body">The series has inspired a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">petition calling for a presidential pardon</a>, as well as a fiery debate between defense attorneys and the prosecutors, the latter who claim the filmmakers left out key pieces of damning evidence. As the case is retried in newspapers,&nbsp;<i>People</i>&nbsp;magazine, Reddit forums, those of us who have been swept up in the series’ exculpatory tenor may want to examine our own fast-brain thinking. While the series exposes major flaws in the case, it does not “prove” that Avery and Dassey are innocent. Even so, as viewers we are ready to impeach the prosecutors as quickly as they seemingly rushed to lock up Avery and his nephew.&nbsp;</p><p class="Body">Despite the Zen aphorism that “where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening,” we too are ready to snap our minds closed as thoughtlessly as we might scratch an itch. The desire for certainty is compelling.</p><p class="Body">Beyond letting us observe how we cling to our own views, the series presents countless instances of human “thinking” that is really just reaction—fear, outrage, self-interest. For example, the Wisconsin media—and presumably the jurors—seem overtaken by a visceral reaction to the gruesome story prosecutor Ken Kratz paints in a lurid pre-trial press conference. Even compassion—for the woman who was murdered, for the victim’s family—is an emotion that should be felt, observed, and then put aside when trying to weigh the facts. This is the distance that can be cultivated with mindful attention.&nbsp;</p><p class="Body"><em>Related:&nbsp;</em><em><a href="" target="_blank">Mindful Tech: Learn the advantages of breathing through your inbox</a></em></p><p class="Body">As defense attorney Dean Strang points out, many problems in the criminal justice system stem from “unwarranted certitude.” One egregious example: Len Kachinsky, the attorney who was appointed to defend Dassey, the cognitively challenged 16-year-old who was also charged in the murder. Before he has even talked with his client, Kachinsky presumes guilt and damns him in a press conference, saying that his client was “morally and legally responsible,” but had been influenced by Avery, whom he calls “evil incarnate.” Pretty incendiary words from a defense attorney.</p><p class="Body">Whether or not you buy the contention that Avery and Dassey are innocent, the series pries open a crevice of reasonable doubt that should have prevented the convictions, and as such it may cast light on problems in the justice system. At the very least, it gives each one of us another chance to practice what it means to pay attention, without judgment, and to imagine what a truly mindful criminal justice system might look like.</p><p></p><p class="Body"><strong>Ginny Holbert</strong> is a Chicago-based writer and former newspaper TV critic.&nbsp;</p><p>Illustration by&nbsp;<a href="" title="Go to Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig's photostream" data-track="attributionNameClick" data-rapid_p="31" target="_blank">Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig</a></p><div></div><p class="Body">&nbsp;</p></div><p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> 47170 Mon, 25 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Buddha Buzz <p class="normal">Here at Tricycle headquarters in New York City we’re bracing for Winter Storm Jonas, which could dump up to <s> a foot </s> three feet of snow on us by Sunday afternoon. And, if you live east of the Mississippi, you’re likely in for some unpleasant weather as well during the next few days.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">This weekend is turning out to be an excellent time to stay inside (if you even have a choice), curl up with a blanket, cup of tea, and catch up on your Tricycle watching and reading.</p><p class="normal">There are three parts of Deborah David’s online retreat, “<a href="" target="_blank">Living Mindfully</a>,”&nbsp;and a fourth comes out on Sunday afternoon. The talks explore a way to create and maintain a personal mindfulness practice.</p><p class="normal"><img src="" width="570" height="323" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p class="normal">&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">January is winding down, and it’s the penultimate weekend to watch this month’s Tricycle Film Club selection, “<a href="" target="_blank">Examined Life</a>."&nbsp;</p><p class="normal"><b>And if you’re catching up on reading, here’s what’s new on Tricycle this week:</b></p><ul><li>We sadly reported that meditation teacher Stephen Levine has died. Levine spent more than 30 years helping others with death and dying, <a href="" target="_blank">and our post includes past talks with Levine</a>.</li><li>Social Media Dharma:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Chris Towery explores using social media as a mindfulness tool</a>—not a distraction</li><li>Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, reflects on the <a href="" target="_blank">importance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy</a>, and the need for teachers of all backgrounds to embrace his message.&nbsp;</li></ul><p class="normal"><b>And from the Winter 2015 issue:</b></p><ul><li>Explore <a href="" target="_blank">Boudhanath’s stupa and town in the Tibetan area of Kathmandu with writer Emily Strasser</a></li><li>Andrew Olendzki suggests a <a href="" target="_blank">four-part process&nbsp;for addressing social, economic, political, and environmental change</a></li></ul><p class="normal">&nbsp;<b>And here’s some reading beyond Tricycle:</b></p><ul><li>Religious, Spiritual, and “None of the Above”: How did mindfulness get so big (<em><a href="" target="_blank">Religion Dispatches</a></em>)</li><li>Seven ancient Buddhist caves discovered in India (<a href="" target="_blank"><em>Times of India</em></a>)</li><li>This Japanese monk teaches Buddhism at a planetarium instead of a temple (<a href="" target="_blank"><em>Motherboard</em></a>)</li></ul><div><br><div><div></div></div></div> 47171 Fri, 22 Jan 2016 16:21:25 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Social Media Dharma <p><img src="" width="570" height="380" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p>I know it sounds crazy, but Facebook has actually deepened my Buddhist practice.