Buddhist Teachings

  • Eastern Self/Western Self Revisited Paid Member

    My previous blog post reflecting on Gish Jen’s new book Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and the Independent Self, generated quite a bit of discussion. Some respondents dismissed as mere “personal observation” the claim that people from Western and Eastern cultures tend toward different types of self-construal. Others considered such generalizations as an Eastern “collectivist self” vs. a Western “individualist self” stereotypical, unhelpful, or completely irrelevant. One reader, while acknowledging that cultural differences of self-construal were “well known and not new,” stated flatly that such differences are “not important as far as awakening is concerned,” while another worried that they were so important the dharma transmission to the West must be doomed—since the dharma is so deeply rooted in Asian contexts, how could it possibly exist elsewhere? More »
  • Tricycle Short Film Trailer Release: Amituofo Paid Member

    "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 »
  • How to Change the World Without Getting Really Depressed Paid Member

    We all want to change the world, but we can quickly run up against despair, and worse, come to harbor the idea we can't make any difference whatsoever. In his new book from School of Life, How to Change the World, author and journalist John-Paul Flintoff offers examples of people who have done just that, and how they were able to do so. The fact is, whether we acknowledge it or not, we are all making a difference all the time. Flintoff implores us to be more conscious of that impact so that we may produce the effects we desire. Tricycle caught up with Flintoff via email to ask a few questions about the new book and how to overcome self-imposed obstacles to meaningful social change.   More »
  • Purposeful Action Paid Member

    How can I, one individual in a world of billions, hope to change anything? There are many reasons why this kind of defeatist question comes so easily to us. They include the way we have been brought up, a lifetime of putting up with things that frustrate or dismay us, and painful memories of failed attempts to Do Something. But the fact remains that we are all making a difference all the time. The real problem is that if we’re only affecting things unconsciously then we are probably not producing the effect we would wish for. More »
  • The Myth of Progress Paid Member

    And there may be no "progress" in religion, in practice, or in the Dharma, either. —Gary Snyder   I’ve been hearing from some people recently that Buddhism needs to change to fit with these modern times. I’m not sure what Buddhism they’re talking about. More »
  • A Good Death Paid Member

    The work of our good friend Robert Chodo Campbell was featured in a short article and photo series in the New York Times yesterday. Campbell is one of the Executive Directors for New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, an organization that provides direct care to the sick, dying, and suffering. The series shows Campbell with his friend John Hawkins in the months leading up to and the immediate hours after Hawkins' death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Both the photos and the accompanying article—a brief but moving testimonial from the photographer, Joshua Bright, on the effects of witnessing death firsthand—are honest and sweet, even graceful. More »