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April 30, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Gendun Chopel

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. Gendun Chopel More »
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April 26, 2013

Buddha Buzz: The Mindful Lifestyle Movement and "Insta-Karma"

Alex Caring-Lobel
Over at Maclean's Anne Kingston surveys the world of corporate mindfulness and the Buddhist reaction. "What has gripped Western attention," writes Kingston, "is mindfulness's ability to improve performance—of Olympic athletes, parents, and even nations, as promised in U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan’s 2012 bestseller, Mindful Nation." Mindfulness: the panacea to all our personal and societal ills. Tech entrepreneurs, corporations (benevolent and evil), publishers (Buddhist and non-Buddhist), and life-coaches of all stripes have been quick to capitalize on the "mindful" vogue. More »
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April 26, 2013

Meet Tokyo's Bartending Monk

Alex Caring-Lobel
Bartenders are easy to confide in. Not just because you're probably wasted, but because so many others have been before you. Your neighborhood barkeep has already heard it all, and though he might not be able to impart any sage advice, he's at least developed some good listening skills. While barkeeps seem to have always occupied this unique social position, it's therapists who often do these days. Before therapy, which developed from the Christian culture of confession and divulgence, it was the clergy who saddled this responsibility. Vowz Bar in Tokyo revitalizes that once important role of clergy, placing them right behind the bar, where Buddhist-themed cocktails are mixed for spiritually thirsty patrons. Run by monks in the bustling Shinjuku district, it's likely the only bar where boozy-and-stirred concoctions are offered with a prayer. More »
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April 25, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Iconometry, Proportions & Guidelines

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. Iconometry, Proportions & Guidelines More »
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April 25, 2013

Sneak Peek of our Summer 2013 Cover

An advance copy of the new issue of Tricycle, Summer 2013, arrived in the office yesterday. It goes online May 6, but until then, check out this sneak peek of the cover (we have to say, it's pretty cool...). And of course, take a look at our Spring 2013 issue in the meantime.   More »
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April 24, 2013

How to Change the World Without Getting Really Depressed

An Interview with John-Paul Flintoff
We all want to change the world, but we can quickly run up against despair, and worse, come to harbor the idea we can't make any difference whatsoever. In his new book from School of Life, How to Change the World, author and journalist John-Paul Flintoff offers examples of people who have done just that, and how they were able to do so. The fact is, whether we acknowledge it or not, we are all making a difference all the time. Flintoff implores us to be more conscious of that impact so that we may produce the effects we desire. Tricycle caught up with Flintoff via email to ask a few questions about the new book and how to overcome self-imposed obstacles to meaningful social change.   More »
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April 24, 2013

Purposeful Action

How to Change the World John-Paul Flintoff
How can I, one individual in a world of billions, hope to change anything? There are many reasons why this kind of defeatist question comes so easily to us. They include the way we have been brought up, a lifetime of putting up with things that frustrate or dismay us, and painful memories of failed attempts to Do Something. But the fact remains that we are all making a difference all the time. The real problem is that if we’re only affecting things unconsciously then we are probably not producing the effect we would wish for. More »
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April 24, 2013

A Tibetan Buddhist monk pays his respects to the Boston Marathon victims

A Tibetan Buddhist monk meditates during a moment of silence near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.   Photo from Getty Images. More »
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April 23, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Nyingma Founders Part 2, Dampa Deshek

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. Part 1: Padmasambhava More »
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April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013: The Best of Tricycle's Green Archives

Happy Earth Day! Throughout the years, Tricycle has celebrated the relationship between the teachings of Buddhism and eco-consciousness. In 2009, we decided to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk: we were proud to obtain Forest Stewarship Council certification for our paper stock, which means that it comes from "responsibly managed forests." The entire chain of production for the paper we use, from the forests to the pulp providers, mills, merchants, and finally, our printer up in Vermont, have all received FSC certification.  For Earth Day 2013, we're revisiting the best of our "green" archives. Read, be inspired, and hug a tree (or save that for Arbor Day, on Friday).   More »
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April 22, 2013

