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April 30, 2015

An Unholy Alliance

Thailand’s military government takes a special interest in Thai Buddhism and the moral authority its institutions command. Hilary Cadigan
Thailand’s military government, which seized control of the country in a coup last May, has taken a special interest in Thai Buddhism and the moral authority its institutions command. After settling into power and naming itself the National Council for Peace and Order, the junta immediately set off on a paternalistic mission to rid Thailand of corruption, immorality, and anything deemed “un-Thai” (like underboobs, for example). Since Buddhism makes up such an integral part of the agreed upon definition of “Thai-ness,” junta leaders quickly set their sights on religious reform, installing a special panel to focus on the “protection of Buddhism” within their National Reform Council (NRC). More »
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April 28, 2015

The Slow Burn

Is smoking cigarettes un-Buddhist? Alex Tzelnic
Bernie Flynn, a longtime student of Chögyam Trungpa, recently told me about the time he and the Rinpoche tried to quit smoking cigarettes. A few days in, he was driving the Rinpoche to a meeting. Antsy and in withdrawal, Bernie couldn’t help but notice his teacher sitting calmly in the passenger seat. Finally, his nerves on edge, Bernie turned to Trungpa and asked how the whole quitting thing was going. “It’s easy,” said Trungpa. “Either you smoke, or you don’t smoke.” Ah, so simple. Later that evening, Bernie entered a room to find the Rinpoche gleefully chain smoking. Oh, not so simple. More »
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April 27, 2015

Nepal Disaster Relief

Want to donate to the rescue effort in Nepal? Here is a list of qualified aid organizations. The Editors
Saturday’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Nepal has caused widespread death and damage in the country that houses some of the world’s most precious Buddhist sites. News sites are reporting that the death toll has now risen above 3,000 and is expected to continue rising sharply.  Tricycle has heard directly from people living in Kathmandu that they are spending a third night outdoors in makeshift tents while powerful aftershocks continue to roil the country. There are reports of shortages of tents, food, water, and medical supplies.  More »
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April 24, 2015

You Yourself Are Oatmeal

Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara gets real about Zen
Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara is founder and abbot of the Village Zendo in New York City, and the author of Most Intimate: A Zen Approach to Life’s Challenges. We talked in her office on April 13, 2010. —Richard P. Boyle  More »
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April 22, 2015

Arriving Without a Sound

Three poems on Zen and its passage Joanne Kyger
Myokyo Dream "Stop fidgeting" she saysI'm picking candle wax off my robesWe're all sitting in the ZendoPeople of all ages introducing themselves. "I'm here because I read too much" I say. August 4, 2007 There Are Those Buddhists                   like myselfwho do not scorn the ideaof mere “things” possessinga sanctityof their own More »
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April 20, 2015

A Raucous Silence

The wrapper-crinkler, the squirmer, the know-it-all—they all show up in Small Mouth Sounds, a new play that brings the ins and outs of retreat to the stage. Joan Duncan Oliver
There’s one on every meditation retreat: the roommate who crinkles potato chip wrappers all night, keeping you awake; the meditator on the next cushion who squirms nonstop; the know-it-all who flaunts his “enlightenment.” If this sounds familiar, be prepared to laugh uproariously in recognition. If it doesn’t—well, watch and learn. More »
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April 20, 2015

How Meditation Offers a Planetary Perspective

An exclusive clip from the film Planetary
Planetary is a cross-continental cinematic journey that explores our future as a species with interviews from astronauts, environmentalists, anthropologists, and leading Buddhist thinkers. Get the full film (10% discount for Tricycle subscribers with promo code TRICYCLE10) here. More »
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April 14, 2015

The Jig Is Up

Sri Lanka's new president, Maithripala Sirisena, can put an end to extremist Buddhist violence in his country. But will he?  Max Zahn
Sri Lanka's newly elected president, Maithripala Sirisena More »
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April 10, 2015

Felt in Its Fullness

An interview with poet and Soto Zen practitioner Jane Hirshfield
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April 08, 2015

In the Spirit of Service

International aid leaders explain how Buddhism's boundless states—lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity—manifest in their work.  Sharon Salzberg, Pierre Ferrari, David G. Addiss, Ellen Agler, and Jeffrey C. Walker
Over the past few years, as despair across the globe seems to deepen, many have told me that these troubling times have, ironically enough, inspired them to discover newfound reservoirs of goodwill. Moving forward in times of great difficulty, after all, calls for drawing on one’s buried resources. Perhaps adversity reminds us to pay attention to the immediacy of love or the necessity of living a meaningful life. When we meditate or reflect on what in Pali are called the four brahmaviharas (boundless states) of lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity, we can get back in touch with the depths of wisdom and love within each of us. We can choose to pursue these not only for our own sake, but also for the benefit of those in more desperate circumstances than our own. More »
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April 03, 2015

