Science

Current scientific research affirms, and challenges, traditional Buddhist teachings
  • Tricycle Community 7 comments

    When It Happens to Us Paid Member

    This is a fact of life; we don't like pain. We suffer because we marry our instinctive aversion to pain to the deep-seated belief that life should be free from pain. In resisting our pain by holding this belief, we strengthen just what we're trying to avoid. When we make pain the enemy, we solidify it. This resistance is where our suffering begins. More »
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    Science as Koan Paid Member

    When I first began to meditate, I considered the Buddhist approach to things to be completely separate from the scientific. But over time, that changed. At the beginning of my practice, I associated spirituality with transcendence. Eventually, though, I realized that meditation was about being right up against things, in an intimate way. This was a surprise; suddenly, both my scientific work and my Zen practice were aiming at the same sort of inquiry. That realization has propelled a lot of the stem cell research I've done in the last few years. When I ask, What is this body? What is its function? What are its limits? I am asking the same questions in my scientific work that I am in my sitting practice. More »
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    The Lama in the Lab Paid Member

    "Someone ought to wire the Dalai Lama up to an EEG machine to see exactly what's going on." It was an offhanded remark, made at the end of a Vipassana retreat by a gung-ho, fresh-out-of-college meditator, and as he calked more, it became apparent what he wanted was a shortcut to enlightenment. It was hard not to stumble over his lack of tact. But in fact, even as he spoke, in scientific labs across the country there was already a research initiative underway to study advanced Tibetan monks and seasoned Vipassana teachers. And the studies—sponsored by The Mind and Life Institute, a Boulder, Colorado-based nonprofit organization—have the input and full support of the Dalai Lama. More »
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    Out of the Skeleton Garden Paid Member

    Late autumn lays bare the skeleton of the garden. A low wind moans over cold ground, and darkness falls at five o’clock with the call for evening meditation. The heritage fruit trees growing at the edge of the cultivated row drop their burden of overripe apples along with any pretension of pedigree, and stand naked in the gloom of the Day of the Dead. I welcome this haunted time of year when dark swallows light with one swift lunge. Creatures at the shank of night travel undomesticated pathways of the dark. In this somber territory the common bat is my nocturnal teacher and guide, stitching together shadow and light. More »
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    Shattering the Ridgepole Paid Member

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    Ruffling Feathers Paid Member

    “THOUGH SHE BE LITTLE, yet she is fierce,” Shakespeare wrote of Hermia in Midsummer Night’s Dream. It would be an apt description of Mira Tweti, a 5-foot, 2 1/2-inch, 108-pound animal-welfare writer and Zen nun who’s probably the best friend any bird—captive or wild—could ever have. Tweti’s exposé of the parrot trade industry, Of Parrots and People: The Sometimes Funny, Always Fascinating, and Often Catastrophic Collision of Two Intelligent Species, published this fall, is rattling bird breeders across the country— maybe the world—and challenging parrot owners to reconsider the wisdom of keeping a caged companion.“This book, I think, will drive bird breeders to violence,” Tweti says matter- of-factly. “I’ve had breeders tell me that it’s all lies—and that I hadn’t said all the good things they’ve done. Like what? That they’re keeping the ‘stud books’ on parrots? Stud books are for horse breeders. That has nothing to do with keeping parrot species alive.” More »