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Living and practicing harmoniously with others is essential to Buddhist teachings
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    Who Are You? Paid Member

    Who are you? My name is Peter. If you went to Nicaragua, you'd be called Pedro. Are Pedro and Peter one person or two? One, because I am only who I am. Are you a name? No, of course not. Then who are you? I am a man. You mean you are not a woman? No. I mean that I am a man. But you are only a man because you are not a woman. Who are you? I am an Englishman. If you went to Japan, would you be a Japanese man? No. Why? Because I was born in England and I speak English. If you had been born in England but raised in China, would you be Chinese or English? I would be English. More »
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    How Important is Faith? Paid Member

    IN PALI (THE LANGUAGE OF THE ORIGINAL BUDDHIST TEXTS), the word for faith is saddha. While sometimes translated as "confidence" or "trust," the literal meaning of saddha is "to place your heart upon." When we give our hearts over to a spiritual practice, it is a sign of faith or confidence in that practice. Faith opens us to what is beyond our usual, limited, self-centered concerns. In the Buddhist psychology, it is called the gateway to all good things, because faith sparks our initial inspiration to practice meditation, and also sustains our ongoing efforts. More »
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    Where is Buddha? Paid Member

    IN MY OFFICE THERE IS A SCROLL with Japanese calligraphy and a painting of Zen master Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma is a fat, grumpy-looking man with bushy eyebrows. He looks as if he has indigestion.  The calligraphy reads, "Pointing directly at your own heart, you find Buddha. " More »
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    Buddhism Without Beliefs Paid Member

    IF YOU GO TO ASIA and visit a wat (Thailand) or gompa (Tibet), you will enter something that looks very much like an abbey, a church, or cathedral, being run by people who look like monks or priests, displaying objects that look like icons, enshrined in alcoves that look like chapels, revered by people who look like worshipers. If you talk to one of the people who look like monks, you will learn that he has a view of the world that seems very much like a belief system, revealed a long time ago by someone else who is revered like a god, after whose death saintly individuals have interpreted the revelations in ways like theology. There have been schisms and reforms, and these have given rise to institutions that are just like churches. Buddhism, it would seem, is a religion. More »
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    White Trash Buddhist Paid Member

    I am forever in debt to the handful of teachers, writers, and thinkers who introduced me to Buddhist practice, provide constant inspiration, and continue to shape my knowledge of this path. Actually, I’m just forever in debt. Every time I get in my 12-year-old car and rattle away to the nearest retreat center, I’m reminded that I’m a poor white trash Buddhist. It’s a good thing none of those luminaries will ever try to collect, since I can’t even afford the practice as it is. That’s a shame, because the dharma saved my life. More »
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    Get Meditating, Houston! Paid Member

    Nighttime rendering of the Meditation Station in a downtown Houston, Texas park, courtesy of Peter Longoria and Nicholas Weiss of Harrison Kornberg Architects. More »