</p><p>And I’m not talking about the numerous Buddhist-based groups, discussions, videos, and podcasts housed on the social media site. While that stuff has enhanced my intellectual grasp of the dharma, I’m referring to something more visceral: Facebook provides the ideal platform for a unique&nbsp;form of active meditation.</p><p>In spite of the seemingly trivial value of maintaining a Facebook profile, I’ve found a dharmic approach to social media participation can actually benefit one’s spiritual growth. Just as we are taught not to suppress discursive thoughts and negative emotions—but to use them as grist for our practice mill—we can take the same approach with Facebook. For better or worse, social media is becoming an ingrained and often necessary part of modern life, so it only makes sense that it too should become part of the path.</p><p>One of the goals of traditional meditation practice is to become acutely aware of how we become distracted from the present moment by engaging and identifying with our thoughts and emotions. We suffer because we falsely believe these fleeting sensations are authentic representations of reality, when in fact they are no more an accurate depiction of reality than our Facebook profiles are an accurate representation of our lives. &nbsp;Like most any other activity, social media can itself become a tool for practicing mindfulness. Rather than viewing Facebook merely as a meaningless distraction, why not take advantage of the opportunity it provides to become intimately aware of how we get caught up in and controlled by our mental and physical sensations while online?</p><p>Even if you don’t compulsively check your Facebook status, when you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings while using the site, you’ll almost certainly discover times when you find yourself attached to its ego-enhancing properties. Whether it’s the number of likes your witty post gets, an admiring compliment on your latest profile pic, or the number of new friend requests you receive, this instant gratification works to fuel our desire for recognition and approval like a drug. These ego boosts can prove downright addicting, as we anxiously check out profile status, seeking more and more affirming feedback.</p><p>Social media also allows us to monitor the ways in which we resist and reject things we find disagreeable, threatening, or unpleasant. It’s all too easy to take personal offense over what essentially boils down to nothing more than pixels on a screen.&nbsp; A snide comment, a critical response to one of our posts, or even the lack of enough positive feedback can all cause distress. In extreme cases, these perceived slights can even lead us to aggressively lash out at others or withdraw from making further posts. Of course, when things get really prickly, Facebook offers us the nuclear option of “unfriending” those we deem too threatening.</p><p>In spite of the ways in which the technology can lure us into delusion, paying close attention to the mental and physical sensations that arise when using social media can be an effective way to avoid becoming either overly attached or defensive regarding one’s virtual self. One technique is to carefully pause and become aware of your physical and emotional state before communicating. Are you feeling tense, prideful, angry, jealous, or embarrassed? It helps to objectively label these sensations just as you would during sitting meditation and wait until they subside. From there, you can better assess whether or not what you plan to post will be constructive or harmful.</p><p><em>Related</em>: <a href="" target="_blank">Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives&nbsp;</a></p><p>It’s also beneficial to consider your motivations for making a particular post. Are you looking to share something thoughtful, informative, or kind? Or are you trying to show off, attack another’s viewpoint, or be humorous at someone else’s expense? Fortunately, one of the unique things about social media is that, unlike face-to-face interactions, you aren’t expected to respond as quickly, so by mindfully pausing to consider your motivations, you can craft a more thoughtful and appropriate post—or perhaps not post at all.</p><p>Mindful social media participation gives us the opportunity to intimately monitor our habits of self-construction. After all, the website allows you to watch as your mind literally gives birth to its pixelated persona—which is nearly always designed to approximate, if not improve upon, our embodied personalities. Next time you’re online, carefully observe the different types of self-imagery you’re promoting. What character traits are you trying to possess and portray? What stories are you telling? What beliefs are you defending? What are you hiding or not expressing? What aspects of your online identity are you most passionate about or protective of? By identifying the most “sticky” aspects of our online identities, we might just uncover areas within our real-life personalities that need more attention.