Tricycle Blog

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

May 21, 2007

Can do

Violence in northern Sri Lanka and southern Thailand continues. . . Isn't there any cheerful news in the Buddhist world? Well, this self-described "Unitarian Buddhist," reported about in Northwestern University's Medill Reports (from their Graduate School of Journalism) apparently gathered enough aluminum cans to start a real live retreat center. There's something to think about next time you polish off a can of your favorite fizzy. Also, Deepak Chopra, whose new novel was reviewed in the current Tricycle, writes about the Buddha's take on fear and anxiety for the Huffington Post. Read it before you judge it! I mean the HuffPo article, of course. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

May 14, 2007

Hot News!

Philip Ryan
So it seems the Naga Jolokia pepper is the hottest in the world, with a Scoville scale rating of about 1,000,000. (Jalapeños clock in at 2,500 to 8,000, according to Wikipedia, but I bet that doesn't mean the Naga Jolokia is 125 to 400 times as hot as the jalapeño. Numerical scales can be very misleading in this way. Like, when it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit out, does that mean it's "twice as warm" as 40 degrees Fahrenheit? More »
Tricycle Community 3 comments

May 10, 2007

Tough times for the Bodhi Tree

Philip Ryan
You remember the uproar a year ago about a missing branch of the Bodhi Tree? As far as I know it was never resolved—maybe the branch wasn't missing at all, and if it was, there was no clear trail to who took it, or damaged the tree. Here's an update that doesn't answer any interesting questions but says the tree is not looking so hot. Apparently the tree was diseased a few years back and needed some intervention, and the missing branch isn't helping much. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

May 02, 2007

Dukkha, Kung Fu

Philip Ryan
The Wall Street Journal, which recently said 'No, thanks' to Rupert Murdoch, pontificated today on what satisfies us. We constantly hanker after fancier cars and fatter paychecks—and, initially, such things boost our happiness. But the glow of satisfaction quickly fades and soon we're yearning for something else. More »
Tricycle Community 3 comments

April 19, 2007

The Inevitable Buddhist Connection to the Virginia Tech Tragedy

Philip Ryan
Check out the English version of pravda.ru for a Buddhist tie-in to the Virginia Tech killer. (They have an interesting take on the Imus situation too. If you're at all interested in how this Pravda connects with the well-known Soviet publication, see here. I'm guessing the Soviet one was a little less lewd, though the comments about the U.S. and Europe in the contemporary version wouldn't be out of place in the Brezhnev era. . . Brezhnev had incredibly intimidating eyebrows.) More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

April 18, 2007

Thai Monks Call for Buddhism to be Declared State Religion

Philip Ryan
Buddhist monks are planning to stage a rally in central Bangkok on April 25th to pressure the Constitution Drafting Committee to enshrine Buddhism as the state religion. The military regime currently controlling Thailand is resisting this move, and urging all involved to carefully consider what they are asking. The monks involved do not seem to represent the Buddhist leadership in Thailand, nor are they explicitly involved with a political group. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

April 14, 2007

"Zen Buddhism, very hard to understand, thank you."

Philip Ryan
The title of this post is (allegedly) the complete text of a speech made by D.T. Suzuki at U.C.L.A. back in the day. The story of this and other Buddhist ha-ha's here. (I realize ol' D.T. Suzuki is way way way out of fashion in contemporary Buddhist thinking, and is so for a lot of reasons, but once upon a time he was one of my -- and a lot of other people's -- first glimpses into something new. And people are still being introduced to Zen Buddhism -- D.T.'s own special blend of it, that is -- through his work. Someone is learning about Buddhism in one of his books right now! . . . Probably. Like, did anyone else try and read those Bernard Faure books, in school or out? Speaking of very hard to understand. But they went well with a cigarette and a bottomless cup of coffee. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

April 04, 2007

All Aboard for Shigatse

Philip Ryan
China's at it again, extending its railroad network from Lhasa to Shigatse, seat of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, traditional seat of the Panchen Lama (a political prisoner of the Chinese government since 1995.) The railroad China built to Lhasa has a lot of superlatives attached to it, longest, tallest, coldest, whatever. Anyway, it's a great achievement. Why are totalitarian states so good at railroads? The more repressive the government, the more they like to play with trains. (So apparently Mussolini didn't make the trains run on time. But he still talked about trains.) I suppose that should make Americans feel better about Amtrak. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

March 28, 2007

Tiny Steps Forward

Philip Ryan
It was a pleasant surprise to see that fast-food giant Burger King has decided to give preferential treatment to providers of cage-free eggs and cruelty-free pork. It doesn't take much exposure to the horrors of how animals are raised for food to make even the most carnivorous human take pause. I've heard that farmers and those who deal with the animals while they are alive, and while they are being killed for our dinner plates, are (generally speaking) very strongly supportive of more humane ways for these animals to live and die. Of course, those of us walking by the tidy shrink-wrapped packages in the refrigerated section of the local supermarket don't have to think about this much if we don't want to. And not all of us have the luxury of choosing to pay more for organic/cruelty-free/cage-free whatever... More »
Tricycle Community 2 comments

March 21, 2007

Thailand lurches toward Chaos

Philip Ryan
Bad news keeps piling up in Thailand. Three (Buddhist) women were shot in what some headlines call an "ambush" yesterday in (80% Muslim) southern Thailand. They were in a truck travelling to work. As a response the (Buddhist) government has sent security forces south, and where there are troops there will be abuses. The government denies it is "disappearing" Muslims and blames the mess on the previous government. Human Rights Watch is keeping an eye on this situation. Thailand's government must be called to account. More »
Tricycle Community 6 comments

March 14, 2007

Meditation: What do the numbers tell us?

