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March 06, 2013

How Buddhist Nuns Are Fighting Human Trafficking in Nepal

An Interview with Ven. Dhamma Vijaya
The following interview was previously published at Stories Untold: Interviews and Synthesis by Erik Campano on Patheos.com, and is adapted here with permission. Recently Patheos has been putting the spotlight on American evangelical Christians’ efforts to fight human trafficking, as well as the critique from some academics that these efforts amount to the wrongful imposition of Protestant values on “rescued victims” (in quotes because both are controversial terms). There deserves to be, however, a broader range of conversations about trafficking that widens the lens beyond American Christian anti-trafficking work to include efforts in other countries undertaken by other faith traditions. More »
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March 06, 2013

NY Insight 15th Anniversary Benefit: An Afternoon with Sylvia Boorstein

On Sunday, March 17, our friends over at New York Insight Meditation Center will be hosting a benefit in honor of their 15th anniversary. Senior teacher and Tricycle contributor Sylvia Boorstein will be teaching the Metta Sutta, the Buddha's sermon in impartial kindness, as the complete guide to practice. The afternoon will include study, meditation, and a Q&A—all suitable for beginners. The event will take place at New York Insight on Sunday, March 17, from 1:30 to 4:30pm. The cost is $50. Find more details on their website here.   More »
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March 05, 2013

Treasury of Lives: The Pakpa Lha Incarnation Line

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 Pakpa Lha Incarnation Line More »
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March 04, 2013

Is Indian Citizenship the Next Step for Tibetans in Exile?

Alex Caring-Lobel
In 1959 the 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet to settle in India, where then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru provided him and his followers assistance. Since then, over 150,000 Tibetans have followed in their leader’s footsteps, settling into camps across the country—the biggest democracy in the world. These settlements, like the Tibetan people’s stay in India, were not supposed to last. In a recent article for The Asian Age, journalist Maura Moynihan writes about the structural crisis now unfolding in the Tibetan-exile world. More »
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March 04, 2013

New Online Retreat: Awakening the Mind: A Journey for Contemporary Life

Segyu Rinpoche is the founder of the Juniper school, whose apt motto is "Buddhist Training for Modern Life." In this four-part retreat, the Brazilian-born teacher in the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism introduces us to the the four building blocks of transformation—meditation, balancing emotions, cultivating compassion, and developing insight. In his opening talk, Awakening the Mind and Meditation, Segyu Rinpoche instructs us in meditation, which he calls "the cornerstone of transformation." With his detailed instructions on posture and breathing, he emphasizes the importance of a steady and consistent practice if we're truly serious about training our minds. More »
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March 01, 2013

Buddha Buzz: Warm and Fuzzy with Ram Dass

Well, boys and girls, the discussion ain't over. (As it shouldn't be.) Soto Zen priest and author James Ishmael Ford has added his voice into the mix of American Buddhist teachers who are remarking on the Joshu Sasaki Roshi sex scandal. Unlike some of the other commentaries, which read with more passion than careful analysis, Ford takes a helpful step backward to look at the American Zen picture as a whole. As he writes, "Sex isn't the problem." In his view, the problem is our glamorization of our spiritual teachers, as well as the lack of institutional and personal accountability. He writes, More »
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February 28, 2013

Meditation Month, Day 28: You Happy Lucky Idiot

Meditation month is wrapping up, and though I'm pretty sure I've achieved nothing, I have—I hope—developed some insight into "real happiness." The most pronounced of these is the insight that real happiness isn't so great. In fact, for anyone with half an imagination, it's opposite ("fake happiness," "conventional happiness"?) is far superior. While conventional happiness is filled with bouts of joy and connection, not to mention endless congratulations, awards and achievements, Cold Beer and Beautiful Girls, real happiness has something to do with sustained attention and—can't forget—accords with reality. More »
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February 28, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Why Paintings Are Made, 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. Read Part 1. Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Why Paintings Are Made, Part 2 More »
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February 27, 2013

Meditation Month, Day 27: Trading Candy for Gold

As we near the close of Meditation Month at Tricycle, I thought it'd be nice to leave you with some good reading. It's not easy to maintain a meditation practice for many of us. As laypeople especially, it's difficult to see ourselves through the clutter of life to the cushion. This is why it's important to make sure that our surroundings are conducive to practice. I find Thanissaro Bhikkhu's writing on this particularly helpful. As a busy layman, I need all the help I can get, and I've found the Thai forest monk's most recent book, With Each & Every Breath, particularly helpful. This is what he writes on how to optimize our surroundings for a steady meditation practice: More »
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February 27, 2013

Planetary Purpose

A Video Interview with Director Guy Reid
Last week Tricycle caught up with film director and Planetary Collective founding member Guy Reid to talk about the group's short film Overview and their forthcoming feature film Continuum. The Collective, founded in 2011, responds to the most pressing issues our civilization is currently facing as we push the planet to its brink. Its members, pulling from their Buddhist backgrounds, attribute the roots of the environmental and social crises facing humanity to the misperception that we are separate—from each other, the planet and the cosmos as a whole. The solution, they contend, can be found in an emerging worldview that points to our interdependence. More »
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February 26, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Kagyu Founders Part 7, Rinchen Gon and Jampa Pel

