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January 12, 2016

On Hope and Hype

Reflections on a New Year’s tradition Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
At the dawn of a new year it’s customary to suspend our habitual cynicism about human nature in order to express joyful 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 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 of a date to alter the conditions under which we live? More »
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January 12, 2016

Mindful Tech

Learn the benefits of breathing through your inbox. Wendy Joan Biddlecombe
You’re used to watching your breath on the cushion, but what about when you’re cleaning out your inbox? In his new book, Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives, 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. “Some of the mindfulness work is just seeing what’s going on and being honest about it,” Levy told Tricycle. “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.” More »
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January 11, 2016

How a monk-turned-street artist sees New York City’s homeless

Pairoj Pichetmetakul hopes "The Positivity Scrolls" help teach compassion. Terence Cantarella and Roi Ben-Yehuda
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. 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. 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.  "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." More »
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January 08, 2016

Buddha Buzz

What’s new at Tricycle this week Wendy Joan Biddlecombe
Happy New Year from Tricycle! We hope you had a restful holiday season. A reminder: our new online course, Developing the Mind, 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. This is also the first week of Deborah David’s online retreat, “Tuning in to the Present,” which will help cultivate a personal mindfulness practice. And, the Tricycle Film Club’s January title is now available to watch. In Examined Life, filmmaker Astra Taylor follows influential thinkers to places that have inspired them. More »
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January 07, 2016

A New Year's Wish for Light

A reminder to light the way for others (while there’s still time) in 2016. Pamela Gayle White
When I was a kid, the other kids played human. Not me. Not even superhero. I always pretended I was an animal, often a great cat, sometimes a wolf, dog, or bear. A superanimal. I wasn’t fantasizing about the part where the predator sinks its teeth into the prey’s neck, but about the raw beauty and that sleek, powerful, you’d-be-insane-to-mess-with-me assurance these beings own. It seemed to me that animals, in general, were superior to humans because their place in the world was such a perfect fit.  More »
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January 06, 2016

Mountain and River on the Kiso Road

An excerpt from a new collection of 60 poems inspired by Japanese Edo art. Paula Bohince
Mountain and River on the Kiso Road The weasel in its Winter fur lies downto dream. The silent filmfreezes. Snow shuddering from shoulders,the animal looks asleep.Now landscape is deadened,unblemished by fantasy.Ice in the blue insistencehas no emotion. How gloriousits absence, the blankness of snowflakeswhen they hit, unheard hiss of is, is, is …  More »
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January 04, 2016

Six Lessons from Patrul Rinpoche

Phakchok Rinpoche breaks down lessons from a 19th century great master on what we’re missing in life. Phakchok Rinpoche
Last fall, Phakchok Rinpoche discussed six lessons from Patrul Rinpoche, a 19th-century Tibetan teacher, on what we are actually missing in life. The message was sent out on Guru Rinpoche Day, which celebrates Padmasambhava, the 8th century teacher credited with bringing Buddhism to Tibet.   “Many of us try to practice and I think is very important to have a clear idea of the wrong qualities we have in life and their actual nature,” Phakchok Rinpoche wrote in on Nov. 21, 2015. Below is his further explanation of Patrul Rinpoche’s teachings: “The proud will never be pleased" More »
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December 31, 2015

Tricycle's Top 15 of 2015

Our most memorable reads (and listens) from 2015
From exploring the beginner meditator's mind to the idea that journaling, Pilates, and colon cleanses won't help with your impending mortality, here are 15 articles and talks from Tricycle in 2015 that you shouldn't miss. From the blog:  5 Things That Might Surprise You About Meditation Retreats Retreats aren't all calm and cosmic-flavored bubblegum, Brent R. Oliver writes.  It Needs Saying Buddhism is not a philosophy, science, psychotherapy, or culture. It is a religion.  More »
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December 30, 2015

Protecting Meaning in Everyday Life

A review of Marilynne Robinson’s new book, “The Givenness of Things.” Liesl Schwabe
The Givenness of ThingsBy Marilynne RobinsonFarrar, Straus, and Giroux; October 2015304 pp.; $26 In September, President Barack Obama sat down with the writer Marilynne Robinson to talk about the intersection of democracy, citizenship, and spirituality.   “There’s all this goodness and decency and common sense on the ground,” Obama said, “and somehow it gets translated into rigid, dogmatic, often mean-spirited politics.” When the apparent leader of the Western world wants input on the “direction the country should be going in,” the notion that we ought to listen is clear.  More »
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December 29, 2015

Hoping for Snow in Dark December: A Balm in Troubled Times

Connecticut's poet laureate emeritus reflects on the hope that snow can bring. Dick Allen
Dear Grandson Lincoln,I once read of a cameraman who believed that nothing was quite so beautiful as scenes filmed through slowly falling snow.Ever since, even in December's darkest days, I hope for such a snowfall. If it arrives, I put aside all troubles. l simply watch snow coming down.I hope you'll forever do the same.You'll need such ways of escape because you're growing up in these Internet and 24-hour-news cycle years of constant worry. Radical terrorists may come, you fear. Bombs may explode as you watch a marathon race or sit in a movie theater or at a concert.Yet I want to tell you, Lincoln, you can handle this. Your fears are not unique. More »
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December 28, 2015

Buddhist Thank-You Cards

Finding gratitude for life’s “10,000 sorrows”—and turning suffering into our greatest source of compassion and creativity. Carolyn Gregoire
In a 1988 interview with Rolling Stone, the late actor and comedian Robin Williams opened up about finding gratitude for life’s hardships, including his recent divorce and the death of his father. After one of the most difficult years of his life, Williams said, he found a way to be thankful.   “Someone said I should send out Buddhist thank-you cards,” he said, “since Buddhists believe that anything that challenges you makes you pull yourself together.” More »
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December 25, 2015

