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May 27, 2013

Final Week of Pat Enkyo O'Hara Roshi's Retreat: To Be a Bodhisattva

"When we allow ourselves to be enlightened by everything that exists, then we can't help but to also serve."—Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara In the final week of Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara's retreat, "To Be a Bodhisattva," she interprets and adapts the last slogan of Zen Master Dogen from the Genjokoan: to be enlightened by the myriad things is to become a bodhisattva.  "A bodhisattva is not a fixed character, an 'Awakened Being,'" Enkyo Roshi says. Rather, a bodhisattva is an "'Awakening Being'—a being that is awakening, and is awakening others. A bodhisattva is one who relates to the world in an awakening fashion." When we recognize the interconnectedness of all things, helping others becomes automatic, as we cease to see the difference between ourselves and others. Then, to serve others is the same as serving oneself.    More »
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May 24, 2013

Buddha Buzz: Chinese Policing Tibetan Areas Suffer from PTSD

Alex Caring-Lobel
France24 reporter Cyril Payen recently brought new interviews and images out of Tibet that reveal a dire human rights situation resembling “an Orwellian world of surveillance.” Nicholas Bequelin with Human Rights Watch contends that "the situation in Tibet is as bad as it's ever been," adding that "Chinese police forces are now running what could be called a major counter-insurgency operation in Lhasa." The problem, says Bequelin, is that there is no real insurgency in Tibet. And with the visible increase of surveillance, the emergence of one is unlikely. More »
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May 23, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Controversial Art, Part 1 - Dorje Shugden

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. Controversial Art, Part 1: Dorje Shugden More »
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May 22, 2013

The Ban on Rupert Sheldrake's TED Talk

Alex Caring-Lobel
Scientist Rupert Sheldrake’s recent work lays bare many of the unexamined assumptions common in mainstream science. I was very pleased to find that the first online comment on “A Question of Faith,” my interview with Sheldrake in the new issue, brought up the ban on his TED talk, and was from a scientist, at that. The commenter—a physician—explained how the ban caused him to rethink the effect of scientific dogma in his own practice. This convinced me that the ban itself is quite revealing. Proponents of the ban may have celebrated their early success, but the result has been more complex in that it has provided fodder for Sheldrake’s arguments.  More »
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May 22, 2013

Consider the Source: Why is Mahayana Buddhism a "snow zone tradition"?

Andy Ferguson
If you look on a map, you’ll see that the spread of Mahayana Buddhism matches places where the winters are bad and it snows a lot. Why? In warmer climates in India, monks could live in the forest, taking refuge in temporary structures to wait out the rainy season. But in northern climates, the long winters demanded better protection, so home-leaving monks had only two choices: they could live in a cave or in a monastery. More »
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May 21, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Nyingma Founders Part 4, The Jangter

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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May 20, 2013

Consider the Source: Why did Zen monks live in caves?

Andy Ferguson
While Zen monks did live in caves in part to find refuge from the elements, there’s more to the story than just avoiding thunderstorms—they were also hiding out from the government. Ancient Chinese kings were loath to let too many “home-leavers” skip out on paying taxes, serving in the army, growing food, or having children—the activities needed for a country to survive and for kings to live in style. The king viewed monks who claimed exemption from these activities just because they wanted to practice meditation as deadbeats or brigands. Monks who were caught were defrocked or worse. More »
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May 20, 2013

Tricycle Short Film Trailer Release: Amituofo

"A lot of people believe that martial arts was born in the Shaolin Temple. That's not true. When the Chinese people were born, martial arts was born. But the Shaolin Temple was the first place to combine all the martial arts together." —Shifu Shi Yan Ming, abbot of the USA Shaolin Temple More »
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May 20, 2013

Third Week of Pat Enkyo O'Hara Roshi's Retreat: To Be Awakened

In the third week's teaching of Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara's retreat, "To Be Awakened," she addresses the third slogan of Zen Master Dogen from the Genjokoan: To forget the self is be enlightened by the myriad things. "Every thing is an opportunity to wake up," says Enkyo Roshi, "but we have to be open to it, and recognize it." We often come to think of enlightenment as an abstract, idealized state. But actually, enlightenment often lies in the most mundane moments and experiences. Or as Enkyo Roshi puts it, "We are looking so hard for something that we don't recognize that it's right here." By sitting, quieting our mind, and becoming intimate with ourselves, she reminds us, we can connect to the wholeness and security of the universe.     More »
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May 17, 2013