Final Week of Gina Sharpe's Retreat: Granting Forgiveness

In this last week's teaching of insight meditation teacher Gina Sharpe's retreat, "Granting Forgiveness," she reviews the past weeks' practices that have culminated in the final and most difficult aspect of forgiveness: granting it to those whom we believe have harmed us. Guiding us from a metta practice into a forgiveness meditation, Sharpe calls on the forgiveness work that we have already done, and asks that we first face our pain, fully feeling all of our emotions, memories, and stories. Then she asks that we let it all go. Reminding us that forgiving others does not necessarily mean reconciliation—forgiveness is an internal, not an external practice—Sharpe lays out a template for a forgiveness practice that can and should last well beyond her four-week retreat.   More »
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April 19, 2013

Buddha Buzz: A Rough Week for Monks

Alex Caring-Lobel
It's been a rough week for Buddhist monks. I'm afraid that, if you're still holding on to any bit of romanticism regarding Buddhist monks, young or old, this week's news will crush it. It's been a devastating week news-wise, and it looks like the Buddhist world is no exception. More »
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April 19, 2013

Giggle Reel: The Dalai Lama

Cambridge University paper The Tab has compiled a reel of all the Dalai Lama's chortles from a press conference this morning in Cambridge, England. We challenge you to watch without cracking a smile.     More »
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April 18, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Prayer Flags, 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.   Prayer Flags, Part 2 More »
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April 17, 2013

The Myth of Progress

Lama Jampa Thaye
And there may be no "progress" in religion, in practice, or in the Dharma, either. —Gary Snyder   I’ve been hearing from some people recently that Buddhism needs to change to fit with these modern times. I’m not sure what Buddhism they’re talking about. More »
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April 16, 2013

Treasury of Lives: The Sera Hermitage Founders

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 Sera Hermitage Founders More »
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April 15, 2013

A Good Death

NY Zen Center for Contemplative Care in the NY Times
The work of our good friend Robert Chodo Campbell was featured in a short article and photo series in the New York Times yesterday. Campbell is one of the Executive Directors for New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, an organization that provides direct care to the sick, dying, and suffering. The series shows Campbell with his friend John Hawkins in the months leading up to and the immediate hours after Hawkins' death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Both the photos and the accompanying article—a brief but moving testimonial from the photographer, Joshua Bright, on the effects of witnessing death firsthand—are honest and sweet, even graceful. More »
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April 15, 2013

Third Week of Gina Sharpe's Retreat: Asking for Forgiveness

In this third week's installment of insight meditation teacher Gina Sharpe's retreat, "Asking for Forgiveness," she requests that we reflect on those thoughts, words, and deeds that we feel we would like to be forgiven for. Stressing that we should be honest with ourselves, and warning us to resist the ease of blaming others, Sharpe guides us to reflect on our past mistakes without shame or guilt. "The beauty of spiritual work," she says, "is that we joyously remember that it is possible to shift our lives, and that that shifting comes through a change of heart and mind." Through a variety of metta practice and forgiveness meditations, she explains what it means to ask for forgiveness— that it is an internal practice, not something that promises reconciliation or obligates reforming relationships. She asks us to remember this wisdom from the Dhammapada: More »
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April 12, 2013

Buddha Buzz: The Burmese Holocaust and the Anti-Sexual Abuse Fork Test

Emma Varvaloucas
Awful news continues to pour out of Burma, where Vice is now reporting that Muslim Rohingya women are being kept hostage in military camps as sex slaves. Since the Rohingya are not considered to be citizens of Burma and therefore have no legal rights, it's not likely that there will be government action to free these women (<--the understatement of the century). According to the Vice article, by journalist Assed Baig, local villagers who live around the camps are "aware that women are being kept as prisoners but are too scared to speak out." More »
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April 11, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Prayer Flags, 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. Prayer Flags, Part 1 More »