Savasana for Deep Relaxation and Discovery

How corpse pose can help with the difficult task of letting go. Lauren Krauze
The end of the year arrives quickly, and often we feel a sense of urgency. Our pace quickens, both individually and collectively. In order to maintain balance during this time, we must slow down and prioritize rest. The sustained periods of darkness in the winter present many opportunities to move inward and engage in relaxing practices. Savasana, a yogic practice that encourages rest and relaxation, is a Sanskrit word that combines sava (corpse) and asana (seat or connection). In the practice of yoga, savasana is often the last posture during which practitioners lie down and rest.   More »
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December 23, 2015

(Meta)Physical Education: Washing Your Own Bowl

A Montessori teacher and Zen practitioner on the importance of focusing on the process, not the result. Alex Tzelnic
This is the second post in a three-part series on the Buddhist lessons Alex Tzelnic has learned as an elementary school teacher. You can read his first post here. Montessori, like Zen, is one of those words that many people are familiar with and yet few understand. When I tell someone I’m going away for the weekend on a Zen retreat, they get a faraway look in their eyes, no doubt imagining scented candles and a Yoda-like guru with a background in Swedish massage, and say, “That must be so relaxing.” Little do they know that the majority of the weekend is spent staring at a wall, planning an escape route.  More »
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December 21, 2015

Love, Loss, and the Grocery Store

A supermarket closing offers a teaching on the suffering of change. Joan Duncan Oliver
I‘m in mourning. For my supermarket. Don’t roll your eyes. Your local grocery store is a pretty important life support, right? So when I heard that the Food Emporium on the corner was closing, I went into a depression. Not quite like the one I’d have felt if a friend had died, but close. We’ve been together for almost 30 years, the Food Emporium and I. Longer than most of my friendships. More »
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December 18, 2015

Buddha Buzz: Weekend Reading

What's new at Tricycle this week, and what we're reading. Wendy Joan Biddlecombe
With the year’s end approaching, it’s time to take stock of everything that happened over the past 12 months and dream about what kind of year you’d like 2016 to be. And letting go. If those two words resonate with you—if you’re holding onto something you’d like to not carry with you through the new year, consider Kevin Griffin’s online course, “Letting Go and Going Forward.”   And, if you have a holiday break planned, think about taking an hour to watch “The Mindful Revolution,” the Tricycle Film Club’s current feature, which dives into the role of meditation in the corporate world.  New on Tricycle this week: More »
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December 16, 2015

5 Things I Miss About Being A Hardcore Meditator

What Brent R. Oliver learned when he tried to “get enlightened or die tryin’.” Brent R. Oliver
When 2015 dawned, I thought it would be a great year for total liberation. Specifically, mine. So I committed myself to becoming a hardcore meditator.  I found a teacher, became a one-on-one student, and began doing at least 90 minutes of Vipassana a day. It was rough. I’d been an underachieving Buddhist for a long time and the total immersion was a shock. I told myself to tough it out; I told myself it was get enlightened or die tryin’.  I chickened out after six months. My practice got to a point where I dreaded the cushion and the highly rigorous meditation technique. After years of laziness, I was suddenly overwhelmed and my life went sideways. I tried to get way too serious, way too fast. More »
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December 15, 2015

COP21: Too Little, Too Late?

Holding out hope for humanity as the world warms. Sam Mowe
Leaders and negotiators from 195 countries passed a climate change resolution in Paris on Sunday that aims to limit the increase in global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius with a goal of 1.5 degrees. The final agreement is available here.  More »
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December 11, 2015

Buddha Buzz: Weekend Reading

What’s new at Tricycle this week, and what our editors are reading. Wendy Joan Biddlecombe
Tricycle’s contributors and editors are appearing all over the place this week—in The New York Times, the Paris Review, and in talks on college campuses. Tricycle contributor Curtis White was interviewed in the Paris Review, and discussed science, ideology, and “being awake” in our current culture. White, whose review of the new films, Steve Jobs and San Francisco 2.0, will appear in the Spring 2016 issue, has previously discussed themes of scientism in “The Science Delusion” and corporate America’s mindfulness industry in “It’s Not Me, It’s You.”  More »
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December 11, 2015

Sounding the Alarm on Trump

Features editor Andrew Cooper on Trump's dangerous rhetoric and one American Muslim woman's viral response. Andrew Cooper
One problem with preening, egotistical demagogues is that sometimes a lot of people listen to them. Another problem is that, because they tend to be buffoons, a lot of other people complacently dismiss them. Few saw Senator Joe McCarthy coming until McCarthyism had already arrived. Now we have Donald Trump. Trump is different from most other demagogues in that he seems to be utterly without conviction, save his grandiose conviction in himself. His cynicism is breathtaking. He so far seems willing to say anything, no matter how hateful, ignorant, or dishonest, that will gratify his narcissism. A significant segment of the public is eating it up, the more appalling, the better. More »
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December 09, 2015

Peace and Politics

A complicated political relationship has given way to a large Buddhist movement that supports a pro-military reinterpretation of Japan’s constitution. Janak Rogers
The Japanese parliament, known as the Diet, is generally a fairly sedate place, but in late September it was the site of an extraordinary scene in which Japanese lawmakers crash-tackled and wrestled each other to the ground during a vote for laws that would, if passed, radically redefine Japan's security posture. On Sept. 19, 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (the LDP) achieved its goal: voting in a package of laws that would allow Japanese soldiers to fight overseas for the first time since the end of World War II. The laws allow for “collective-self defense,” meaning that Japan can, when a threat is considered significant enough, fight not just in self-defense but also in defense of its allies.  More »