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January 23, 2007

A Handful of Leaves—For Free

James Shaheen
The Buddha taught far fewer things than he knew of. He told his disciples: "[T]hose things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them." More »
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January 19, 2007

Of Pizza Hut and Enlightenment

Andrew Merz
A truly spectacular benefit of working here at Trike is having the opportunity to take time off for extended retreats. I just returned from a month in the desert, and can't thank my colleagues enough for allowing me to disappear as we were closing the Spring issue and shouldering the extra burden while I was gone. Without going into detail, I'll just say that all sorts of interesting work was done, and I only hope that it will turn out to be for the benefit of all sentient beings, as they say, my coworkers included. More »
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January 17, 2007

Dalai Lama tells India and China to just get along

Philip Ryan
Speaking in Kolkata, the Dalai Lama called for improved relations between China and India. Calling himself India's "longest guest" (he's fast approaching the 50-year mark) the DL said friendship between India and China would benefit not only the nations themselves and the rest of Asia, but the entire world. More »
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January 16, 2007

Some Buddhist Crowing

James Shaheen
I'm happy to let you all know that Tricycle was awarded first prize in the Historical Travel category by the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) for "Fearsome Roots in a Quiet Forest" by David Taylor. The article covered David's trip to North Carolina's Smoky Mountains in search of the elusive ginseng plant. It ran in the summer 2006 issue. Sharing first prize was Travel + Leisure; National Geographic Travel was runner up. Tricycle's managing editor, Ian Collins, did a great job editing the piece. Congratulations to him and David both! More »
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January 05, 2007

Running on Emptiness

Philip Ryan
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, spiritual and secular leader of Shambhala International and president of The Shambhala Sun, the Canadian bimonthly, has a new music video out. A wearer of many hats, the Sakyong is also a marathon runner. He completed the New York City Marathon last year in a very respectable 3 hours, 26 minutes. You can't say he's running on empty. Philip Ryan, Webmaster More »
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January 03, 2007

Crawling to Bodh Gaya

Philip Ryan
The Hindustan News reports that Gyansen Lama, a Tibetan monk in his 20s, is crawling all the way from Tibet to Bodh Gaya, the site of the Buddha's enlightenment beneath the Bodhi Tree. He has already cleared Nepal and, as of January 3, 2007, is about 110 kilometers from his goal. (He reportedly covers about 7 kilometers a day on average.) Curious crowds have gathered along the route to watch the spectacle of a monk wrapped in sackcloth with woolen gloves moving along the road "at a snail's pace." It is not clear how Gyansen Lama and his entourage of two monks crossed the border out of Tibet, but the ground in India must certainly feel softer and warmer than the roads in Tibet, where wool gloves seem like faint protection. Philip Ryan, Webmaster More »
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December 20, 2006

Buddhists continue to be targeted in southern Thailand

Philip Ryan
Buddhists are fleeing the terror-hotspot of Pattani in southern Thailand. While the Muslim insurgency there isn't causing much of a stir in the West (guess why) it is a fact of life for many Thais. Buddhists find themselves being targeted in a war where the insurgents are mostly anonymous, and make few demands. Muslims are a small minority in Thailand, but they dominate the south of the country near the Malaysian border. More than 1000 people have died in the conflict since 2004. Philip Ryan, Webmaster More »
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December 14, 2006

Prison Dharma

Philip Ryan
Maria Sudekum Fisher of the Associated Press reports on the growing number of services for Buddhists behind bars in an article printed in the Houston Chronicle (now on the Buddhist Channel.) The article cites Lama Chuck Stanford, the Buddhist representative of the Kansas City Interfaith Council, the Prison Dharma Network in Boulder, the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Zen Mountain Monastery's National Buddhist Prison Sangha, and St. More »
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December 04, 2006

Enlightenment Card

Philip Ryan
Visa is now offering credit cards with images of the Buddha, people meditating, and other "enlightenment"-inspired images. Touting the "socially conscious credit card," Visa says: "As a member of the Enlightenment Reward Card program, your purchasing power goes to support the things that matter most to you." For example, 200,000 Rewards points earns you a yoga retreat in Spain. As a press release this summer stated: "The Enlightenment Card allows socially and spiritually conscious businesses and organizations to support each other and offer their services and products as part of the rewards program." More »
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November 28, 2006

Weekend Buddhists

James Shaheen
Templestay Korea, an organization that first invited visitors to experience Korean Buddhist temple life during the 2002 World Cup Tournament, was hosting over 50,000 would-be Buddhists by 2005, according to the New York Times. The brainchild of Korea’s largest Buddhist order—the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism—the program invites international guests to live the life of a monk for several days. Offerings vary to suit visitors’ tastes, and can include brief walking meditation retreats, sitting meditation, and calligraphy. More »
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November 28, 2006