</p><p>Ultimately, a close examination of the ways we identify with and cling to our virtual selves can provide telling insight into the ways we do the same with our embodied sense of self. We all know without a doubt that Facebook and other forms of social media aren’t actually real, yet there are still times when our awareness lapses, leading us to attach a mistaken sense of substance and value to these digital forms. Similarly, when we fail to live our day-to-day lives with diligent awareness, we falsely assume that our ever-changing whirlwind of mental and physical sensations make up a solid, lasting, and independent entity. Just as becoming attached to an arrangement of pixels on a computer screen is obviously delusional, creating a false sense of identity out of the empty impressions found on the screens of our consciousness is every bit as misguided. &nbsp;</p><p><b>&nbsp;</b></p><p><strong>Chris&nbsp;Towery</strong>&nbsp;is a writer living in Gainesville, Florida. He belongs to the sangha at the Dancing Crane Zen Center, which is part of the Sanbo-Zen lineage.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Photo by Jason Howie</em></a> &nbsp;</p> 47164 Thu, 21 Jan 2016 06:00:00 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Meditation teacher Stephen Levine has died <p><img src="" width="570" height="380" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p>Stephen Levine, a meditation teacher and author best known for his work on death and dying, passed away in his New Mexico home on Sunday after a long illness. He was 78.</p><p>“His heart has gone to God. His light is left here with us. Thank you for your blessings and love and friendship. Namaste,”<a href="" target="_blank"> a post on his website read</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>In the 2009 <i>Tricycle </i>article “<a href="" target="_blank">Living the Life You Wish to Live</a>,”&nbsp;Levine and his wife Ondrea talk about their work to emotionally and spiritually ready people for death using Vipassana meditation techniques as well as discuss why they moved to the mountains to find quiet and work through their own illnesses.</p><p>“Thank you for being brave enough to face your pain, out of which your wisdom came, and blessing us with your willingness to share it all,” Stephen Levine said during the interview.</p><p>His son, <a href="" target="_blank">Noah Levine, is the author of <i>Dharma Punx </i>and teaches on how to overcome addiction through Buddhist practic</a>e.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Read more from Stephen Levine’s interview here</a>. &nbsp;</p><p>Watch a <a href="" target="_blank">video of Stephen and Ordea discussing death and dying</a></p><p>And an interview with Levine’s son, Noah Levine: “<a href="" target="_blank">The Suffering of Addiction</a>”&nbsp;</p><p><br><em>Photo from Stephen and Ordea Levine's <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook page</a>&nbsp;</em></p> 47162 Tue, 19 Jan 2016 16:03:39 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. <p><em><img src="" width="570" height="391" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></em></p><p>In the spirit in what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 87th birthday, Tricycle asked Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, a Soto Zen Buddhist priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, what she has been thinking about on this year’s anniversary. &nbsp;</p><p>***</p><p dir="ltr">It's important that non-black teachers speak to the consciousness of hatred that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went up against his entire life. As a Zen Buddhist priest of African descent, I have received many requests this weekend to speak, as if King were only speaking to black people or only black people understood what he said. If that's the case I see why his dream has thus far been deferred. What dream?</p><p dir="ltr">King wasn't necessarily speaking about legislative integration between blacks and whites. He went along with the materialization of civil rights since folks did not understand his higher and vaster teaching of integration. He was trying to deliver the same message as Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's teaching of interbeing. He wanted us to understand interrelatedness.</p><p dir="ltr">So when a young black child is murdered we are all being killed. But that understanding is difficult to cultivate in our hearts. Not because there are lines seemingly drawn between us but because there is no heart when we live in fear, only anger and violence. We are afraid of who is going to own the country or the world.</p><p dir="ltr">We are all vulnerable—but we are all also powerful.</p><p>We fear that hate will win because it has killed millions of people—both literally and in spirit—over the centuries. There is certainly evidence that we could perish under hate-filled regimes. And yet the power of love can be as strong as the power of hate. There is also evidence that love could prevail.</p><p>Can we begin again and again to express the spirituality of social justice? Can we become less perishable by taking up the work—both personally and collectively—that has been left behind by great teachers from every culture? And if not, can we at least remember that their wisdom is in our bones? Can we let it come through us? We have no time to waste.</p><p><br><strong>Read more from Zenju Earthlyn Manuel:</strong></p><ul><li><a href="" target="_blank">The Terror Within&nbsp;</a></li><li><a href="" target="_blank">Difference and Harmony: An interview with Zenju Earthlyn Manuel&nbsp;</a></li><li><a href="" target="_blank">Black, Bisexual, and Buddhist&nbsp;</a></li></ul><p><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Image from the Minnesota Historical Society</em></a></p> 47160 Mon, 18 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Buddha Buzz <p class="p1"><img src="" width="570" height="380" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p class="p2">What would you do if you were walking down the street in New York City and saw a young Thai man painting a homeless man on a giant scroll?