A 1,500-Year-Old Monastery Teaches Buddhism to Chinese Millennials with Stop-Animation Shorts

Alex Caring-Lobel
Founded in 2011, Longquan Comic and Animation Group shoots its Buddhist-themed, stop-motion animation shorts in a mountain cave in Beijing's Fenghuangling Nature Park.  Longquan Monastery's abbot, Venerated Master Xueching, who is also Vice Chairman and Secretary-General of the Buddhist Association of China, first started using social media several years prior. Now, with a crew composed solely of monks and volunteers, the 1,500-year-old monastery produces enormously popular short films to make Buddhist precepts and teachings understandable and relevant to daily life, which it shares on Weibo, China's equivalent to Twitter. More »
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April 01, 2015

Tibet 2.0

A new contemporary art show asks what it means to be Tibetan. Anne Doran
Transcending TibetThrough April 12, 2015Rogue Space, New York Tserang Dhundrup's Gold iPhone sums up the contradictions of modern urban life in Lhasa. Organizing an art show around a geographic region or ethnic group is treacherous: it can easily result in a grouping of works that otherwise have nothing in common or, worse, reinforce unwanted stereotypes. Transcending Tibet—presented by the Trace Foundation in partnership with Arthub Asia—is alert to these dangers and does a good job of avoiding most of them. More »
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March 31, 2015

Don't Just Sit There

You can do everything right on the cushion and still struggle in your practice. Here's why. Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede
We all seek out meditation in order to relieve pain of one kind or another. If we weren’t at least vaguely dissatisfied, we wouldn’t try it.  Many of us sense that by working from the inside, meditation addresses the root of our problems. But that introspective effort remains handicapped if we give way to pain-producing actions and words off the cushion.  More »
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March 30, 2015

The Progress Question

Like any artistic endeavor, meditation is a matter of practice. Ken McLeod
“I’ve been meditating for some time, but my mind seems just as chaotic and confused as when I started. Am I doing something wrong?” Almost everyone who practices meditation has similar concerns, no matter how long they’ve been doing it—whether three weeks, three years, or three decades. When students confront me with the progress question, I just try to redirect their attention. I’ve found that the best thing is for them to just keep practicing. More »
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March 30, 2015

Tibetan Buddhist Leader Blazes an Innovative Trail

Joshua Eaton
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (RNS) Wrapped in the maroon and gold robes of a Tibetan monk, Ogyen Trinley Dorje isn’t what most people picture when they think of innovation. To his followers, Dorje is the 17th Karmapa—the leader of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and the latest in a line of reincarnated Tibetan teachers, or lamas, stretching back to the 12th century. He’s been training for that role since the age of 7, when other important lamas recognized him as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa, who died in Illinois in 1981. More »
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March 25, 2015

China Asserts Control over Dalai Lama Lineage

Joshua Eaton
According to the Dalai Lama’s autobiography, Mao Zedong, the founder of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), once characterized religion as “poison.” The modern CCP maintains official atheism to this day, but that hasn’t stopped officials from claiming control over the intricacies of Tibetan Buddhist reincarnation. Angered by recent comments by the 14th Dalai Lama, 79, that he might not have a successor, Chinese officials have lashed out at the exiled spiritual leader and reasserted long-standing policies that grant them control over the recognition of reincarnate lamas. More »
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March 23, 2015

Breathe Easy

Two breathing exercises to help steady the mind before meditation Lauren Krauze
When I first started practicing meditation, my teacher taught me that the breath—ever-present and unconditional—is the link between body and mind. When we place our full attention on the breath, we pull ourselves out of the past, away from the future, and directly into the present moment. Or at least that’s how the common instruction goes. But using the breath to enter the proverbial here-and-now is easier said than done. More »
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March 23, 2015

Guided Meditation—Week 4

Honor the feelings of contentment that may start to arise.  Ven. Pannavati
Ven. Pannavati has led weekly guided meditations each Monday in March for Meditation Month. Check the blog for the previous installments in this series. Download the transcript of this retreat. It has been edited for clarity.  Ven. Pannavati will respond to reader questions posted below. More »
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March 21, 2015

Hung Jury

Buddhists aren't as unanimously opposed to the death penalty as you might think. Mario Marazziti
The Dalai Lama had just finished speaking at an event on the Capitoline Hill in Rome when I sought him out and asked him to be one of the first signatories of the Community of Sant'Egidio's Appeal for a Moratorium on the Death Penalty. He accepted immediately and signed in earth-green ink, which came as no surprise. Who more than the Dalai Lama is identified around the world with the need to respect life?  More »