Zen

  • A Day for Bodhidharma Paid Member

    You can learn a lot of things perusing the Treeleaf Zendo message boards, including that today is Bodhidharma Day. What do we do on Bodhidharma Day? We sit, in order to honor the Zen ancestor who brought Zen from India to China. Bodhidharma is usually presented a bad-tempered barbarian who sat facing a wall meditating for nine years. In order to always stay awake, he cut off his eyelids, and tea plants sprang from them where they landed. Yum! Here are some Bodhidharma Day recipes. If you're in China, you could visit the recently unearthed Bodhidharma Stupa. More »
  • Larry Rosenberg and CIMC Paid Member

    Yesterday I was in Cambridge, Massachusetts to help videographer Denise Petrizzo with some of the filming of Larry Rosenberg's upcoming Tricycle Retreat. (I'm not much help with these kinds of things. I try to just stay out of the way.) Here's a picture I took of Larry in the meditation hall at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, looking refreshed after filming (sorry for the terrible cellphone-photo quality): More »
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    The Sound of One Hand at Japan Society Paid Member

    National Touring Exhibition and First U.S. Retrospective Illuminates the Art and Life of Preeminent Zen Master Hakuin The Sound of One Hand: Paintings and Calligraphy by Zen Master Hakuin October 1, 2010 – January 9, 2011 at Japan Society Gallery New York, NY — What’s the sound of one hand clapping? This famous meditational question was first framed as “What is the sound of one hand?” by Hakuin Ekaku, an 18th century painter and Zen master whose work is showcased at Japan Society from October 1, 2010 to January 9, 2011 in The Sound of One Hand: Paintings and Calligraphy by Zen Master Hakuin. “Although a major figure in Japanese art and widely regarded as the most important Zen master of the last 600 years, Hakuin is virtually unknown to American audiences today—a situation Japan Society intends to redress with this, the first retrospective of his work ever to be seen in the United States,” says Joe Earle, Director of Japan Society Gallery. More »
  • Sex, Sin, and Zen Paid Member

    Buddhist blogs are abuzz with reviews of Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between, a new book by Brad Warner---author, Soto Zen priest, blogger, and punk rock bass guitarist. You'll have to stay tuned to the Winter 2010 issue of Tricycle for our thoughts on the book, but for now here's what's being said in the blogosphere about Warner's latest effort, which touches on everything from porn to prostitution to the Bodhisattva vow: Though she says that the tone of the book can be all over the place and takes issue with his critiques of Wikipedia and guided meditation, blogger NellaLou found value in Warner's personal stories. She writes: His personal anecdotes are somewhat engaging and he does have a certain warmth and way of expressing acceptance of even those things he is uncomfortable with or even tacitly disapproves of. So there’s not a lot of real pretentiousness or distancing from the reader. I like that he’s honest and seems to just write like himself and not try to be somebody else or particularly care who is impressed with him (except maybe the babes sometimes). So that’s kind of comfortable to read. It feels like a conversation one would have with their little brother sometimes. When he gets into the Dharma and it’s relationship to social aspects these are quite good. That would be my favorite parts of the book. His psychological and sociological explanations are not abstract and come across as pretty well grounded. I would like to see him explore those kinds of themes a little more in the future. And I’m glad he made the effort to try to address some very complex issues. The Dharma parts are quite engaging and for the most part fairly accurate. And a little more mature than the sex parts. Verdict Read it for the Dharma but not so much for specific sex advice. More »
  • Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Arahants Paid Member

    Who better than the Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi to discuss the competing Buddhist ideals of the arahant and the bodhisattva? Bhikkhu Bodhi has been trained in both the Mahayana and Theravada traditions and is one of the most respected and, um, thorough Buddhist scholars around. His paper "Arahants, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas" appears on Access to Insight. The introduction is reproduced below, but it's worth reading in full on ATI. Among other interesting points, he discusses what distinguishes the Buddha from other arahants, and describes the emergence of the Mahayana from a proto bodhisattva-yana. The arahant ideal and the bodhisattva ideal are often considered the respective guiding ideals of Theravāda Buddhism and Mahāyāna Buddhism. This assumption is not entirely correct, for the Theravāda tradition has absorbed the bodhisattva ideal into its framework and thus recognizes the validity of both arahantship and Buddhahood as objects of aspiration. It would therefore be more accurate to say that the arahant ideal and the bodhisattva ideal are the respective guiding ideals of Early Buddhism and Mahāyāna Buddhism. By "Early Buddhism" I do not mean the same thing as Theravāda Buddhism that exists in the countries of southern Asia. I mean the type of Buddhism embodied in the archaic Nikāyas of Theravāda Buddhism and in the corresponding texts of other schools of Indian Buddhism that did not survive the general destruction of Buddhism in India. It is important to recognize that these ideals, in the forms that they have come down to us, originate from different bodies of literature stemming from different periods in the historical development of Buddhism. If we don't take this fact into account and simply compare these two ideals as described in Buddhist canonical texts, we might assume that the two were originally expounded by the historical Buddha himself, and we might then suppose that the Buddha — living and teaching in the Ganges plain in the 5th century B.C. — offered his followers a choice between them, as if to say: "This is the arahant ideal, which has such and such features; and that is the bodhisattva ideal, which has such and such features. Choose whichever one you like." The Mahāyāna sūtras, such as the Mahāprajñā-pāramitā Sūtra and the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra (the Lotus Sūtra), give the impression that the Buddha did teach both ideals. Such sūtras, however, certainly are not archaic. To the contrary, they are relatively late attempts to schematize the different types of Buddhist practice that had evolved over a period of roughly four hundred years after the Buddha's parinirvāṇa. More »
  • Move over, Park 51, now the Buddhists want a temple! Paid Member

    I can't guess at how many Americans would support or oppose the building of a Buddhist temple in Walnut, California, but I do know that someone there in high places is against it. And the US government isn't too happy about it. The AP reports: LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Justice Department has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against the Southern California city of Walnut, claiming it unfairly denied a permit to a group seeking to build and run a Buddhist center. More »