Tricycle Blog

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May 20, 2013

Tricycle Short Film Trailer Release: Amituofo

"A lot of people believe that martial arts was born in the Shaolin Temple. That's not true. When the Chinese people were born, martial arts was born. But the Shaolin Temple was the first place to combine all the martial arts together." —Shifu Shi Yan Ming, abbot of the USA Shaolin Temple More »
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May 20, 2013

Third Week of Pat Enkyo O'Hara Roshi's Retreat: To Be Awakened

In the third week's teaching of Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara's retreat, "To Be Awakened," she addresses the third slogan of Zen Master Dogen from the Genjokoan: To forget the self is be enlightened by the myriad things. "Every thing is an opportunity to wake up," says Enkyo Roshi, "but we have to be open to it, and recognize it." We often come to think of enlightenment as an abstract, idealized state. But actually, enlightenment often lies in the most mundane moments and experiences. Or as Enkyo Roshi puts it, "We are looking so hard for something that we don't recognize that it's right here." By sitting, quieting our mind, and becoming intimate with ourselves, she reminds us, we can connect to the wholeness and security of the universe.     More »
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May 17, 2013

Buddha Buzz: The Transsexual Monk, The Million Bottle Temple, and The Accidental Prime Minister

Emma Varvaloucas
Only in Thailand: Sorrawee Nattee, the 2009 winner of the Thai "Miss Tiffany" transsexual beauty contest, has removed his breast implants and become a monk. That's what I call getting the best of both worlds, since women in Thailand are unable to receive full ordination... More »
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May 16, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: The Vajra Scepter, Part 1

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. The Vajra Scepter, Part 1: Multiple Meanings More »
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May 15, 2013

News Brief: Mindfulness Conquers World

P. B. Law
This just in from The NewsLeek, Buddhism's Finest News Source. BOSTON, May 1, 2013—The International Mindfulness Foundation (IMF) today announced that mindfulness has officially succeeded in conquering the world. “Now that global leaders in business, government, the military, health care, academia, and the media have fully embraced the practice of mindfulness at home and in the workplace,” stated IMF chairman Hugh Briss at a major press conference, “we at IMF have declared full and final victory in the war on mindlessness.” More »
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May 14, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Lotsawa Loden Sherab and Lotsawa Zhonnu Pel

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. Translators from the Second Propogation: Lotsawa Loden Sherab and Lotsawa Zhonnu Pel More »
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May 13, 2013

Second Week of Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara's Retreat: To Forget the Self

In the second week of Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara's retreat, "To Forget the Self," she expounds on the second slogan of Zen Master Dogen from the Genjokoan: To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self, Enkyo Roshi says, is to forget the idea of the self: its story and its inclination toward avoiding and clinging to various phenomena. We forget the self when we shift our attention to the present, to the constantly shifting flow of moment-to-moment reality. In that presence, when our internal monologue drops away, we forget the self and are free to feel the flow of life around us.   More »
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May 10, 2013

Buddha Buzz: Marijuana-filled Buddhas, HHDL speak out on Burma, and some good ol' Buddhist Americana

Alex Caring-Lobel
Earlier this week US Customs and Border Protection officials seized nearly 600 lbs of pot inside a shipment of Buddha statues and other religious figurines. Officials at the El Paso US-Mexico crossing discovered the narcotics—and an alternate explanation for the Buddha's contented grin—with the help of an irreverent, drug-sniffing dog. No arrests have been made. More »
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May 09, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Sacred Geometry, 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. Sacred Geometry, Part 1 Sacred Geometry, Part 2: The Tetrahedron More »
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May 08, 2013

Eastern Self/Western Self

Linda Heuman
We in the West are quite concerned these days with how to make the dharma authentically Western. But caution please, folks. Before we start inventing a new flavor of Buddhism to suit Western palettes, it is important to look closely at the implicit assumptions we are bringing to this project. More »
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May 07, 2013

Bearly Zen

Meet Bearly Zen, the most dedicated member of the Village Zendo sangha in lower Manhattan!This photo was snapped while we filmed the Village Zendo's abbot, Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara, for her May retreat, "Recognizing the Self." Watch the first week's teaching here (free for everyone!). Enkyo Roshi told us that Bearly Zen is always facing the appropriate way—towards the wall for meditation, away from the wall for chanting—but she never sees anyone move him. A very dedicated practitioner, indeed!   More »
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May 07, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Nyingma Founders Part 3, Nyangrel Nyima Ozer

