Tricycle Blog

Daily wisdom, teachings & critique Subscribe to feed
Tricycle Community 0 comments

March 30, 2015

Tibetan Buddhist Leader Blazes an Innovative Trail

Joshua Eaton
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (RNS) Wrapped in the maroon and gold robes of a Tibetan monk, Ogyen Trinley Dorje isn’t what most people picture when they think of innovation. To his followers, Dorje is the 17th Karmapa—the leader of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and the latest in a line of reincarnated Tibetan teachers, or lamas, stretching back to the 12th century. He’s been training for that role since the age of 7, when other important lamas recognized him as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa, who died in Illinois in 1981. More »
Tricycle Community 1 comment

March 25, 2015

China Asserts Control over Dalai Lama Lineage

Joshua Eaton
According to the Dalai Lama’s autobiography, Mao Zedong, the founder of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), once characterized religion as “poison.” The modern CCP maintains official atheism to this day, but that hasn’t stopped officials from claiming control over the intricacies of Tibetan Buddhist reincarnation. Angered by recent comments by the 14th Dalai Lama, 79, that he might not have a successor, Chinese officials have lashed out at the exiled spiritual leader and reasserted long-standing policies that grant them control over the recognition of reincarnate lamas. More »
Tricycle Community 3 comments

March 23, 2015

Breathe Easy

Two breathing exercises to help steady the mind before meditation Lauren Krauze
When I first started practicing meditation, my teacher taught me that the breath—ever-present and unconditional—is the link between body and mind. When we place our full attention on the breath, we pull ourselves out of the past, away from the future, and directly into the present moment. Or at least that’s how the common instruction goes. But using the breath to enter the proverbial here-and-now is easier said than done. More »
Tricycle Community 7 comments

March 23, 2015

Guided Meditation—Week 4

Honor the feelings of contentment that may start to arise.  Ven. Pannavati
Ven. Pannavati has led weekly guided meditations each Monday in March for Meditation Month. Check the blog for the previous installments in this series. Download the transcript of this retreat. It has been edited for clarity.  Ven. Pannavati will respond to reader questions posted below. More »
Tricycle Community 6 comments

March 21, 2015

Hung Jury

Buddhists aren't as unanimously opposed to the death penalty as you might think. Mario Marazziti
The Dalai Lama had just finished speaking at an event on the Capitoline Hill in Rome when I sought him out and asked him to be one of the first signatories of the Community of Sant'Egidio's Appeal for a Moratorium on the Death Penalty. He accepted immediately and signed in earth-green ink, which came as no surprise. Who more than the Dalai Lama is identified around the world with the need to respect life?  More »
Tricycle Community 5 comments

March 16, 2015

Not Playing Nice

Buddhist nationalism threatens Myanmar's democratic transition.  Marte Nilsen
Myanmar's parliament building It’s election year in Myanmar, the big test for the country’s aspiring democratic transition. Among the spirited national debates there are four controversial pieces of legislation currently under consideration in Myanmar’s Assembly of the Union parliament (the Pyidaungsu hluttaw). These reportedly aim to protect race and religion. But in truth, the bills represent a setback for religious freedom and women’s rights and—if adopted—are likely to deepen existing religious divides, threaten the reform agenda, and stir violence prior to the elections. More »
Tricycle Community 7 comments

March 16, 2015

Guided Meditation—Week 3

The practice gets easier the more we do it. Ven. Pannavati
Ven. Pannavati is leading weekly guided meditations for Meditation Month. Check back every Monday in March for a new video teaching on the blog.Download the transcript of this retreat. It has been edited for clarity.  Ven. Pannavati will respond to reader questions posted below. More »
Tricycle Community 15 comments

March 12, 2015

Calming the Not Now Mind

Meditation tips for procrastinators and perfectionists Kate Johnson
I'll just get a cup of tea first. Maybe sip it slowly, look out the window. Oh, better check my email too. . . Some mornings, the part of my mind that would rather meditate any time but now seems to wake up five minutes before the rest of me does. By the time my alarm rings and my eyes crack open, it is as if Not Now Mind were already sitting on the edge of the bed, drumming its fingertips, tapping its foot, and batting its eyelashes at me. More »
Tricycle Community 12 comments

March 10, 2015

The Myth of Religious Violence

Modern society has made a scapegoat of faith. Karen Armstrong
Every year in ancient Israel the high priest brought two goats into the Jerusalem temple on the Day of Atonement. He sacrificed one to expiate the sins of the community and then laid his hands on the other, transferring all the people's misdeeds onto its head, and sent the sin-laden animal out of the city, literally placing the blame elsewhere. In this way, Moses explained, “the goat will bear all their faults away with it into a desert place.” In his classic study of religion and violence, René Girard argued that the scapegoat ritual defused rivalries among groups within the community. In a similar way, I believe, modern society has made a scapegoat of faith. More »
Tricycle Community 7 comments

