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July 02, 2013

Trike Contributing Editor David Loy takes on "McMindfulness"

Alex Caring-Lobel
Over at the Huffington Post, Tricycle contributing editor David Loy and Ron Purser take on the trend of "McMindfulness," a quickly growing (and lucrative) industry slinging a form of secularized mindfulness deracinated from its ethical context. Proponents of mindfulness training often brand their teachings as Buddhist-inspired, the authors note, but in the same breath deny the practice's ties to its origins, assuring their corporate clients and sponsors that the technique is purely secular. While "uncoupling mindfulness from its ethical and religious Buddhist context is understandable...the rush to commodify mindfulnesss into a marketable technique" has a number of undesirable results. More »
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July 01, 2013

New Online Retreat: Working & Playing with the Breath

Our new online retreat with Thanissaro Bhikkhu, abbot of the Metta Forest Monastery, delves into various aspects of recognizing, understanding, and cultivating the breath. Emphasizing the practice of "playing with the breath," Thanissaro Bhikkhu walks us through developing sensitivity to the breath, patiently observing it, and then learning to manipulate the rhythms of our breath-energy as a means to "feel out" tension within the body. This retreat is based off of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's book, With Each & Every Breath, free to download with the retreat. More »
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June 30, 2013

We Are Not Kind Machines

A Radical Rejection of Scientific Buddhism Lama Jampa Thaye
Science seems omnipresent in the modern world, and its explanatory force and benefits are hard to deny. Indeed, its success has even led some, including a number of well-regarded figures in the contemporary Buddhist world, to argue that the dharma itself must be made more “scientific” if it is to survive. More »
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June 28, 2013

Buddha Buzz: The Face of Buddhist Terror & The Face of the Dalai Lama (in Tibet)

Alex Caring-Lobel
Buddhist-led anti-Muslim violence and persecution has received unprecedented mass-media attention in the past couple weeks. Images of Wirathu—monk-leader of the “969” movement, recognized for its hate speech and for inciting violence against Burma’s Muslims—have now graced both the cover of TIME and the front page of The New York Times. More »
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June 25, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Nyingma Founders Part 6, Zhechen Monastery

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. More »
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June 24, 2013

Consider the Source: Did a Chinese Sculptor Help Unify Japan?

Andy Ferguson
In the 6th century, Japan was torn between warring factions, each struggling to unify the country under its rule. A great chieftain, Soga no Iname, ultimately led the Soga clan to become the most powerful of the many warring families in that era, and unified Japan under the figureheads he placed in power. More »
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June 21, 2013

Buddha Buzz: The Surveillance State & Revenge of the Neural Buddhists

Alex Caring-Lobel
We're in DC attending BuddhaFest and filming interviews, dharma talks, and Q&As for the Tricycle | BuddhaFest Online Film Festival, so I'll keep this short and sweet. We even almost lost an editor in a small DC Bikeshare accident! All this so you can get all the goodness of the festival from the safety of your own home.  * More »
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June 19, 2013

Miya Ando solo show Mujo (Impermanence) opens today

New York-based emerging artist Miya Ando is debuting her recent work in Mujo (Impermanence), her first solo exhibition at Sundaram Tagore Gallery in New York City. A descendant of Bizen sword-makers, Ando was raised among swordsmiths and Nichiren Buddhist priests in a temple in Okayama, Japan. Combining traditional techniques of her ancestry with modern industrial technology, Ando skillfully transforms sheets of burnished steel and anodized aluminum into ephemeral abstractions suffused with subtle gradations of color. The Mujo show opens today, June 20, with a cocktail reception from 6 – 8pm, and will run through July 20 at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery at 547 West 27th Street, New York. Check out the teaser for our upcoming profile of the artist and her work below: More »
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June 19, 2013

Consider the Source: Why is Bodhidharma Credited as the "First Ancestor" of the Chan (Zen) School?

Andy Ferguson
Although Bodhidharma is honored as the “First Ancestor” of Zen Buddhism in China, historians know well that Zen not only preceded Bodhidharma, it was also widely practiced centuries before his arrival. So how did Bodhidharma acquire the honored title of “The First”? The foreign Parthian monk An Shigao is credited with introducing Zen to China in the 2nd century, roughly 300 years before Bodhidharma arrived in China. Plenty of evidence indicates that Zen gained popularity soon thereafter, with historical records indicating that Zen flourished in China’s Northern Liang Dynasty at least 50 years before Bodhidharma came on the scene. More »
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June 18, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Jetsun Pema Trinle

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. Jetsun Pema Trinle More »
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June 17, 2013

Consider the Source: Why didn't Chinese Zen dharma halls have Buddhist icons?

