Relationships

All of our interpersonal relationships are a crucible for Buddhist practice
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    Death, Sex, Enlightenment & Money Paid Member

    The first time I came to the Tibetan center the teachings were just beginning and I found a place on the floor in the back of the shrine room. Had I arrived five minutes earlier, I might have had time to inspect a gaudy altar, or to inspect the dead-eyed devotees and spiritual show-offs, and I would have had my first opportunity to recoil from an officious caucus of administrators whose every fawning gesture exuded an extravagance of modesty. Only the master himself could have held me. And, thankfully, he did. More »
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    Say it Right Paid Member

    According to former psychologist Marshall Rosenberg, needs are never in opposition—only our strategies for meeting them are. A number of dharma teachers are finding that Rosenberg’s methods can serve as a support for the Buddhist practice of Right Speech. It is a midsummer morning and I am meditating with my parents in their living room. At my back my father sits in an armchair, his right shoulder slumped from the stroke that threw him to his knees six months ago. My mother is upright in front of me on her seiza bench, her white hair falling over her shoulders. I breathe in, making my whole body calm and at peace. The dial of the kitchen timer at my knee turns almost imperceptibly toward zero. More »
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    Accusing the Tiger Paid Member

    At Tintern Abbey, a medieval Cistercian monastery located on the border between England and Wales, a young monk was caught having an affair with a village girl. The abbot had the girl strangled, and the monk buried up to his chin in the river mud, where the tides rose over him and he drowned. Punishments of maiming and death for sexual misconduct are prescribed in both the Old Testament and the Koran. Buddhists call this approach to morality "theistic" and "dualistic," meaning that it defines right conduct by an external reference point, such as divine law, and splits the world into good and evil. The guardian of morals imposes the law with particular harshness against the sexual offenses of spiritual practitioners, because flesh and spirit are thought to be enemies. What comes from the flesh is evil, and must be chastised. More »
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    The Zen of Paul Reps Paid Member

    When Paul Reps was asked what kind of Zen he practiced, he answered: “Reps Zen.” This poet-painter-philosopher who died last year at the age of ninety-six not only followed his own Zen but influenced generations of Americans. Zen Flesh Zen Bones, a collection of Zen stories complied by Reps, was published in 1952 and continues to introduce new audiences to the tradition. I first met Reps soon after World War II. He had been sending me articles for Gentry and American Fabrics, magazines which I published at the time. In one accompanying note, he suggested that we go to Japan together. Our first encounter was at the old Spanish colonial airport in Los Angeles, en route to the Far East. More »
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    In the Realm of Relationship Paid Member

    Tricycle: In your article “The Compatibility of Reason and Orgasm in Tibetan Buddhism,” you talk about the physical act of sex as being an opportunity to work in a meditative way with the mind of clear light. In our understanding of Tibetan iconography, of consorts coupling with each other, is it misleading to think of these in terms of being purely symbolic—symbolizing the union of wisdom and compassion? Because now you’re talking about the physical acts of sex. More »
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    In The News Paid Member

    Change Your Mind Day 1997 Longtime practitioners, meditators-for-a-day, dharma bums, and dog walkers turned out for Tricycle’s fourth annual Change Your Mind Day on May 31. The afternoon of free, informal, introductory instruction is organized each year to introduce people of all backgrounds to meditation practice. For five hours, the Great Hill, a secluded and grassy slope at the north end of New York City’s Central Park, was transformed into a sea of cross-legged sitters and bare-chested sun worshippers drawn by the stillness. Despite overcast skies and predictions of rain, more than 1,200 people participated in this year’s activities, which included guided meditations from a variety of Buddhist traditions, contemplative movement, music, and a traditional Tibetan geshe debate. More »