Buddhist Teachings

  • Meditation Month, Day 8: Meditation, Interrupted Paid Member

    My regular sitting practice tapered off about a year ago. I wish I could say what happened and why but I’m not really sure. My life didn’t fall apart or anything. Nor did it fall apart when I stopped sitting. I guess I still had my practice of sorts, cobbled together from sustained periods of concentration or devotion, purposely induced thoughts and lines of reasoning conjured up to counter what I knew was unwholesome, lying in bed staring at the tree branches outside my window, etc. The 28-day program, I hope, will provide a glimpse of what I might be missing and perhaps an opportunity to resuscitate a regular sitting practice. More »
  • Meditation Month, Day 7: Thanking my Suffering Paid Member

    This past weekend, I told my friends when it was over, will hereby be known as The Weekend of the Unfortunate Decisions. It was a series of choices so emotionally masochistic that they deserve to be capitalized, bolded, and forever flagged in my memory's archives as "Things I Should Never, Ever Do Again."The emotional stress of this behavior led to a low but persistent hum of anxiety that vibrated through my body without rest for days. Because I was anxious, I forgot to eat. I couldn't sleep. Meanwhile, I was exercising like mad in a misguided effort to purge the tension from my system. So I can hardly claim surprise when my body shut down on me on Sunday night, and I was left, anxiety-ridden and sleep-deprived, to deal with a very bad case of low blood sugar, a fever, and a panic attack entirely of my own making. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: A Columbia Professor and a Death Row Inmate Paid Member

    Not to be outdone by Burma's shocking level of prejudice against Muslims, a group of Sinhalese Buddhist monastics known as the "Buddhist Force" is campaigning to ban halal meat in Sri Lanka amidst attacks on Muslim-owned businesses and other violence. The Sinhalese president has urged the monks to maintain religious harmony within the country, especially since the nation's civil war with the Hindu Tamil Tigers ended only four years ago. More »
  • Straight Outta Kapilavastu Paid Member

    One day, long after he became a teacher, the Buddha went to give his daily sermon to the monastic community. He climbed on the dais but didn’t speak. Instead, he held aloft a single flower. He waited in silence. The monks and nuns looked back at him as the minutes passed. Finally, a single monk, Kāśyapa, looked at the Buddha. Kāśyapa smiled. As ancient scripture records it, the Buddha said, “I possess the true Dharma eye, the marvelous mind of Nirvana, the true form of the formless, the subtle dharma gate that does not rest on words or letters but is a special transmission outside of the scriptures. This I entrust to Mahākāśyapa.”[i] In other words, “Great Kasyapa is enlightened.” The Buddha got offstage and called it a day. This is the origin story of Zen. Amen, Brother. More »
  • Meditating on Mortality Paid Member

    According to Mike Belsito, who runs a funeral planning website, the word "death" is searched for on Google 68,000,000 times per month. "For perspective," he writes, "that's twice as much as the search results for the word 'marriage'—and more than thirteen times as much as the results for 'happiness.'" When the Tricycle staff were planning our current issue, which features a large special section on death and dying, we didn't know these numbers. But we're happy to learn that we're not the only ones interested in our own mortality. More »