Buddha Buzz: The Transsexual Monk, The Million Bottle Temple, and The Accidental Prime Minister

Emma Varvaloucas
Only in Thailand: Sorrawee Nattee, the 2009 winner of the Thai "Miss Tiffany" transsexual beauty contest, has removed his breast implants and become a monk. That's what I call getting the best of both worlds, since women in Thailand are unable to receive full ordination... More »
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May 16, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: The Vajra Scepter, Part 1

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. The Vajra Scepter, Part 1: Multiple Meanings More »
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May 15, 2013

News Brief: Mindfulness Conquers World

P. B. Law
This just in from The NewsLeek, Buddhism's Finest News Source. BOSTON, May 1, 2013—The International Mindfulness Foundation (IMF) today announced that mindfulness has officially succeeded in conquering the world. “Now that global leaders in business, government, the military, health care, academia, and the media have fully embraced the practice of mindfulness at home and in the workplace,” stated IMF chairman Hugh Briss at a major press conference, “we at IMF have declared full and final victory in the war on mindlessness.” More »
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May 14, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Lotsawa Loden Sherab and Lotsawa Zhonnu Pel

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. Translators from the Second Propogation: Lotsawa Loden Sherab and Lotsawa Zhonnu Pel More »
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May 13, 2013

Second Week of Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara's Retreat: To Forget the Self

In the second week of Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara's retreat, "To Forget the Self," she expounds on the second slogan of Zen Master Dogen from the Genjokoan: To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self, Enkyo Roshi says, is to forget the idea of the self: its story and its inclination toward avoiding and clinging to various phenomena. We forget the self when we shift our attention to the present, to the constantly shifting flow of moment-to-moment reality. In that presence, when our internal monologue drops away, we forget the self and are free to feel the flow of life around us.   More »
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May 10, 2013

Buddha Buzz: Marijuana-filled Buddhas, HHDL speak out on Burma, and some good ol' Buddhist Americana

Alex Caring-Lobel
Earlier this week US Customs and Border Protection officials seized nearly 600 lbs of pot inside a shipment of Buddha statues and other religious figurines. Officials at the El Paso US-Mexico crossing discovered the narcotics—and an alternate explanation for the Buddha's contented grin—with the help of an irreverent, drug-sniffing dog. No arrests have been made. More »
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May 09, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Sacred Geometry, Part 2

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. Sacred Geometry, Part 1 Sacred Geometry, Part 2: The Tetrahedron More »
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May 08, 2013

Eastern Self/Western Self

Linda Heuman
We in the West are quite concerned these days with how to make the dharma authentically Western. But caution please, folks. Before we start inventing a new flavor of Buddhism to suit Western palettes, it is important to look closely at the implicit assumptions we are bringing to this project. More »
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May 07, 2013

Bearly Zen

Meet Bearly Zen, the most dedicated member of the Village Zendo sangha in lower Manhattan!This photo was snapped while we filmed the Village Zendo's abbot, Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara, for her May retreat, "Recognizing the Self." Watch the first week's teaching here (free for everyone!). Enkyo Roshi told us that Bearly Zen is always facing the appropriate way—towards the wall for meditation, away from the wall for chanting—but she never sees anyone move him. A very dedicated practitioner, indeed!   More »
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May 07, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Nyingma Founders Part 3, Nyangrel Nyima Ozer

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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May 06, 2013

Sitting for Good: The Brooklyn Sit-a-thon

This Friday, May 11, Brooklyn Zen Center will hold a day-long sit-a-thon to raise funds for the Awake Youth Project, a program that the Zen center runs in partnership with Brooklyn College Community Partnership to bring mindfulness and meditation programs to Brooklyn youth. "Many of the young people with whom we work live with considerable economic hardship and risk for violence," say the staff members of Awake Youth Project, "They struggle with enormous stress, anxiety, anger and other strong emotions that make an already demanding life schedule all the more difficult. Consequently Awake Youth Project’s high school-based groups employ meditation and mindfulness practices to address the many challenges in the lives of our youth." More »