James Shaheen
Kudos to Jeff Wilson, whose blog post at the end of December continues to inspire lively discussion. It’s a good bit of information to keep in mind that most Buddhists do not meditate; just like many of our Asian counterparts, we are often ignorant of other forms of Buddhist practice. Tibetans never referred to their dharma as “Tibetan dharma”; nor did Sri Lankans consider their dharma anything but dhamma. It is Western historical scholarship that began the study of comparative religion, and it is in the West where we find most forms of Buddhism thriving side by side. So it’s an excellent point Jeff makes: The forms of Buddhism most common among Western converts make up only a very thin slice of the global Buddhist pie. More »
Tricycle Community 2 comments

March 12, 2007

BuddhaTrain

Philip Ryan
Gee, I wish I could ride this train. But it doesn't seem to be in the cards right now. In the meantime I'm left wondering what's happened to Big Red Buddha. Does anyone know? Like a lot of Republican candidates, BRB doesn't seem to have survived the November elections. I haven't seen Miso on any soymilk cartons either. And I've been looking. More »
Tricycle Community 3 comments

March 05, 2007

The Best Horse

Andrew Merz
There's no shortage of Buddhist websites these days---see our links for evidence---but few are as entertaining and wide-ranging as theworsthorse.net, edited by my friend Rod Meade Sperry. Taking pop-culture and sub-culture as its starting points, TWH covers a lot of ground. The feature articles exhibit the strength of the site: an unfailing ability to get to the salient dharmic core of the many shapes Buddhism is taking in modern culture. Generally, this is accomplished with humor, sensitivity, and intelligence. The reader participation is impressive---don't miss "Body Vows," the collection of tattoos submitted by practitioners, with their stories---and a feeling of community permeates the site, without social networking being the thrust of the whole thing. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

February 26, 2007

Buddhist chaplain thrown out of jail

Philip Ryan
Buddhist chaplain Frank Tedesco was kicked out of the Pinellas County Jail recently for allegedly breaking jail rules and bringing contraband behind bars. (Pinellas County is in the Tampa Bay area and contains the city of St. Petersburg, Florida.) From The St. Petersburg Times: Tedesco, 60, an unpaid volunteer, thinks the blowup stems at least in part from a Christian bias. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

February 15, 2007

Railway brings "huge surge" of visitors to Tibet

Philip Ryan
The People's Daily Online reports that the rail link to Lhasa allowed many more Buddhist pilgrims to attend the December 27th Sera Bengqin Festival at Sera Monastery than in previous years. As the People's Daily put it, "Tibet ended its history without a railway in July 2006," but the railroad has brought more concern than jubilation for Tibetans, who understandably would rather diminish than strengthen their ties with "mainland" China. When the railway first opened I read about the Tibetan plateau's fragile ecosystem, home to several unique species, and rather like an island in biological terms. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

February 07, 2007

The Soul as a Rainbow

Philip Ryan
The Christian Post, a website providing daily coverage of Christianity all around the globe, is preparing its readers for the Dalai Lama's upcoming U.S. visit with an article called, "How to Evangelize Tibetan Buddhists in the West," by Michelle Vu. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

February 05, 2007

Stealing Time

Andrew Merz
Here I am, on Monday morning, writing my Friday blog entry. Whenever I'm late I think back to what was probably the first talk I heard on the five precepts, the standard ethical guidelines for us lay Buddhists. One of the many points made that had me shaking my head in resignation to the irrefutable logic of the precepts - at that point I was still learning the basics, but I already had that feeling that there was no turning back (arg!) - was a very interesting interpretation of the second precept, undertaking to abstain from taking the not-given. My teacher pointed out that one thing some of us often take from others without their giving of it is time. Basically, when we're late for an appointment with a friend, we are stealing their time. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

January 31, 2007

Dalai Lama says new rail link bringing trouble to Lhasa

Philip Ryan
Speaking in Mumbai on Wednesday, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama reportedly said the new rail link to Lhasa was bringing prostitutes and beggars to Tibet: Beggars and the handicapped are coming to Lhasa in huge numbers. China is also forcing prostitutes to go to Lhasa, leading to the increased danger of AIDS. More »
Tricycle Community 3 comments

January 26, 2007

The Dha-ha-ha-harma

Andrew Merz
I remember reading somewhere a while back (it's pretty foggy) about what a modern-day Zen teacher (or he might have been Tibetan) said when asked about the skillfulness or use of laughter. His response was something to the effect of "I love laughter, because you can't think conceptual thoughts when you're laughing." The room full of eager students no doubt broke down in side-splitting non-conceptual thought. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

January 24, 2007

Buddhist Self-Love and Blessed Contraceptives

Philip Ryan
From the department of Wasting Your Time on the Web: Jef Poskanzer has a page on his site reproducing a chart that supposedly appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle in December 1994. The chart, titled "Religion and Sexual Ethics," lists a variety of (mostly) sexual topics, and says how these topics are viewed in various religions. The  topics may be categorized under these headings: Blessed Morally Acceptable in Most Cases Neutral or No Clear Position Morally Unacceptable in Most Cases, and Condemned The Chronicle is said to have made the chart "based on official reports and expert advice." More »