Science

Current scientific research affirms, and challenges, traditional Buddhist teachings
  • Six Questions for B. Alan Wallace Paid Member

    The past four centuries have brought an explosion of scientific knowledge and technological know-how. The march of material progress has, however, left many Buddhist practitioners wondering whether Western society’s external transformation has been matched by an internal one, and if so, what role Buddhism can play in promoting a deeper understanding of both the external and internal worlds. Below, B. Alan Wallace, a uniquely interdisciplinary thinker, responds to six questions on this subject. More »
  • Don’t Believe the Hype Paid Member

    Last May, an article about mindfulness on a popular mainstream news website finally spurred neuroscientist and meditation researcher Catherine Kerr to act. The article cited 20 benefits of meditation, from “reducing loneliness” to “increasing grey matter” to “helping sleep,” and painted a picture of meditation as a kind of golden elixir for modern life. Kerr posted the article on her Facebook page. “It is not like any of this is grossly inaccurate,” she wrote in her post. “It is just that the studies are too cherry-picked and too positive.” More »
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    The Body After Death Paid Member

    Methods of caring for the body after death vary from culture to culture. What follows are some suggestions that come from my experience as a Buddhist and a caregiver of dying people. IMMEDIATELY AFTER DEATH Keep the atmosphere around the deceased simple and peaceful. If possible, do not disturb or touch the body immediately after death. If the body must be touched, do so very gently. Pray for peace and freedom for the one who has died. If appropriate, read sacred texts or conduct any practices or death rituals from the deceased's tradition. BEFORE THE ONSET OF RIGOR MORTIS More »
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    In Light Of Death Paid Member

    Rick Fields, poet, writer, student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and other teachers in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1995. Currently editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal and a contributing editor to Tricycle, Fields lives in Fairfax, California, with his partner, Marcia Cohen. He is the author of several books including How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America (Shambhala) and Code of the Warrior (Tarcher). This interview was conducted by Helen Tworkov in California, in May 1997.TRICYCLE: When you were first told that you had cancer, what did you do? More »
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    Death: As Common As Life Paid Member

    At least half the organic matter you see on a walk in the forest is dead: dead leaves, deadwood, dead weeds, insect carcasses, maybe even the stinking corpse of some higher animal if you're lucky. There are massive die-outs: suddenly the cicadas are silent, and the husks of their bodies litter the trail. Great plagues sweep across the vegetable kingdom: plagues of viruses, plagues of herbivores, plagues of invading plants, as the monastery's gardeners know only too well. And then all this carnage is brought to an abrupt halt by that biggest mass murderer of all, the first hard frost. The katydid's song grinds to a halt, the dainty jewelweed shrivels and collapses into putrid slime, the birds get out while the going's good. Autumn's splendid tragedy unfolds, and we have the beauty of a dying world. The spectacle makes us pensive: we think of our own demise, our approaching winter. More »
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    Time and Now Paid Member

    How could it be that the Buddha's enlightenment occurred simultaneously with all beings? Didn't this event happen a long time ago? And if it already happened, where is it now? Doesn't "all beings" include us? More »