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April 05, 2013

Buddha Buzz: The Kindness of Roger Ebert and the Magical Effects of Mindfulness Meditation

Emma Varvaloucas
We're surrounded, today and yesterday, with the deaths of beloved cultural icons. Today is the sixteenth anniversary of Allen Ginsberg's death. And yesterday, as I'm sure you know already, the prolific film critic Roger Ebert passed away at 70 years old. You can read his obit by the Chicago Sun-Times, his home newspaper for almost 50 years, here. More »
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April 05, 2013

Die When You Die

The Sixteenth Anniversary of Allen Ginsberg's Death Alex Caring-Lobel
Renowned poet and Tricycle contributor Allen Ginsberg passed away 16 years ago today. He used to sing this song he'd written called "Gospel Noble Truths" in this wobbly but painfully sincere voice. His delivery was earnest but freeing. Only Ginsberg could convey such devastating truths imbued with a freeing quality that gives you immeasurable courage. More »
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April 04, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Vajradaka's Purification by Fire

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: Vajradaka's Purification by Fire More »
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April 04, 2013

On Meditation: An interview with filmmaker Rebecca Dreyfus

Rebecca Dreyfus is the director of the forthcoming film series On Meditation, which documents the inner journey of meditation through portraits of practitioners from a variety of traditions. The team has so far filmed the Venerable Metteya, Hatha yoga teacher Elena Brower, author and Zen practitioner Peter Matthiessen, actor Giancarlo Esposito, and mindful congressman Tim Ryan. Filmmaker David Lynch is slated next. Known for her feature-length documentary Stolen, Dreyfus was inspired to film On Meditation by a curiosity about other people’s practices and a desire to cultivate her own. Tricycle spoke to Dreyfus earlier in the week by email about the impetus behind the film series and the challenges of depicting an inward-turning practice on film. More »
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April 03, 2013

Bhutan seeks to curb sexual diseases among Buddhist monks

NEW DELHI (RNS) Health officials in the tiny Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan are making condoms available at all monastic schools in a bid to stem the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV among young monks who are supposed to be celibate."We are making condoms freely available everywhere, even in monastic schools and colleges," Bhutan's minister of health, Zangley Drukpa, said in a phone interview. The ministry, he added, has formed a special action group to deal with STDs in monasteries.Warning signs of risky behavior among monks first appeared in 2009, when a report on risks and vulnerabilities of adolescents revealed that monks were engaging in "thigh sex" (in which a man uses another man's clenched thighs for intercourse), according to the state-owned Kuensel daily. More »
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April 02, 2013

Treasury of Lives: The Controversy of the Golden Urn

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. The Controversy of the Golden Urn More »
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April 01, 2013

NewsLeek: Blackwater to Integrate Intensive Mindfulness Course into Tactics and Weapons Training

Alex Caring-Lobel
Last week Academi LLC, formerly Blackwater Worldwide, announced the introduction of a mindfulness course module into their universal tactics and weapons basic training course. Founded in 1997, the military contractor has been the largest US private security contractor in the world since the beginning of the Iraq War. The new mindfulness training, they hope, will slow the ever-increasing number of civilian casualties that the company racks up in Iraq and Afghanistan, and prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the company's other operable zones at home and abroad. More »
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April 01, 2013

New Online Retreat: The Power of Forgiveness: Forgiving Ourselves and Others

Our new April online retreat with Gina Sharpe, co-founder of the New York Insight Meditation Center, addresses the difficult topic of forgiveness as a personal practice. Reflecting on the meaning of forgiveness, exploring what it is as much as what it is not, Sharpe helps us to see forgiveness as a practice of compassion and lovingkindness for ourselves. "Forgiveness," she says, "is not about condoning, or redeeming, or even reconciliation." "It is not about the perpetrator," she continues,"or about someone else. It is actually about us." Gently guiding us to a deeper understanding of forgiveness, she prepares us for a journey that will last beyond the four weeks of the retreat. Concluding with a lovingkindness meditation, she asks us to remember the Buddha's wisdom from the Dhammapada: "Hatred does not cease by hatred, but by love alone is healed. That is the ancient, and eternal law." More »
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March 29, 2013

Buddha Buzz: Mob Wives, Mama Asia, and the Burmese Bin Laden

Emma Varvaloucas
OK, how many Tricycle readers watch Mob Wives? (You can tell me, I won't tell anyone.) For those who don't, it's a VH1 reality TV show that follows seven Staten Island women whose husbands or fathers are doing jail time for crimes connected to the Mob. Basically, it's quality stuff. One of the main characters is Angela "Big Ang" Raiola, who was spotted this week canoodling with the Buddha in Miami: More »
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March 28, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Hats - Traditional History vs. Art History