Harry Einhorn
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 26, 2013

Meditation Month, Day 26: No more planning

Rachel Hiles
This week I’ve been working on practicing lovingkindness and one of the phrases that Sharon suggested for week 4’s lovingkindness practice has really resonated with me:   I wish you happiness and peace, and I know I cannot make your decisions for you.   I love planning.  I love planning so much that that when my loved ones fail to make plans or decisions, I try to fill that empty future space for them. I imagine that this is helpful, but it often leads to difficult situations when my plans for them don’t reflect their personal wants and needs. My desire to help and my belief that I know “what’s best” for those close to me comes from a positive place—I want my friends and family to be happy. But when I don’t allow them to make their own decisions, it leads to anger, frustration, and disappointment for everyone.   More »
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February 25, 2013

Sitting in Wartime

Lisa Kremer
Be mindful of the passing of time, and engage yourself in zazen as though saving your head from fire. —Dogen, 13th-century Japanese Zen master Eyes closed, the body comes into focus. I feel the touch of the ground beneath my sitting bones, the touch of my hands resting on crossed legs. The breath takes over; layers of the mind unfold. But today, on the threshold of the cave of consciousness, the walls of the cave—my body—grab hold. It is as if the vrittis (the whirling of thought and emotion) are embedded in the flesh itself. The skin, the muscle, the organs, the bones pulsate, calling me back. Look at me, my body says. Stay with me. Yes, watch me. Keep me safe. More »
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February 25, 2013

Meditation Month, Day 25: Grateful for the Competition

Andrew Gladstone
Every February brings a special kind of motivating anxiety into my consciousness. The Academy Awards. My relationship to this mostly trivial, yet oh so very significant event has evolved over the years; from my childhood wonder and fascination with Hollywood lore and tradition, to my more recent perceptions of the event as a flawed, political, wonderfully mysterious litmus test for one of the most important cultural industries in the world.  More »
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February 25, 2013

Let's Get Real

Wisdom 2.0 Wraps Up Dr. Jay Michaelson
The Wisdom 2.0 conference, a four-day gathering of the Silicon Valley crowd to address the intersections of spirituality, mindfulness, and technology, took place this past weekend. Author and conference attendee Jay Michaelson blogged his experiences at the summit here on the Tricycle blog throughout the weekend. Today's post covers the last day of the conference, which was yesterday. Let’s Get Real More »
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February 25, 2013

Lovingkindness: Final Week of Sharon Salzberg's Retreat

In this final week of Sharon Salzberg's retreat, "Lovingkindness," she discusses how the practice of lovingkindness meditation can transform our "default narrative," our involuntary tendency to see things in a negative way. Common feelings of alienation, exclusion, doubt, and fear can all be reconfigured through this powerful practice of challenging where our attention goes habitually. Sharon introduces the practice as a type of experimentation—by challenging our attention to expand instead of fixate, we can begin to condition it away from unhealthy narratives and towards a more gratifying sense of connection and interdependence. She concludes the retreat with a guided lovingkindness meditation. More »
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February 23, 2013

The Dharma is Out of Control

Dr. Jay Michaelson
The Wisdom 2.0 conference, a four-day gathering of the Silicon Valley crowd to address the intersections of spirituality, mindfulness, and technology, is taking place this weekend. Author and conference attendee Jay Michaelson will be blogging his experiences at the summit here on the Tricycle blog throughout the weekend. At Wisdom 2.0 today, I was talking with a senior dharma teacher, a veteran of the scene for thirty-odd years. “It used to be,” he told me, “that you could pretty much know everything that was going on in the American Buddhist scene. Now, it’s grown so much that that’s impossible, and it’s totally out of our control—and that’s okay.” More »
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February 22, 2013

Who's Afraid of Wisdom?

Dr. Jay Michaelson
The Wisdom 2.0 conference, a four-day gathering of the Silicon Valley crowd to address the intersections of spirituality, mindfulness, and technology, is taking place this weekend. Author and conference attendee Jay Michaelson will be blogging his experiences at the summit here on the Tricycle blog throughout the weekend. Is California afraid of California? More »
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February 22, 2013

Buddha Buzz: Buddhist-Muslim Relations and a Harlem Shake Koan

Alex Caring-Lobel
Many predominantly Buddhist countries in lower Asia are also home to substantial populations of Muslims. Likewise, a number of Muslim countries are home to Buddhist minorities. Majority-minority relations can be contentious, but add ethno-religious lines to the mix and things can easily degenerate from prejudicial policy-making to unbridled violence. (Take Rakhine Buddhist violence against the Rohingya Muslims in Burma, for example, which Tricycle covers in its most recent issue.) More »
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February 22, 2013

Meditation Month, Day 22: Buddhist Black Sheep

I'm my family's Buddhist black sheep. When I decided to go to Nepal some years ago to study at a Tibetan Buddhist shedra, my parents and most of my friends, none of whom are particularly religious, thought I was nuts. Granted, they were entertained—never have my Facebook statuses, which mostly centered around monks playing badminton with me, been so popular—but no one took it very seriously. When I came back from Nepal and my loved ones noticed that I was, as a matter of fact, very serious about Buddhism, I was treated to a series of lectures about what my friends and family viewed as the worrisome trend of my declining ambition. (Actually, that's putting it a lot more eloquently than it was in reality. It was more of a derisive, "What are you going to do, Emma? Be a Buddhist as a career?") More »