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February 05, 2013

Meditation Month, Day 5: Scattered, But Gathering

I am new to meditating, but have read a decent amount of literature and have had the good fortune to meet a lot of teachers who have spoke very eloquently and convincingly about its benefits—so when the Meditation Challenge started I was very excited to commit to integrating it into my daily routine.  But how easy I found it to avoid or reason away just sitting down and doing it! Given, I have just moved into a new apartment which definitely is a consuming and demanding activity, but still, what is just 20-30 minutes? More »
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February 05, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Machik Labdron

Biography and autobiography in Tibet are important sources for both education and inspiration. Tibetans have kept such meticulous records of their teachers that thousands of names are known and discussed in a wide range of biographical material. All these names, all these lives—it can be a little overwhelming. The authors involved in the Treasury of Lives are currently mining the primary sources to provide English-language biographies of every known religious teacher from Tibet and the Himalaya, all of which are organized for easy searching and browsing. Every Tuesday on the Tricycle blog, we will highlight and reflect on important, interesting, eccentric, surprising and beautiful stories found within this rich literary tradition.    More »
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February 04, 2013

Meditation Month, Day 4: The Perfect Sit

This is my third year participating in the 28-day commit to sit, and each year I’m reminded that the conditions for integrating a daily practice into my life are never “perfect.” There’s always some challenge, some distraction, that gets in the way of what I had hoped would be four weeks chock-full of blissful moments of peace and tranquility. More »
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February 04, 2013

A Real Pain in the Butt

Some hard facts about sitting, the sciatic nerve, aging, and your pelvis Cator Shachoy
The author of this guest post, Cator Shachoy, founder of the nonprofit organization Youth Yoga Dharma, is currently leading a Tricycle community discussion about dealing with pain that arises during meditation. Join in on the discussion here.  Let’s talk about your pelvis. You know—that big bony area at the geographic center of your body. Odds are good that you take it for granted. You may even be annoyed by the bony pokey-ness of it when you sit. Perhaps you think the less you feel your pelvis, the better. More »
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February 04, 2013

New Online Retreat: Real Happiness: A 28-Day Meditation Challenge

February is Meditation Month here at Tricycle. As we embark upon our 28-day meditation challenge, our new retreat with renowned meditation teacher and co-founder of Insight Meditation Society, Sharon Salzberg, is a great way for beginners to get started and for veterans to renew their practice. In this first week's retreat, "Concentration," which is available for all to watch, Sharon discusses how common it is for our minds to become scattered and subject to all kinds of distraction. The practice of concentration, or as she calls it, of "gathering," can result in a sense of empowerment and feelings of integration and presence.  More »
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February 01, 2013

Buddha Buzz: A Columbia Professor and a Death Row Inmate

Not to be outdone by Burma's shocking level of prejudice against Muslims, a group of Sinhalese Buddhist monastics known as the "Buddhist Force" is campaigning to ban halal meat in Sri Lanka amidst attacks on Muslim-owned businesses and other violence. The Sinhalese president has urged the monks to maintain religious harmony within the country, especially since the nation's civil war with the Hindu Tamil Tigers ended only four years ago. More »
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February 01, 2013

Meditation Month Begins Today!

It might not say this on your desk calendars, but it's Meditation Month here at Tricycle! That means that starting today, it's time to join the Tricycle staff in making the commitment to sit every day of February—no exceptions and no excuses. We'll be blogging our triumphs and tribulations here and at Vipassana teacher Sharon Salzberg's "Real Happiness" website throughout the month. We'll also be sharing videos, audio interviews, articles, and tips from well-known Buddhist teachers that will help you develop and maintain a meditation practice. To start things off, you can download last year's Meditation Month e-book, Tricycle Teachings: Meditation, here.  Beginning Monday, February 4, you'll be able to: More »
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January 31, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Mahasiddha Appearance

Jeff Watt
Buddhist practice and Buddhist art have been inseparable in the Himalayas ever since Buddhism arrived to the region in the eighth century. But for the casual observer it can be difficult to make sense of the complex iconography. Not to worry—Himalayan art scholar Jeff Watt is here to help. In this "Himalayan Buddhist Art 101" series, Jeff is making sense of this rich artistic tradition by presenting weekly images from the Himalayan Art Resources archives and explaining their roles in the Buddhist tradition. Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Mahasiddha Appearance More »
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January 30, 2013

Straight Outta Kapilavastu

Home Taping Is Skill in Buddha M. Sophia Newman
One day, long after he became a teacher, the Buddha went to give his daily sermon to the monastic community. He climbed on the dais but didn’t speak. Instead, he held aloft a single flower. He waited in silence. The monks and nuns looked back at him as the minutes passed. Finally, a single monk, Kāśyapa, looked at the Buddha. Kāśyapa smiled. As ancient scripture records it, the Buddha said, “I possess the true Dharma eye, the marvelous mind of Nirvana, the true form of the formless, the subtle dharma gate that does not rest on words or letters but is a special transmission outside of the scriptures. This I entrust to Mahākāśyapa.”[i] In other words, “Great Kasyapa is enlightened.” The Buddha got offstage and called it a day. This is the origin story of Zen. Amen, Brother. More »
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January 30, 2013

We Love Getting Mail Like This

We love getting mail like this! This letter arrived from an anonymous Zen practitioner this morning: More »
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January 29, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Kagyu Founders Part 5, Taklungtangpa and Sanggye On