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. Hats: Traditional History vs. Art History More »
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March 28, 2013

Genocidal Buddhists

An Interview with Burmese Dissident Maung Zarni
In 2007, inspiring images of Burmese Buddhist monks leading their compatriots in demonstrations of civil resistance flooded the Western media. Just five years after the series of protests curiously referred to as the “Saffron Revolution” (Burmese monks wear maroon robes, not saffron-colored ones), Buddhist-led violence erupted in the western Rakhine state. Following a monk-led campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority of Burma, recognized by the UN as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, reports of rioting, killing, and the blocking of humanitarian aid to the Rohingya surfaced here and there in the media, devoid of the enthusiasm that the Burmese monks attracted back in 2007. More »
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March 27, 2013

A Path of Dissent

Reflections on the Life and Work of Sulak Sivaraksa on his 80th Birthday Matteo Pistono
The Dalai Lama sent a letter to Sulak Sivaraksa last week to wish him a happy 80th birthday. I remember our initial meeting during my first visit to Thailand more than 40 years ago when we were both younger men. Our paths have crossed many times since then. I continue to admire your work you have done to draw attention to the problems facing humanity and the courage with which you have offered suggestions for solving them…. I also appreciate the determination with which you have shown Buddhist teachings and practice to be relevant in the world today. More »
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March 26, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Kagyu Founders Part 9, Yabzang and Yelpa

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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March 25, 2013

After Snow

Chase Twichell
  After Snow I’m the first car after the sander. In my headlights, the cinnamon swirls of fresh sand are intact. What dial did I turn to get here, the road a bolt of cloth unfurling before me, and on all sides the windless, snow-softened pines? A rift opened in the world, and guess what was on the other side? The world. That’s tonight’s poem: nothing but a small sudden understanding. Nothing permanent.   Chase Twichell's most recent book is Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been: New and Selected Poems (2010). She is a student at Zen Mountain Monastery.   Image: cnycompguy/Flickr   More »
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March 25, 2013

Developing Insight: Final Week of Segyu Rinpoche's Retreat

In this final week of Segyu Rinpoche's online retreat, Developing Insight, he provides the final building block to Juniper's methodology for awakening the mind. The world, he says, is constructed of learned concepts—from the time we are born we are taught what is what, how to call things, and what is right and what is wrong. He describes insight, on the other hand, as "protecting our mind from the downfall into dogma." More »
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March 22, 2013

Buddha Buzz: Dagger-Wielding Monks and Mindfulness in Service of the Bottom Line

Alex Caring-Lobel
Just hours ago, Burmese President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency in central Burma due to killing, destruction of property, and general rioting in the streets of the town of Meikhtila. Violence erupted following a dispute between a Muslim gold shop owner and Buddhist customers. After four nearby gold shops were burnt to the ground, a 1,000-strong mob of Buddhists ran riot through the Muslim neighborhood. The death toll is currently being reported at at least 20, but this number will likely rise. More »
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March 22, 2013

New Downloadable Transcripts for Tricycle Online Retreats

We are happy to announce that from now on, all of our online, four-week retreats will have downloadable transcripts for the hearing impaired. The transcripts for our current retreat with Segyu Rinpoche, and for all retreats in the future, can be found under "Supplementary Materials," on the right hand side of each retreat teaching page. We are also in the process of transcribing our retreat archives.  If you are a Tricycle Supporting or Sustaining Member, you can watch Segyu Rinpoche's retreat, "Awakening the Mind: A Journey for Contemporary Life," here. Not a Supporting or Sustaining Member? Upgrade your account here. More »
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March 21, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Possession of Art as Tantric Commitment

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: Possession of Art as Tantric Commitment More »
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March 20, 2013

Refuge in the Dharma: A Dharma Talk by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

In this dharma talk given at Downtown New York Meditation Community last week, Thai forest monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu describes what it means to take refuge in the dharma. He explains that the need to take refuge in the dharma is predicated upon a sense of danger that always faces us, external danger as well as danger to the mind. Refuge provides protection from both. The ultimate protection, however, is nirvana, which is one of many words for the goal of Buddhist practice. Interestingly enough, other words for nirvana, Thanissaro Bhikkhu suggests, might be translated as "security," "harbor," "protection," or "refuge."   More »
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March 19, 2013

Treasury of Lives: The Tenth Karmapa, Choying Dorje

Asha Kaufman
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. Treasury of Lives: The Tenth Karmapa, Choying Dorje More »