Tricycle Blog

Our daily diary of the global Buddhist movement Subscribe to feed
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 25, 2008

The IOC regrets Beijing "hardliner"'s statement

The IOC and China are having a gentle tiff. At a ceremony celebrating the torch's passage through Lhasa, "noted hardliner" Zhang Qingli said: "Tibet's sky will never change and the red flag with five stars will forever flutter high above it. . . We will certainly be able to totally smash the splittist schemes of the Dalai Lama clique." The IOC responded, "The IOC regrets that political statements were made during the closing ceremony of the torch relay in Tibet." And now that the torch has safely passed through Lhasa, Tibet will open to tourists again. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 25, 2008

Burma Cyclone Deaths; and Business in Burma

Deaths from Nargis are now put at 84,500, up from the previous estimate of 77,000. Plus an interesting (and anonymous) article from the Wall Street Journal about how China "keeps the wheels on" in Burma. Other countires and companies (Chevron) do business in Burma, but China is far and away the most important. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

June 25, 2008

More Fun with the Pew Report

More fun religious factoids from the new Pew Report via Beliefnet: 21% of atheists believe in God (What was th exact phrasing of this question?) and 74% of Americans believe in heaven while only 59% believe in Hell. Call it American optimism. Tolerance -- 70% of Americans say "many religions can lead to eternal life" and 68% that there "is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion." Most amazing, 57% of evangelicals say many religions can lead to eternal life. Given that one of the most important teachings of evangelical Christianity is that salvation comes ONLY through Christ, this finding ought to rattle Christian leaders. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 24, 2008

The U.S. and Religious Tolerance

“It’s not that Americans don’t believe in anything,” said Michael Lindsay, assistant director of the Center on Race, Religion and Urban Life at Rice University. “It’s that we believe in everything. We aren’t religious purists or dogmatists.” More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 24, 2008

A Little Bit of Compassion, from Oregon to Burma

As the tragedy in Burma continues to loom over our hearts, there are yet some uplifting stories to be found. While looking through the April 2008 issue of Ink on the Cat (the newsletter of The Zen Community of Oregon), I came across the news that the ZCO Sangha had assisted in the sponsorship of a Burmese refugee family. They are a family of five, now in Portland, having come from a refuge camp in Thailand they lived in for four years. It is the education of their children (14, 13, and 9 years old), they say, that lead them to cross such long distances. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 24, 2008

"Security considerations" keep away Olympic crowds

China is getting a little bit of security-itis. They must have caught it from Dick Cheney's America. The plush lobby of Beijing’s Kerry Center Hotel is usually crowded with foreign guests, many of them listening to jazz and sipping martinis in Centro, the hotel’s fashionable bar, or lining up for taxis after dinner at the Horizon restaurant. Tiananmen Square in Beijing is a landmark for tourists. But the city has yet to experience an expected boom in foreign visitors. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 24, 2008

No one goes to Naypidaw

And they're not wanted anyway: Naypyidaw is Myanmar’s new capital, built in secret by the ruling generals and announced to the public two and a half years ago, when it was a fait accompli. A nine-hour drive north from the former capital, Yangon, it looks like nothing else in this impoverished country, where one out of three children is malnourished and many roads are nothing more than dirt tracks. Workers in Naypyidaw (pronounced nay-pee-DAW) are building multilevel, flower-covered traffic circles. In a country of persistent power shortages and blackouts, street lamps brightly illuminate the night, like strings of pearls running up and down scrub-covered hills. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 23, 2008

Torch cruises through Lhasa

Where are Lhasa's monks? They've been well hidden by the government, and so were all Tibetans as the torch toured Lhasa. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 21, 2008

U.N. Helicopters Grounded in Burma

A shortage of funds has grounded helicopters intended to carry aid to those in need in Burma. Isn't the U.S. delinquent in its U.N. dues? More »
Tricycle Community 4 comments

June 20, 2008

To be a Good Buddhist is to be a Bad American?

Not long ago, at a Vipassana meditation meeting I attended, a practitioner described to the group a conversation he'd had over dinner with a Zen adherent.  As he explained, "We decided that to be a good Buddhist is to be a bad American.  Because to be a good American is to be a consumer, while to be a good Buddhist is to see through that consumeristic mindset." The other people at the sitting agreed or disagreed to various degrees.  Their conversation brings up many good questions.  Is there a conflict between Buddhist and American values?  How are each of those defined?  Can one be a good American without being a "consumer?"  Can one be a consumer and still be a "good" Buddhist?  Is this conflict inherent, or might it change in the future?  Is there something about being American that conflicts with Buddhism, or might other countries/cultures experience similar conflicts? Of course, there's no single answer to any of these questions.  But please share your thoughts on the subject, i More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

June 18, 2008

Flame approaches Lhasa

Burmese farmers need some $83 million dollars in aid in order to get back up and running after salt water inundated their fields as a result of Nargis. U.S. farmers, especially in Iowa, aren't in such great shape either, but they have a government that that will advocate for them, at least in theory. The Olympic torch is due to reach Tibet Saturday, and though things have quieted somewhat in terms of international press, the relay has been delayed and will be shortened to one day from three. China will not comment on why the relay in Tibet was shortened, but it's pretty obvious. It's gratuitous to send the torch through Lhasa. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 18, 2008

Burma Death Toll Revised Downard

The death toll is revised down but the terrible suffering remains. “We saw very, very few serious injuries,” said Frank Smithuis, head of the substantial mission in Myanmar for Doctors Without Borders. “You were dead or you were in O.K. shape.” The cyclone swept away bamboo huts throughout the delta; in the hardest-hit villages, it left almost no trace of habitation. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 16, 2008

"Compassion must lead to action."