</p><p class="p2">As Terence Cantarella writes in “<a href="" target="_blank">How a monk-turned-street artist sees New York City’s homeless</a>,”, many stop to watch—and even join in.&nbsp;</p><p class="p2">In case you missed it, be sure to check out the story on <a href="" target="_blank">Pairoj Pichetmetakul, a former Buddhist monk, to learn more about his compassionate “Positivity Scrolls” project</a>.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><strong>Here’s what else is new at Tricycle<i> </i>this week:</strong></p><ul class="ul1"><li class="li1"><a href="" target="_blank">We sadly reported that Roshi Bernie Glassman had a stroke on Tuesday</a>. He is now in stable condition at a Massachusetts hospital, and is expected to start rehab next week.&nbsp;</li><li class="li1"><a href="" target="_blank">Bhikku Bodhi on the hope and hype a new year brings</a>&nbsp;</li><li class="li1"><a href="" target="_blank">A quick meditation that can help you realize how you react to your email</a>, from the author of <i>Mindful Tech</i>&nbsp;</li></ul><p class="p1"><strong>And here’s what our editors are reading:</strong></p><ul class="ul1"><li><a href="" target="_blank">As the world mourns David Bowie, many learned that the musician once contemplated Buddhist monastic life&nbsp;</a></li><li class="li1">Arthur Brooks talks body contemplation in a <i>New York Times</i> opinion piece: <a href="" target="_blank">“To Be Happy, Start Thinking More About Your Death”</a></li><li class="li1"><a href="" target="_blank">Tibetan monks visit a small town temple in Indiana&nbsp;</a></li></ul> 47159 Fri, 15 Jan 2016 12:44:14 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Roshi Bernie Glassman suffers a stroke <p><img src="" width="500" height="375" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p dir="ltr">UPDATED 1/15:</p><p dir="ltr">Roshi Tetsugen&nbsp;Bernie Glassman is in stable condition after suffering a stroke earlier in the week, according to an update from the <a href="" target="_blank">Zen Peacemaker Order</a>. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">After 36 hours in intensive care, Glassman is in a regular hospital room. He has very little movement in the right side of his body, and family and friends are only able to understand about 20 percent of his speech.</p><p dir="ltr">He is expected to start rehab next week, which could last for two weeks to a month. His prognosis is "good" to "very good," according to his doctors.</p><p dir="ltr">"Bernie has his struggles," Zen Peacemakers wrote. "His understanding of words, too, is diminished but doctors expect that to be fully remedied. We hear 'too many people' a lot from him, a lifetime refrain, and wants everybody to leave him alone. As usual, nobody listens. But yesterday, the day after his stroke, our alarm went off for the noon minute of silence for peace. He lay quietly, and then, with difficulty, raised his good hand in half-gassho."</p><p dir="ltr">At the hospital is Glassman's wife and daughter, his assistant Rami Efal, and members of Zen Peacemaker Order and Green River Zen communities.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">You can leave a message for Glassman on his&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Caring Bridge page</a>. His 77th birthday is on Jan. 18. Birthday and get-well cards can be sent to: Zen Peacemakers, ATTN: Bernie, PO Box 294, Montague, MA, 01351.&nbsp;</p><p></p><p dir="ltr">From 1/13:</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Tricycle</em>&nbsp;has learned that Roshi Tetsugen&nbsp;Bernie Glassman suffered a stroke on Tuesday afternoon&nbsp;and is being treated in the intensive care unit at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield,&nbsp;Massachusetts.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">He is awake but not able to feel or move the right side of his body due to a hemorrhage in the center of his brain. His blood pressure is being monitored and more tests are scheduled for Thursday.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">He is unable to take calls or see visitors, according to a family representative.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Glassman is perhaps best-known for co-founding the Zen Peacemaker Order in 1996 with his wife, Roshi Sandra Jishu Holmes, as well as his immersive retreats at Auschwitz-Birkenau.</p><p>Glassman, who was born in Brooklyn, started studying Zen in 1967 with Taizan Maezumi Roshi.</p><p>Here are some of our favorite teachings from Glassman on&nbsp;<em>Tricycle:</em></p><ul><li><a href="" target="_blank">Working in the Cracks: An interview with Bernie Glassman&nbsp;</a></li><li><a href="" target="_blank">Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman: The Dude and the Zen Master&nbsp;</a></li><li><a href=",2" target="_blank">Bernie Glassman's Excellent Adventure: The famed American Zen teacher, clown, and social worker is thinking big—again</a></li></ul><p><em>Photograph by Seabrook Jones</em></p><p><em><br></em></p> 47155 Wed, 13 Jan 2016 15:28:08 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World On Hope and Hype <p><img src="" width="570" height="428" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p>At the dawn of a new year it’s&nbsp;customary to suspend our habitual cynicism about human nature&nbsp;in order to express joyful&nbsp;hopes for the year that lies ahead. While this practice helps to spread good cheer, at least for a day, it often seems to me an&nbsp;exercise with no practical consequences. How, I ask myself, can declaring my hopes to others make a dent in a world oblivious to our dreams? How can we expect the mere change&nbsp;of a date&nbsp;to alter the conditions under which we live?