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    Big Dream on the Bare Stage Paid Member

    [The following is a guest post from Tricycle's Copy Editor Karen Ready.] I'm puzzled that virtually no New York bloggers have posted anything about Evan Brenner's work in progress The Buddha-In His Own Words, a one-man performance of excerpts from the life and teachings of the Buddha taken directly from the vast collection we know as the Pali canon. These texts form the basis of the Theravada tradition: discourses, teachings, monastic rules, and philosophical texts attributed in large part to the Buddha and his disciples, they were passed on orally and committed to writing only after the Buddha's death. The play is the result of some four years of work (so far) on Brenner's part to "assemble the life of the Buddha." I like his choice of "assemble": in fact, Mark Epstein has referred to the play as "masterfully crafted," and both terms provide a good sense of Brenner's deceptively simple eighty-minute creation, like the attentive folding of an origami shape. Here the actor-playwright takes on all the roles, from the young prince who leaves his royal surroundings to seek an answer to the world of suffering and death he finds beyond the palace gates, to those he encounters along the way (including Mara the tempter), to members of his ever-growing following as well as opponents who brought tragedy to his later years. More »
  • Tricycle Pilgrimage to India, January 2008 Paid Member

    The Tricycle pilgrimage to India was an eventful one, with so many sites visited we were all a bit winded by the end of it. This year, our unflappable Indian guide, Shantum Seth, took us down to the stone-temple caves of Ajanta and Ellora--truly spectacular. Stephen Batchelor and Shantum led mediations and teachings, and most memorable for me--after Ajanta and Ellora--was our visit to Sanchi, in Madhaya Pradesh. Sanchi is the site of some of the most well-preserved stupas and examples of Buddhist architecture. Stone structures spanning centuries are perched high on a hill overlooking the plains below. The great thing about Sanchi is that it spans a period from the third to the twelfth centuries. The earliest structures show no representation of the Buddha at all, in keeping with the tradition's focus on the teachings, not the man. More »