Arts & Culture

The growing influence of Buddhist artistic expression in contemporary culture
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    Free Expression Paid Member

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    A Sangha by Another Name Paid Member

    The black experience in America, like the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, begins with suffering. It begins in the violence of seventeenth-century slave forts sprinkled along the west coast of Africa, where debtors, thieves, war prisoners, and those who would not convert to Islam were separated from their families, branded, and sold to Europeans who packed them into pestilential ships that cargoed 20 million human beings (a conservative estimate) to the New World. Only 20 percent of those slaves survived the harrowing voyage at sea (and only 20 percent of the sailors, too), and if they were among the lucky few to set foot on American soil new horrors and heartbreak awaited them. More »
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    Nothing is True: William Burroughs and Buddhism Paid Member

    William Burroughs was not a Buddhist: he never sought or found a “teacher,” he never took refuge, and he never undertook any bodhisattva vows. He did not consider himself a Buddhist, nor, for that matter, did he ever declare himself a follower of any one faith or practice. But he did have an awareness of the essentials of Buddhism, and in his own way, he was affected by the Buddha-dharma. More »
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    Mothers of Liberation Paid Member

    THE RADIANT WISDOM-MOTHER Prajnaparamita, golden and serene, represents the transcendent understanding of reality that crowns the spiritual quest. The savioress Tara, sparkling emerald green, nurtures beings to the full flowering of joy and perfection. Vajrayogini, a red female Buddha, dances in a ring of yogic fire that consumes all negativity and illusion. In the Buddhist pantheon of India and the Himalayas, goddesses preside over childbirth, agriculture, prosperity, longevity, art, music, and learning. There are goddesses who specialize in protection from natural and supernatural dangers; others directly support practitioners in their quest for spiritual awakening. More »
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    Memories of Thailand Paid Member

    ISAN, OR NORTHEASTERN THAILAND, is a region known among Thais mainly for its poverty and grim heat—in contrast with the idyllic beaches of the south or the temperate hill forests of the north. Bangkok DJs and soap operas often mock Northeasterners as bumpkins, and northeastern Thai music corresponds roughly to American country music—rustic, easily derided, but infectious. Geographically and culturally isolated, Northeastern Thai life feels far removed from the world of art films celebrated in Berlin and Cannes. So in June 2004 everyone was surprised when a young director from Isan named Apichatpong Weerasethakul took the Cannes festival's Jury Prize for his film Tropical Malady. More »
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    A Democracy of the Imagination Paid Member

                         Ernest Hemingway spoke once of sitting at his desk each morning to face "the horror of a blank sheet of paper." He found himself (as any writer can confirm) having to produce by the end of the day a series of words arranged in a way that has never before been imagined. You sit there, alone, hovering on the cusp between nothing and something. This is not a blank, stale nothing; it is an awesome nothing charged with unrealized potential. And the hovering is the kind that can fill you with dread. Rearrangement of the items on your desk assumes an irresistible attraction. More »