</p><p>The practice, I fear, may not be very different from a drug habit. Both seem to serve a similar purpose. If I find my life’s circumstances intolerable, I may try to numb my&nbsp;pain and frustration by taking a drug. If I perceive the world descending into chaos, I &nbsp;try to console myself and cheer up others by declaring that this year things will be better. In this way, hope may turn&nbsp;out to be little more than hype: a psychological hypodermic needle filled with a mind-numbing narcotic, a hyperbole that obscures the grim reality&nbsp;that engulfs&nbsp;us all.</p><p>Can nurturing such hopes for the future really make a difference? Or is the practice just an invitation to mockery?&nbsp;After all, human motivations have remained pretty much the same from the age of Babylon and Rome to the present. Greed, hatred, violence, lust, jealousy, and arrogance were rampant in those days and don’t seem to have diminished one iota even in our globally wired&nbsp;world. Thus I see little reason to believe that taking down my 2015 calendar and pinning up my 2016 calendar will usher in a golden age. Rather, I think the wheels of the new year will roll along their familiar tracks, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, leaving behind more streams of tears and more rivers of bloodshed.</p><p>A look at the map confirms my fears. I expect the wars in Syria and Iraq to continue, with horrific beheadings by ISIS and vicious acts of aggression by competing forces throughout the region. I expect helpless refugees to flee across deserts and seas, to be welcomed in some countries but rejected and expelled by others. I expect the US to continue to launch drone attacks, as crew-cut kids in Nevada take out militants in Iraq and Pakistan, in the process killing harmless kids in rags and generating more terrorists than they eliminate. I think it likely that conflicts in Africa will get worse, and that violent Islamist cadres will grow stronger across the continent, from Nigeria to Somalia, funded by our friends in Saudi Arabia. I see little reason to expect Israel to suddenly stop building more settlements, recognize the humanity of Palestinians, and end its campaign to annex the entire West Bank.</p><p>On the energy front, I do think there will be an increase in renewables—thus a reason for cheer. But I also expect that fossil fuels will continue to be extracted and burnt, incrementally driving up global warming—a reason for worry. Whoever wins the US presidential race—a dreary spectacle that now drags on for two years—I believe the victor will have to endorse American militarism, perhaps even more aggressively than his or her predecessors. There will be pushbacks against economic inequality, but unless a dramatic turn-about takes place, the gap between the super-rich and the rest of the world’s population will grow wider. The rich will revel in their mansions; the poor will struggle just to get a bite to eat.</p><p><strong>RELATED: <em><a href="" target="_blank">Fostering Peace, Inside and Out</a>&nbsp;</em></strong></p><p>With apprehension I expect that on a few days in 2016, I will read&nbsp;the shocking headline: “Mass shooting at shopping mall, schoolyard, movie theater, health clinic. Dozens killed and injured.” Then the cry will rise once again for curbs on gun sales, and once again every proposal in Congress for sensible gun controls will be shot&nbsp;down in defeat.</p><p>Perhaps passive resignation is the necessary prelude to positive change. Perhaps things must get worse before they can get better. Perhaps the little indignities that we suffer each day must blow up in our faces before we start to address their underlying causes. And if these violations of our dignity don’t explode, perhaps we’ll just go on being gradually boiled by our own apathy, like the legendary frogs in their cozy pots.</p><p>Nevertheless, there have been a few bright spots in 2015 that light up my field of vision. <a href="" target="_blank">In Paris world leaders came together and reached an accord on addressing climate change</a>.&nbsp;True, the accord is weak, beset by loopholes and omissions, but at least it testifies to global recognition of the need to do something before full-scale calamity descends. Pope Francis issued his encylical, “Laudato Si,” one of the most compelling moral documents to appear this century, a statement that dares to tie environmental degradation, poverty, and economic disruptions to the heartless greed of global capitalism. In the U.S., the Black Lives Matter movement challenges institutional racism, insisting on the need for police and other authorities to respect the lives of black people, far too many of whom have been killed while the offenders have gotten off without charges. The move to increase the minimum wage has gained momentum, and several cities have even pledged to move toward a $15 minimum wage. The campaign of Bernie Sanders has shown that people are aware our economy is skewed by shocking inequalities in wealth, that the political system is rigged in favor of the super-rich, and that Congress has become a puppet manipulated by mega-corporations and giant financial institutions.</p><p><strong>RELATED: <em><a href="" target="_blank">Sounding the Alarm on Trump&nbsp;</a></em></strong></p><p>Though the call to raise hopes for the new year may&nbsp;be futile, it may also be a necessary step toward creating a better future. However, hope on its own can be selfish and also ineffectual. For hope to initiate change, it must rise up and fly, and to fly it needs two wings. &nbsp;One wing is&nbsp;<em>moral vision</em>, the inner apprehension of a world&nbsp;in which justice, love, cooperation, and self-restraint prevail against the atavistic tendencies toward violence, racial and ethnic hatred, brute competition, and narcissistic self-indulgence. The other wing is&nbsp;<em>a commitment to action</em>, the determination to personally promote our visions of a different world.