Andy Ferguson
In traditional Chinese Zen, the dharma hall had a special status as the place where the Zen master expounded the dharma. It was purposefully separated from the Buddha hall, where statues of the Buddha and other notables provided prominent devotional icons for temple services and visitors. The dharma hall itself, however, was always bare of such figures. Why? More »
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June 17, 2013

Third Week of Chodo and Koshin's Retreat: Mindfulness and Concentration

In this third week's teaching of Zen teachers Robert Chodo Campbell and Koshin Paley Ellison's online retreat, "Mindfulness and Concentration," the two continue their exploration of the eight awarenesses. Covering both mindfulness and concentration practices, Chodo and Koshin show us how developing and expanding awareness aids our ability to care intimately for ourselves and others. As Chodo says, "One can only be as intimate with another as one is with oneself." The practice of samadhi, or concentration meditation, equips us to be at home in any situation, regardless of how stressful or terrible it may be, and begins our process of becoming intimate with our selves and the world around us. More »
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June 14, 2013

Buddha Buzz: On Hiatus for Bonnaroo 2013

Buddha Buzz is on hiatus this week while Tricycle's daring and irreplaceable editorial assistant Alex Caring-Lobel travels to Manchester, Tennesee, for Bonnaroo 2013. Please come back in one piece, Alex. There he is! In the meantime, here's what's going on in the Buddhist world (and beyond) this week: - The 50th anniversary of Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc's self-immolation More »
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June 13, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Controversial Art, Part 3 - Ithyphallic Deities

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. Part 1: Dorje ShugdenPart 2: The Svastika Controversial Art, Part 3: Ithyphallic Deities More »
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June 12, 2013

Consider the Source: Why Did Tea Come to Symbolize Enlightenment?

Andy Ferguson
The great Zen master Zhaozhou (Joshu)’s advice to seekers of the Way was “Go drink tea.” Zhaozhou’s contemporary, Zen Master Jiashan Shanhui, famously uttered, “Tea, Zen: one taste,” a phrase that adorns countless tea houses in China. What’s the story behind Chinese Zen and tea culture’s intimate relationship? More »
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June 11, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Nyingma Founders Part 5, Dzogchen

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. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

June 10, 2013

Consider the Source: Why is the Yellow River yellow (and what does it have to do with Buddhism)?

Andy Ferguson
The Yellow River is an iconic symbol of Chinese civilization. Its yellowness comes from the immense amount of silt it carries from the desert regions in the northwest, where Buddhism entered China via the Silk Road. The sand blown off from those deserts has blanketed the region for millenia, leaving soil that is both fertile and easy to dig. The main result was the civilization’s early farming communities. The easily dug soil from the desert also helped create a great number of caves, which house thirty million Chinese people to this day. More »
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June 10, 2013

Second Week of Chodo and Koshin's Retreat: Serenity and Meticulous Effort

In this second week of Zen teachers Chodo and Koshin's retreat, "Serenity and Meticulous Effort," they develop the ideas from the previous week by exploring the third and fourth awarenesses from the Mahaparinirvana Sutra: serenity and meticulous effort. As Koshin says, serenity is not just about bliss, but about about finding presence and grace in the moment-to-moment chaos of daily life. This part of the practice demands rigor and constant effort; it is the ability to turn outward and open to life, however terrifying or difficult it may seem to be. Serenity, then, is not an escape from the stresses of the moment, but is instead being satisfied with not knowing what will arise next. More »
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June 07, 2013

Buddha Buzz: Steven Seagal and Vladimir Putin

Alex Caring-Lobel
Action film star, orientalist, martial arts expert, and recognized Tibetan Buddhist tulku Steven Seagal reemerged in the media this week after aiding a congressional delegation to Russia. Seagal has long been well connected in Russia, where he’s known to get all buddy-buddy with President Vladimir Putin, an avid martial arts enthusiast. More »
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June 06, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Fakes, Part 1 - An Introduction

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. Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Fakes, Part 1 - An Introduction More »