China's Still Mad at Nehru

Philip Ryan
The Times of India reports that a Chinese Communist Party newspaper has published a "document review" describing how Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, supposedly misled China's premier Zhou Enlai concerning Tibet. Nehru supported Tibetan independence, the Chinese paper says, but was not honest about it: Nehru had assured Zhou that New Delhi respected China's sovereignty over Tibet and then encouraged the Dalai Lama to work for Tibet's independence, the paper explained. More »
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November 21, 2006

Document Points to Origin of Bamiyan Statues

Philip Ryan
A sutra was unearthed from one of the Buddhas of Bamiyan destroyed by the Taliban (and according to Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei, Osama Bin Laden) in 2001, according to Taiwan's China Post. The document, discovered by a German team, contains markings that may indicate a sponsor of the Buddhas' construction. (The city and monasteries in the Bamiyan valley were wiped out by Genghis Khan, according to a tendentious account of Afghan Buddhism.) Similar documents have been found inside Japanese Buddhas, but this is the first recorded instance of one being found inside an Afghan Buddha. More »
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November 16, 2006

West Eats Meat

Andrew Merz
What is undoubtedly one of the premiere websites on Buddhism and vegetarianism launched this week. Shabkar.org is named after the Tibetan yogi Shabkar Tsodruk Rangdrol (1781-1851), who adopted vegetarianism far before it was an advisable practice in high-altitude, low-crop Tibet. His teachings on the subject are collected in Food of Bodhisattvas: Buddhist Teachings on Abstaining from Meat from Shambhala Publications. One of the first questions Western Buddhists seem to get (upon "outing") is "are you a vegetarian?", often accompanied by a smirk of varying degrees of smugness. Whatever the stereotype is here in the West, vegetarianism is by no means the norm in the Asian Buddhist world--no Buddhist lay population has ever been primarily vegetarian, and the monastic orders of a number of countries do indeed eat meat. More »
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November 14, 2006

Lives and insights of the early masters in the Dzogchen lineage

I would like to take this opportunity to intruduce Wellsprings of the Great Perfection, a book on the early Dzogchen masters and their poetry. It's a labor of love I've been working on over the last twelve years. Here are some excerpts: Throughout history great individuals have appeared to inspire others. They formulate their insights to help others transform their lives, and find meaning and happiness, even liberation and enlightenment. The philosophy and stories of these great ones, passed down by the first recipients, often have such a force and strength that thousands of years later, their lives and values continue to be sources of inspiration. The present recipient—always at the end of a long line, like at the water tap from a pipe originating at a mountain spring—must hear of the origin of the teaching and its teacher, to know and have trust in its authenticity, before turning on the water and drinking. More »
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November 01, 2006

On the Bookshelf

James Shaheen
Sam Harris, bestselling author of The End of Faith and telegenic darling of the Godless set, has recently come out with a new title—Letter to a Christian Nation. For those who've been waiting for someone to debunk the miraculous or tell us that Leviticus could use an update, it's a real treat. After all, it's been a long six years. More »
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October 24, 2006

Atrocities Against Dalits

Philip Ryan
The Buddhist Channel reports on terrible atrocities committed to Indian Dalits. This is news because of the anniversary of Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism, and the continued incentives for Dalits to leave the caste system. Philip Ryan, Webmaster More »
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October 16, 2006

Untouchables Still Turning to Buddhism

Philip Ryan
The Dalai Lama and others have spread the message that religions should no longer compete for "market share" and Buddhism is not generally thought of a missionary religion, but it's still picking up converts. In Nagpur, India on October 14, the 50th anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism, more than 9000 untouchables or dalits—this according to Catholic News, though actual numbers seem to vary significantly in different accounts—followed his lead and converted as well. More »
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October 13, 2006

Chinese Border Guards: "We Killed in Self-Defense."

Andrew Merz
*update* Now there's video of the killing taken by a Romanian climber, first shown on Romanian TV, available on Youtube in English. the galling Chinese acknowledgement of the shooting, via the Australian paper The Age the climbers' accounts of the shooting, from mounteverest.net. Andrew Merz, Associate Editor More »
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October 13, 2006

Shooting Follow-Up

Andrew Merz
A friend who works at Human Rights in China sent me their press release about the shooting I mentioned in my last post, including the links below. The seventeen-year-old Tibetan nun killed was named Kelsang Namtso, from Nagchu prefecture in central Tibet. More »
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October 12, 2006

Train to Nowhere

Andrew Merz
The new hi-tech railroad to Lhasa, Tibet, has been getting lots of press lately, as much for its technological innovations as for the threat it poses to Tibetan culture; easier access means that many more Chinese settlers, who already greatly outnumber Tibetans in the capital. However, in case you were thinking the situation in Tibet had slowed to a colonial economic creep, here's a story straight from the days of the Iron Curtain. The BBC is reporting that a group of British climbers witnessed Chinese soldiers shoot and kill a young Tibetan nun trying to flee to Nepal with a group of other Tibetans. Andrew Merz, Associate Editor More »