</p><p>The call for transformative hope is where religious faith and ethical idealism come in. While religions&nbsp;often exacerbate the problem—as agents of intolerance and violence—at their best they can inspire and sustain us in our quest for a solution. They hold before us the vision of the kind of world we should be working to create, and they keep on telling us that the task of creating that kind of world rests not with others but with ourselves.</p><p>Faith protects us from a plunge into despair. It spurs us on when we’re ready&nbsp;to succumb to defeat. Faith reminds us that there is a transcendent force for good at work behind the scenes, and it also tells us that the task of creating a better world begins with the effort to change&nbsp;ourselves. Success in this endeavor is not merely a matter of institutional reform and adopting more effective policies. Rather, it requires us to collectively embrace a&nbsp;<em>moral point of view</em>, a perspective that gives priority to the well-being, health, and happiness of the whole above the narrow and divisive claims of self-interest.</p><p>For our spiritual values to transform our shared&nbsp;reality, we need something more than a&nbsp;private spirituality that teaches&nbsp;us to become better persons.&nbsp;We need to be pushed&nbsp;<em>to take responsibility</em>&nbsp;for bringing the moral good into being—by resisting injustice, by rejecting cruelty and violence, by standing up for human dignity, compassion and love, and respect for people everywhere. We have to apply these values in the field of action. We must bend our institutions and policies away from corrupting influences and turn them around, in the direction of justice, human equality, and peace.</p><p>So, while mere expressions of hope can be just a psychic narcotic, they need not inevitably be mere hype. When equipped with moral vision and a pledge to action, they can infuse us with new energy. They can show us what unites us; they can bring us together in the task of creating a better world. And in this way such expressions of hope may indeed be our best hope—our only hope—for securing our common&nbsp;future.</p><p><strong>RELATED: <em><a href="" target="_blank">A New Year's Wish for Light</a>&nbsp;</em></strong></p><br><p><strong>Bhikku Bodhi</strong> is&nbsp;is an American Buddhist monk, translator of Pali Buddhist texts, and the founder of Buddhist Global Relief. He is also a spiritual ambassador for OurVoices, an organization dedicated to bringing faith traditions to climate advocacy.</p><p><em>This post originally appeared on Buddhist Global Relief</em></p> 47153 Tue, 12 Jan 2016 16:20:39 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Mindful Tech <p class="normal"><img src="" width="570" height="860" style="margin: 7px auto; display: block;"></p><p class="normal">You’re used to watching your breath on the cushion, but what about when you’re cleaning out your inbox?</p><p class="normal">In his new book, <i><a href="" target="_blank">Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives</a>, </i>David M. Levy offers lessons in single- and multi-tasking when engaging with technology and encourages readers to visually record themselves while checking email to gauge their physical reactions.</p><p class="normal">“Some of the mindfulness work is just seeing what’s going on and being honest about it,” Levy told <i>Tricycle</i>. “And that’s actually where a lot of the learning comes from. It’s not some idealized idea of perfection, but seeing how things work.”</p><p class="normal">Levy is a professor at the Information School at the University of Washington and has spent the last decade helping students and professionals navigate digital distractions. He starts each of his classes with a short meditation.</p><p class="normal">Levy, who identifies as Jewish, has a daily meditation practice and attends several retreats a year. He credits the late San Francisco Bay Area Zen teacher Darlene Cohen’s mindfulness training as the base for an <a href="" target="_blank">academic study he published. The study found that meditation improved multitasking behavior and memory in participants over an eight week period.&nbsp;</a></p><p class="normal"><b>RELATED: </b><a href="" target="_blank"><b><i>Give and Take: The Pleasures of Pain:&nbsp;Andrew Cooper chats with Zen priest and pain counselor Darlene Cohen&nbsp;</i></b></a></p><p class="normal">Levy recently spoke with <i>Tricycle</i> about his new book and how to bring a contemplative approach to your technology use.</p><p class="normal"><br><b>What is an exercise to start mindfully relating to technology?</b></p><p class="normal">You could do all of this in five or ten minutes, or even as a one-minute meditation.</p><p class="normal">First, think about your cell phone. Just think about it—don't even take it out, and notice what's happening in your mind and body.</p><p class="normal">Second, take it out and hold it. Third, open it up or unlock it. Look at your email, but don't actually read anything yet. Next, open and read a message and possibly respond to it. And finally, shut down your cellphone and put it away.</p><p class="normal">At each of those steps notice your breath, posture, emotional reaction, and the quality of your attention. What is the pattern that you see? What does it tell you about your relationship to your cell phone? Does that suggest any ways that you might want to use it a little bit differently? We all have strong reactions and maybe even a somewhat unconscious relationship to our cell phone.</p><p class="normal"><b>How can mindfully engaging with technology benefit our practice and lives?