Buddhist Teachings

  • Personal Heaven, Personal Hell Paid Member

    A Sri Lankan monk once told me, “There is no doubt: if you follow the five precepts, you will be happy. You will live a good life.” We were standing outside the Mahabodhi Temple, in Bodh Gaya, India, discussing the Buddhist path for lay followers. At that point in my life, the monk’s words struck me as uncomplicatedly true. I was living in a Buddhist monastery as part of the Antioch Buddhist Studies program and observing the five precepts with such fervency that I wouldn’t borrow my roommate’s flashlight for even a minute without asking first. “What if she comes back to her room and needs her flashlight while you have it?” my teacher asked sensibly. “It’s a way of avoiding unnecessary complications.” The four months I spent in India were undoubtedly the happiest, simplest days of my life. More »
  • The Dalai Lama on What People Get Wrong about the Present Moment Paid Member

    Many Tricycle subscribers will be familiar with the clip below from Sunrise/Sunset, which screened at our film club about a year ago. In the clip, the Dalai Lama deconstructs the present moment, so often essentialized in contemporary Buddhist discourse. He is clear: without past and future, there is no present, as it only has meaning in relation to past and future. This flies in the face of our own habit of essentializing the present moment at the expense of conceiving of ourselves as contingent, historical beings. It is a kind of meditative instruction that has ossified into Western Buddhist dogma.  More »
  • Bringing It All Back Home Paid Member

    Sometimes people ask me if there isn’t a conflict between the Mahayana instruction to see all beings as close relatives, worthy of our affection and compassion, and Buddhist teachings on nonattachment. Perhaps they are thinking of Jetsun Milarepa’s words: When you look at your child Firstly he is a soft-spoken young god.Then he is a distant-hearted neighbour.Finally he is an enemy and creditor.So I let go of children. More »
  • Against the Stream Paid Member

    In this short film, Josh Korda recounts his journey from young substance abuser to meditation teacher at Dharma Punx NYC. If we can learn, Korda says, to appreciate the ephemeral nature of everything we have, we'll never feel like there's anything missing from life. Rikki Gunton is a photographer, nonfiction filmmaker, and yoga teacher living in New York City. More from Josh Korda Now What?Life as a Recovering Addict More »
  • Going Back to the Source Paid Member

    Stephen Batchelor and Henry Shukman, both Tricycle contributing editors, sat down for a thoroughgoing conversation at the Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico on "Going Back to the Source." Batchelor is a widely published scholar who has trained formally in Tibetan, Theravada, and Zen Buddhism. Shukman, meanwhile, is the head teacher at Mountain Cloud and an accomplished poet and novelist. More »