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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 »
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March 16, 2015

Not Playing Nice

Buddhist nationalism threatens Myanmar's democratic transition.  Marte Nilsen
Myanmar's parliament building It’s election year in Myanmar, the big test for the country’s aspiring democratic transition. Among the spirited national debates there are four controversial pieces of legislation currently under consideration in Myanmar’s Assembly of the Union parliament (the Pyidaungsu hluttaw). These reportedly aim to protect race and religion. But in truth, the bills represent a setback for religious freedom and women’s rights and—if adopted—are likely to deepen existing religious divides, threaten the reform agenda, and stir violence prior to the elections. More »
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March 16, 2015

Guided Meditation—Week 3

The practice gets easier the more we do it. Ven. Pannavati
Ven. Pannavati is leading weekly guided meditations for Meditation Month. Check back every Monday in March for a new video teaching on the blog.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 12, 2015

Calming the Not Now Mind

Meditation tips for procrastinators and perfectionists Kate Johnson
I'll just get a cup of tea first. Maybe sip it slowly, look out the window. Oh, better check my email too. . . Some mornings, the part of my mind that would rather meditate any time but now seems to wake up five minutes before the rest of me does. By the time my alarm rings and my eyes crack open, it is as if Not Now Mind were already sitting on the edge of the bed, drumming its fingertips, tapping its foot, and batting its eyelashes at me. More »
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March 10, 2015

The Myth of Religious Violence

Modern society has made a scapegoat of faith. Karen Armstrong
Every year in ancient Israel the high priest brought two goats into the Jerusalem temple on the Day of Atonement. He sacrificed one to expiate the sins of the community and then laid his hands on the other, transferring all the people's misdeeds onto its head, and sent the sin-laden animal out of the city, literally placing the blame elsewhere. In this way, Moses explained, “the goat will bear all their faults away with it into a desert place.” In his classic study of religion and violence, René Girard argued that the scapegoat ritual defused rivalries among groups within the community. In a similar way, I believe, modern society has made a scapegoat of faith. More »
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March 09, 2015

Guided Meditation—Week 2

Let your attention rest on one thing—the breath.  Ven. Pannavati
Ven. Pannavati is leading weekly guided meditations for Meditation Month. Check back every Monday in March for a new video teaching on the blog.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 02, 2015

A Head in Front of a Body

A short mindfulness of body practice to prevent anxiety Jill Satterfield
Everyone experiences occasional anxiety and some of us might be fraught with it. Tricycle readers especially are most likely no strangers to hearing or reading about mindfulness-based meditation practices that can soothe the feelings of anxiety. But as anyone who has experienced an anxiety attack will know, what’s almost as unpleasant as having one is hearing someone say “just breathe, relax” in the midst of it. More »
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March 02, 2015

Guided Meditation—Week 1

Developing intent, breath by breath Ven. Pannavati
Ven. Pannavati is leading weekly guided meditations for Meditation Month. Check back every Monday in March for a new video teaching on the blog.Download the transcript of this retreat. It has been edited for clarity.  Ven. Pannavati will respond to reader questions posted below. More »