</b></p><p class="normal">What I'm giving people is a range of anchors for self-awareness that includes the breath, the body, emotional responses, and the quality of attention. And my experience in working with people is that they don't all have equal value for each person. I'm not trying to suggest that everybody should be paying attention to their breathing. You get to experiment and figure out which of these entry points into awareness is actually the most helpful.</p><p class="normal">I think there's a lot of learning that comes from seeing the way that our strong emotions drive us to do certain things unconsciously, so being able to become more aware of our emotional responses can be very powerful. But some people discover that it's not easy for them to observe their emotional states, and paying attention to the breath can actually be a way to give them a sense of “Oh, I'm breathing shallowly, so I must be feeling anxious.” The whole philosophy of what I’m doing is: “Here's a smorgasbord of possibilities. You figure out which of them are actually most helpful to you.”&nbsp;</p><p class="normal"><b>Have we always been so overwhelmed by new technology?</b></p><p class="normal">There is a long history of people worrying and complaining about new technologies and also putting them up on a pedestal as the answer. When the telegraph and telephone came along you had people arguing both sides—that’s not new. And you had people worrying about the explosion of books after the rise of the printing press.</p><p class="normal">What <i>is</i> different is for the last 100-plus years the industrialization of Western society has been devoted to a <i>more, faster, better</i> philosophy that has accelerated our entire economic system and squeezed out anything that is not essential.</p><p class="normal">As a society, I think we’re beginning to recognize this imbalance, and we’re in a position to ask questions like "How do we live a more balanced life in the fast world? How do we achieve adequate forms of slow practice?"</p><p class="normal"><b>RELATED:<i> <a href="" target="_blank">Buddhify Your Android: Apps that tap into mindfulness may be promising “liberation at the price of a new attachment”&nbsp;</a></i></b></p><p class="normal"><b>Tell us about your own tech habits.</b></p><p class="normal">I'm offline one day a week, from Friday evening until Saturday evening, as both my Jewish Sabbath time and tech sabbath time. As a result of doing this work and working with students over the last ten years I’ve become much more aware of my tech habits, and when during the day I need to unplug and stop. I need to walk around and do something different. My own level of mindfulness and awareness has increased enough that I'm much better able to say, “I've just got to stop now.”</p><br><p class="normal"><strong>Wendy Joan Biddlecombe</strong> is Tricycle's web editor.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal"><a href="" target="_blank"><i>Mindful Tech </i>is available from Yale University Press on Jan. 12</a>.</p><p class="normal">[This interview has been edited for length and clarity]</p><p class="normal"><em>Cover image courtesy of Yale University Press</em></p> 47152 Tue, 12 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World How a monk-turned-street artist sees New York City’s homeless <p class="normal">Walking home from the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco on a cold autumn night in 2013, Pairoj Pichetmetakul passed a scene he’ll never forget.</p><p class="normal">On a nearly empty street in the SoMa district, Pairoj saw a young man beating a white-haired homeless man who appeared to be in his 70s. The attacker punched and kicked his victim, then sat on his chest and pummeled his face.</p><p class="normal">Pairoj wanted to help but fear held him back. He was new in the country, his English was poor, and he couldn't call the police because his cell phone battery had died. So, he just walked home.</p><p class="normal">&nbsp;"I couldn't sleep," recalled the now-32-year-old artist, who goes by his first name. "I went back in the morning to find the old man but he wasn't there."</p><p class="normal">Three years earlier, Pairoj had been a saffron-robed monk living at the Wat Hua Krabue Buddhist temple near Bangkok, where he recalls trying to avoid stepping on insects while walking between his living quarters and the temple.</p><p class="normal">Why, then, didn’t he help the homeless man?</p><p class="normal">That question troubled him so deeply that he resolved to make amends the only way he felt he could—through his art. Thus began an artistic and social project he calls “The Positivity Scrolls.”</p><p class="normal">First in San Francisco, and now in New York, Pairoj wanders the streets every week pushing a folding cart that holds his brushes, paint, and a long roll of canvas. "What is your name?" he gently asks when he encounters a homeless person. "Why are you homeless? Where is your family? What are your dreams?" And, finally, "Can I paint you?"</p><p class="normal">Some say no. Some shout and curse at him. Many say yes.</p><p class="normal"><b>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"><em>How Do You Cultivate Compassion in Your Community?&nbsp;</em></a></b>&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">Taking inspiration from Chinese scroll paintings, Pairoj paints his subjects on 10-foot-wide by 150-foot-long rolls of canvas, sliced into shorter, more manageable lengths that are later stitched back together. He's already filled four scrolls with side-by-side portraits of some 250 homeless men and women and plans to start work on a 300-foot scroll soon.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">He hasn't shown all the artwork publicly. Finding a venue large enough to display the scrolls is a challenge. One gallery recently rejected him for that very reason.