March 09, 2015

Guided Meditation—Week 2

Let your attention rest on one thing—the breath.  Ven. Pannavati
Ven. Pannavati is leading weekly guided meditations for Meditation Month. Check back every Monday in March for a new video teaching on the blog.Download the transcript of this retreat. It has been edited for clarity.  Ven. Pannavati will respond to reader questions posted below. More »
Tricycle Community 9 comments

March 02, 2015

A Head in Front of a Body

A short mindfulness of body practice to prevent anxiety Jill Satterfield
Everyone experiences occasional anxiety and some of us might be fraught with it. Tricycle readers especially are most likely no strangers to hearing or reading about mindfulness-based meditation practices that can soothe the feelings of anxiety. But as anyone who has experienced an anxiety attack will know, what’s almost as unpleasant as having one is hearing someone say “just breathe, relax” in the midst of it. More »
Tricycle Community 27 comments

March 02, 2015

Guided Meditation—Week 1

Developing intent, breath by breath Ven. Pannavati
Ven. Pannavati is leading weekly guided meditations for Meditation Month. Check back every Monday in March for a new video teaching on the blog.Download the transcript of this retreat. It has been edited for clarity.  Ven. Pannavati will respond to reader questions posted below. More »
Tricycle Community 0 comments

February 27, 2015

March is Meditation Month!

Tips and tools to support (or start) your practice
If you think the impending all-at-once release of House of Cards Season Three might be a Netflix conspiracy to scuttle your daily meditation practice, or if the promise of expert feedback will allow you to try sitting for the first time, or if you could just use a little extra help from your spiritual friends, then Tricycle has the thing for you: That's right—all of March we'll be raising a ruckus about that quietest of human endeavors. Commit to sit with us for the entire month! We'll help you make the most of it with guided meditations, instructive articles, meditation-themed e-books, and much more.   More »
Tricycle Community 5 comments

February 26, 2015

Ruth Denison, Western Dharma Pioneer and Vipassana Innovator, Dies at 92

Mary Talbot
Ruth Denison was one of the first female dharma teachers in the West, renowned for pioneering an unconventional, body-centered approach to Buddhist practice and for launching hundreds of students on the Buddhist path. Earlier this month, she suffered a massive stroke and, according to her wishes, received no life-prolonging intervention. Denison spent her last days surrounded by students and friends at home at Dhamma Dena, the rambling, desert retreat center she founded in the late 1970s near Joshua Tree, California. She died on the morning of February 26, at the age of 92. More »
Tricycle Community 5 comments

February 20, 2015

Trying Not to Itch

A nightmarish retreat ends with a lesson in compassion toward oneself—and a doctor's appointment.  Shin Yu Pai
Three days into a weeklong Vipassana retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, just north of San Francisco, California, I notice myself itching, unbearably. I’m not the only person distracted by the desire to scratch. Someone else leaves a handwritten note on the staff bulletin board confessing discomfort. The senior teacher responds by devoting an entire dharma session to “the itch,” the gist of which amounts to the following: observe the body’s suffering and let it go. The aching knee, the tickle in the back of the throat—just sensory experiences. Name, but refrain from scratching at all costs. More »
Tricycle Community 4 comments

February 19, 2015

Thich Nhat Hanh Making Steady Recovery

The Editors
More good news to report about the health of renowned Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, who emerged from a coma last November and appears to be making a steady, albeit slow, recovery. The website affiliated with his international network of youth sanghas, "Wake Up," published an update on his status, penned by longtime collaborator Sister Chan Khong.   It announces: More »
Tricycle Community 44 comments

February 18, 2015

Tripping with the Buddha

A Zen priest and a psychologist discuss the potential benefits and perils of a Buddhist practice that incorporates psychedelics.
Tricycle Community 0 comments

February 17, 2015

Myanmar's Cosmic Theater

Buddhist Art of Myanmar at Asia Society Anne Doran
Buddhist Art of MyanmarFebruary 10–May 10, 2015Asia Society, New York A Pyu period copper statue of a seated Buddha from the 8th or 9th century. Four years ago, Burma, now known as Myanmar, ended its decades-long isolation from much of the world. Now the Asia Society has mounted the first-ever museum show of Burmese Buddhist art in the US. The works included are fantastically varied in appearance, and for good reason. Until British rule in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the region comprising present-day Myanmar was a collection of separate kingdoms whose names, borders, and populations changed over the centuries. Providing a common thread among these disparate cultures was Buddhism, still practiced by 90 percent of the population of Myanmar. More »