Alexander Gardner
Biography and autobiography in Tibet are important sources for both education and inspiration. Tibetans have kept such meticulous records of their teachers that thousands of names are known and discussed in a wide range of biographical material. All these names, all these lives—it can be a little overwhelming. The authors involved in the Treasury of Lives are currently mining the primary sources to provide English-language biographies of every known religious teacher from Tibet and the Himalaya, all of which are organized for easy searching and browsing. Every Tuesday on the Tricycle blog, we will highlight and reflect on important, interesting, eccentric, surprising and beautiful stories found within this rich literary tradition. More »
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January 28, 2013

On Pilgrimage

Steve Kohn
The following poem was submitted by Steve Kohn, a participant in last year's "In the Footsteps of the Buddha" Tricycle pilgrimage to India. He was inspired to submit the poem upon reading Pico Iyer's piece in the pilgrimage special section in the Fall 2012 issue of Tricycle.   Pilgrimage Come be a pilgrim with me.There is a place of great poverty,        With here and there A cow patty of wealth. Come, take a journey and seeGreat hungers feeding ill healthWith invisible poisons in water and air. More »
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January 28, 2013

May I Live With Ease: Final Week of Cyndi Lee's Retreat

In this final week's teaching of Cyndi Lee's retreat, "May I Live With Ease," Cyndi discusses how we can turn our normal resistances to our practice into focused exertion. By taking a closer look at our resistances, we can draw motivational energy from them. This process of continually realigning our motivation is the key to cultivating deep and lasting happiness, which is the key to the fourth part of the maitri practice: living with ease. More »
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January 25, 2013

Buddha Buzz: Buddha Porta Potties, Marine Mindfulness, and Tibetan Rap

I don't know what Dutch company Boels Rental was thinking when they green-lighted an advertising campaign that involved images of Shakyamuni Buddha printed on Porta Potties around the Netherlands, but it's safe to say they didn't expect a massive Facebook campaign, led by two Thai Buddhists, demanding that the images be taken down. The campaign gathered such support that only two days after it began, the company had apologized and promised to "withdraw the designs from the market." More »
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January 24, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Stories of the Buddha Part 4, Avadāna Stories Quick Guide

Jeff Watt
Buddhist practice and Buddhist art have been inseparable in the Himalayas ever since Buddhism arrived to the region in the eighth century. But for the casual observer it can be difficult to make sense of the complex iconography. Not to worry—Himalayan art scholar Jeff Watt is here to help. In this "Himalayan Buddhist Art 101" series, Jeff is making sense of this rich artistic tradition by presenting weekly images from the Himalayan Art Resources archives and explaining their roles in the Buddhist tradition. More »
Tricycle Community 21 comments

January 23, 2013

The Dangers of Spirituality

An Interview with David Webster
In recent decades, the decline of religious belief and affiliation in the West has been accompanied by a steady increase of interest in “spirituality” and the deployment of the term. The word has come a long way from its Christian roots to encompass alternative and mystic traditions from a number of religious traditions, and, more recently, to denote a kind of lifestyle most often characterized as “spiritual, but not religious.” As the authors of Selling Spirituality, Jeremy Carrette and Richard King observe, “There are perhaps few words in the modern English language as vague and wooly as the notion of ‘spirituality.’” More »
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January 22, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Bhutan's Nyingma Treasure Revealers

Biography and autobiography in Tibet are important sources for both education and inspiration. Tibetans have kept such meticulous records of their teachers that thousands of names are known and discussed in a wide range of biographical material. All these names, all these lives—it can be a little overwhelming. The authors involved in the Treasury of Lives are currently mining the primary sources to provide English-language biographies of every known religious teacher from Tibet and the Himalaya, all of which are organized for easy searching and browsing. Every Tuesday on the Tricycle blog, we will highlight and reflect on important, interesting, eccentric, surprising and beautiful stories found within this rich literary tradition. Bhutan's Nyingma Treasure Revealers More »
Tricycle Community 21 comments

January 22, 2013

Social Media Guidelines for Vajrayana Students

The following guidelines were posted on the Facebook page of Buddhist author and filmmaker Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche (via American Buddhist Perspective). If you think or believe that you are a student of Vajrayana—whether or not that’s true is another matter—but as long as you think you are a Vajrayana practitioner, it becomes your responsibility to protect this profound tradition. More »
Tricycle Community 21 comments

January 22, 2013

TrikeTV: Buddha Balderdash

Welcome to the second episode of TrikeTV, "Buddha Balderdash." This time, the audacious Tricycle staff hit the streets of New York City to play Balderdash with a Buddhist twist. Balderdash is a board game that asks players to correctly define difficult words—and if they don't know the right definition, to make one up. We decided to ask strangers to define classic Buddhist words like "dharma," "nirvana," and "karma." Watch to find out just how much Buddhist parlance has successfully permeated the mainstream consciousness... Watch the first episode, "A Very Buddhist Christmas," here. More »
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January 21, 2013

May I Be Safe: Third Week of Cyndi Lee's Retreat

In this week's retreat teaching, "May I Be Safe," yoga teacher and longtime Buddhist practitioner Cyndi Lee discusses alignment not just in the sense of our physical body, but also in terms of our focus on feelings of union and self-integration. These feelings, through a codified set of practices, can create the causes and conditions for happiness. Introducing us to one of Patañjali's yoga sutras, Yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ, she emphasizes the "state of yoga" as a type of presence or nowness that can be achieved through the processes of mental cessation and "realigning." She introduces us to the practice of pranayama before ending with more beginner-level yoga. More »