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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May 06, 2013

Sitting for Good: The Brooklyn Sit-a-thon

This Friday, May 11, Brooklyn Zen Center will hold a day-long sit-a-thon to raise funds for the Awake Youth Project, a program that the Zen center runs in partnership with Brooklyn College Community Partnership to bring mindfulness and meditation programs to Brooklyn youth. "Many of the young people with whom we work live with considerable economic hardship and risk for violence," say the staff members of Awake Youth Project, "They struggle with enormous stress, anxiety, anger and other strong emotions that make an already demanding life schedule all the more difficult. Consequently Awake Youth Project’s high school-based groups employ meditation and mindfulness practices to address the many challenges in the lives of our youth." More »
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May 06, 2013

New Online Retreat: Recognizing the Self

Our new May online retreat, "Recognizing the Self," with Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara, abbot of the Village Zendo in Manhattan, focuses on the importance of recognizing ourselves and maintaining that integrity in the often confusing cacophony of modern society. Organized into a study of Zen Master Dogen's three fundamental slogans—to study the enlightened way is to study the self; to study the self is to forget the self; and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the myriad things—Enkyo Roshi guides us to her own final conclusion: to be enlightened by the myriad things opens you to the bodhisattva path. Today's retreat teaching, "To Study the Self," tackles the first slogan. Enkyo Roshi emphasizes bringing our attention to and being intimate with ourselves, regardless of our recognitions or criticisms. By "turning the light inward," as Dogen says, we can become present in this moment and begin this very special consideration of who we really are. More »
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May 03, 2013

Buddha Buzz: Sex Tape and the Sangha

Alex Caring-Lobel
In Lowell, Massachusetts, a sex-tape scandal involves neither unscrupulous celebrities nor hapless victims of disgruntled exes, but a Buddhist temple, a monk, and a community organizer with some shady finances. The city's Cambodian community has been rocked by the recording of prominent community leader Maya Men having sex with a monk—in a temple. Both Men and the monk, Ven. Nhem Kimteng, were part of an executive committee responsible for fundraising and overseeing the construction of a new $10 million temple, thus involving the area's sizable Cambodian community, which settled in Lowell in the 1970s following the Khmer Rouge-led genocide in Cambodia. The committee was already mired in controversy with accusations of suspicious finances and a lack of transparency. More »
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May 02, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Sacred Geometry, Part 1

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. Sacred Geometry, Part 1 The geometry of the sacred in Buddhism is not the same as the study of iconometric measurements and grids. While the latter is used exclusively by artists to form deity and mandala diagrams to aesthetically pleasing proportions, the former is the understanding of shapes, functions, contexts, concepts, and colors of Tantric imagery and visualization. More »
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April 30, 2013

Treasury of Lives: Gendun Chopel

Asha Kaufman
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. Gendun Chopel More »
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April 26, 2013

Buddha Buzz: The Mindful Lifestyle Movement and "Insta-Karma"

Alex Caring-Lobel
Over at Maclean's Anne Kingston surveys the world of corporate mindfulness and the Buddhist reaction. "What has gripped Western attention," writes Kingston, "is mindfulness's ability to improve performance—of Olympic athletes, parents, and even nations, as promised in U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan’s 2012 bestseller, Mindful Nation." Mindfulness: the panacea to all our personal and societal ills. Tech entrepreneurs, corporations (benevolent and evil), publishers (Buddhist and non-Buddhist), and life-coaches of all stripes have been quick to capitalize on the "mindful" vogue. More »
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April 26, 2013

Meet Tokyo's Bartending Monk

Alex Caring-Lobel
Bartenders are easy to confide in. Not just because you're probably wasted, but because so many others have been before you. Your neighborhood barkeep has already heard it all, and though he might not be able to impart any sage advice, he's at least developed some good listening skills. While barkeeps seem to have always occupied this unique social position, it's therapists who often do these days. Before therapy, which developed from the Christian culture of confession and divulgence, it was the clergy who saddled this responsibility. Vowz Bar in Tokyo revitalizes that once important role of clergy, placing them right behind the bar, where Buddhist-themed cocktails are mixed for spiritually thirsty patrons. Run by monks in the bustling Shinjuku district, it's likely the only bar where boozy-and-stirred concoctions are offered with a prayer. More »
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April 25, 2013

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Iconometry, Proportions & Guidelines

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. Iconometry, Proportions & Guidelines More »