My Burmese teacher Sayadaw U Pandita wrote, “Compassion must lead to action. Furthermore, wisdom is required so that action may bear useful fruit.” I think of the all sorrows that have fallen on Burma resultant from decades of oppression: human rights abuses, ethnic cleansing, rape, forced labor, land confiscation and the imprisonment of political activists including the Sangha and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi whose 63rd birthday is on June 19. Now Burma has suffered immeasurably from a natural disaster, made exponentially worse by the junta’s stubborn refusal to help its own people. If compassion and wisdom are to flower there, we have to help cultivate them with our own practice and action. It is deeply troubling to see how many of the 2.4 million Burmese afflicted by the cyclone still lack the basics of survival. This week, U.N. officials raised concern that there are 10,000 pregnant women without any access to medical care among the cyclone victims. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 14, 2008

Burma's Rice Farmers

Problems for Burma's farmers. Nargis is affecting the world food supply, and the junta's management of the situation -- and forced evictions of people in affected areas -- isn't helping. Burma's farmers also need diesel fuel in order to plant rice. With a kleptocracy at home they must look for help abroad. Falling rice production will lead to shortages in the future for both Burma and southeast Asia. In years past Burma was the world's leading rice producer but under the junta those numbers have fallen off. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 12, 2008

Tibet in the New York Review of Books

Thunder from Tibet. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

June 11, 2008

Fair and Foul

Crazy Jane Talks to the Bishop I met the Bishop on the road And much said he and I. “Those breasts are flat and fallen now, Those veins must soon be dry; Live in a heavenly mansion, Not in some foul sty.” “Fair and foul are near of kin, And fair needs foul,” I cried. “My friends are gone, but that’s a truth Nor grave nor bed denied, Learned in bodily lowliness And in the heart’s pride. “A woman can be proud and stiff When on love intent; But love has pitched his mansion in The place of excrement; For nothing can be sole or whole That has not been rent.” (William Butler Yeats) Contemporary lay Zen students are frequently troubled by all sorts of thoughts and behaviors that they perceive as standing in the way of their spiritual progress. They complain of being given to bouts of anger, fear, doubt, or error. What students invariably want to do with these traits is get rid of them. In their quest for improvement, it rarely occurs to them to rid themselves of their self-dissatisfaction. They’re convinced that they’re not okay, and won’t be until they rid themselves of their faults. One young woman came to dokusan complaining of how “wimpy” she was. “I lack courage,” she said. “I’m afraid of my own shadow.” When I suggested that perhaps she wasn’t fearful enough, she replied that she could hardly rid herself of fear by indulging it. “You’ve tried to get rid of it,” I pointed out, “and it hasn’t worked. If it keeps hanging around, it might have something to tell you. It might want to be your friend.” She left the session with my encouragement to invite fear into her life. As she did so, she came to realize that she wasn’t such a “fraidy cat” after all. “When I got acquainted with it, fear taught me a lot,” she told me. “I discovered that most of my fears weren’t that scary once I quit resisting them, and some of my fears were warranted, like not walking alone through the student section after dark on a party night.” She sat across from me grinning and pleased with herself. What she said next revealed the depth of her recent insight. “I wanted courage,” she said, “and I found out that there is no courage without fear. You don’t get one without the other.” More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

June 11, 2008

The Question

Have you answered The Question? More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

June 11, 2008

Damage from Nargis still unknown

Six weeks post-Nargis we still don't know the full extent of the damage or loss of life. The Burmese affected by the storm are still in urgent need of aid. But as the junta lets aid workers fan out across the delta, they also released 15 of Aung San Suu Kyi's supporters. The survivors of China's earthquake struggle to rebuild their lives. Beijing has drawn criticism for its handling of the crisis, but would any other government have done much better? Buddha Space has a review of The Teachings of Ajahn Chah. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

June 10, 2008

Change Your Mind Day 2008; 3-year retreat; Jodo Shu Research Institute

Change Your Mind Day: Two videos featuring Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara of New York City's Village Zendo up on YouTube, from 2007 and 2008. More videos here. Back into the world after a three-year retreat in France. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

June 10, 2008

Michael Sawyer

Some sad news: Michael Sawyer, the artist and Zen teacher profiled in Tricycle's Summer 2008 issue, has passed away. Zenshin Florence Caplow wrote last week, Michael died yesterday afternoon. Lin Maslow was there and told me that it was as beautiful and peaceful as a death can be - Emila, Michael's brother Ken, his daughter and grandchildren all there, one breath, then another a while later, then no breath at all. The bell began tolling at Green Gulch, and people will be sitting zazen with him for the next three days. A great spirit. On behalf of all the staff at Tricycle, we send Michael's loved ones our condolences. Michael's profile is available here; his website is http://www.michaelsawyerart.com/. More »