</p><p class="normal">But the completed paintings are secondary to the message. "I want people to learn from me when I paint,” Pairoj says. “I want to inspire them and let them know the homeless need help. I just remind them that we're all one. We all need hope."</p><p class="normal">On a Saturday in October near Union Square, Pairoj met a man named Michael, a 40-year-old epileptic who had spent much of the day sitting cross-legged on the sidewalk waiting for handouts. Pairoj spread his scroll on the ground in front of him then placed a donation box next to the canvas with a sign reading “Hope For Him” with an arrow pointing toward Michael.</p><p class="normal">Pairoj worked on his feet, standing on the canvas and bending down to paint with thick strokes in a large, colorful, abstract style he describes as “Thai Street Art.”</p><p class="normal">"A big portrait shows more emotion and impacts more people when they walk past," Pairoj says of the project.</p><p class="normal">Michael, who told Pairoj that he liked to draw, sketched the artist on a small pad with colored pencils that the artist gave him.&nbsp; A young girl stopped to watch. Pairoj asked if she wanted to paint. She did. She began painting a flower on the canvas, next to his portrait of Michael. People passing by stopped to chat and take in the unlikely scene: a Thai artist, a homeless man, and a child painting together on a city street.</p><p class="normal">Pairoj says the collaborative process makes that homeless visible—and approachable.</p><p class="normal">"Some homeless people just want someone to talk to. People are scared of them. But when I paint, people come and talk to them,” Pairoj says.</p><p class="normal">People also give money. The donation box filled with $40 during the hour that Pairoj painted Michael. But Pairoj never keeps the money because he doesn’t want to “profit from their lives.” He gives it to his subjects along with a container of food that he gets from The Spicy Shallot, a Thai restaurant in Queens where he works as a waiter.</p><p class="normal"><b>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"><em>Building the First Holistic Center for Homeless Youth&nbsp;</em></a></b></p><p class="normal">And if he ever gets to exhibit the full-length scrolls, he wants to donate the money to&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Bowery Mission</a>, a nonprofit on Manhattan's Lower East Side that provides homeless New Yorkers with shelter, food, and medical care. Pairoj volunteers there, and recently showed three non-scroll paintings at a charity<a href=""> </a><a href="">exhibition</a> at The New Museum that earned $600 for the mission.</p><p class="normal">Laurie-Anne Bentley, the Bowery Mission's director of corporate partnerships and events, said Pairoj is "a very talented artist" with "a kind heart and great compassion for the homeless and poor in New York City."</p><p class="normal">"Often, projects purporting to support the homeless, even if well intended, can feel exploitative or self-promotional," said Keith Schweitzer, the director and cofounder of&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Lodge Gallery</a> in Manhattan, which presented<a href=""> </a><a href="" target="_blank">an iteration</a> of The Positivity Scrolls earlier this year. "What has impressed me about Pairoj most, apart from his high degree of execution, is his generosity and selflessness. Pairoj is deeply Buddhist and brings a genuine level of nonjudgmental compassion to his work, and this genuineness is reciprocated by the people he engages."</p><p class="normal"><br><b>Terence Cantarella</b> and <b>Roi Ben-Yehuda</b> are writers based in Miami and New York.</p> 47147 Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World Buddha Buzz <p>Happy New Year from Tricycle! We hope you had a restful holiday season.</p><p>A reminder: our new online course, <a href="" target="_blank">Developing the Mind</a>, starts on Sunday. Because you’re such a loyal Tricycle blog reader, you can use promo code Trike10! for a 10 percent discount when you sign up.</p><p>This is also the first week of Deborah David’s online retreat, “<a href="" target="_blank">Tuning in to the Present</a>,” which will help cultivate a personal mindfulness practice.</p><p>And, the Tricycle Film Club’s January title is now available to watch. In <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Examined Life</em></a>, filmmaker Astra Taylor follows influential thinkers to places that have inspired them.</p><p><strong>Here’s what’s new on Tricycle this week: </strong></p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Pamela Gayle White’s New Year’s wish for light in troubled times</a></p><p>A poem from <em>Tricycle</em> contributor <a href="" target="_blank">Paula Bohince, whose new collection is inspired by 60 Japanese Edo period paintings</a></p><p>Phakchok Rinpoche breaks down <a href="" target="_blank">six lessons from 19th-century Tibetan master Patrul Rinpoche</a></p><p>From the magazine: <a href="" target="_blank">A Q&A with Nepali artist Milan Rai about his white butterfly project</a></p><p><strong>And here’s what we’re reading at Tricycle: </strong></p><p>Kung Fu nuns are on their last stretch of a 1,367-mile bike pilgrimage from Kathmandu to New Delhi (<a href="" target="_blank">Buddhistdoor Global</a>)</p><p>Stephen Batchelor talks about Buddhism in the secular age (<a href="" target="_blank"><em>Vanity Fair</em></a>)</p><p>A Wall Street Journal tech editor (who has a strong meditation practice), asks how gadgets can help with our quest for enlightenment (<a href="" target="_blank"><em>Wall Street Journal</em></a>)</p><p>Sharon Salzberg on yearning, not gripping, for happiness (<a href="" target="_blank">On Being</a>)</p> 47146 Fri, 08 Jan 2016 14:07:01 -0500 Tricycle - Awake in the World