As Buddhists, how do we work with illness and what do we learn from it?
  • Tricycle Community 3 comments

    Because We Can Paid Member

    In inpatient oncology, the pace is sustained but rarely as frenzied as in the ICUs. Our cancer patients tend to stay longer for treatment, or return when fevers or blood counts need monitoring. Working here as a chaplain gives me the time and continuity to begin a conversation around pets, families, recipes, and local sports, and channel the flow into faith, suffering, mortality, and meaning. These encounters provide a fertile environment where bodhicitta—awakening heart—can blossom, but they also tend to jerk me right out of my “feeling-enough-to-be-effective-without-being-over-or-underwhelmed” comfort zone. Permeability can be painful; sometimes I wish I could swaddle my heart. More »
  • Lost in Capitulation Paid Member

    A life-affirming Buddhism that teaches us to find happiness by opening to the richness of our everyday lives. That's what we want—or so we're told by the people who try to sell us a mainstreamlined Buddhism. But is it what we need? And is it Buddhism? More »
  • The Slow Burn Paid Member

    Bernie Flynn, a longtime student of Chögyam Trungpa, recently told me about the time he and the Rinpoche tried to quit smoking cigarettes. A few days in, he was driving the Rinpoche to a meeting. Antsy and in withdrawal, Bernie couldn’t help but notice his teacher sitting calmly in the passenger seat. Finally, his nerves on edge, Bernie turned to Trungpa and asked how the whole quitting thing was going. “It’s easy,” said Trungpa. “Either you smoke, or you don’t smoke.” Ah, so simple. Later that evening, Bernie entered a room to find the Rinpoche gleefully chain smoking. Oh, not so simple. More »
  • Tricycle Community 1 comment

    Among the Children of Wat Opot Paid Member

    The car brought her and the car left without her. Two older sisters were in the car. Srey Mom’s parents had both died of AIDS, and her sisters were supposed to take care of her. But they were pretty and young, and anxious to marry. In Cambodia the quality of a woman’s life is still largely determined by the man she marries, and it was not long before these young women realized that a promising young man, a good prospect, would have no interest in marrying a woman with a sickly young sister infected with the AIDS virus. So they brought Srey Mom to Wat Opot, a Cambodian community for children with AIDS. More »
  • Tricycle Community 11 comments

    Expiration Date Paid Member

    A human being has a shelf life. It’s a strange thought, given how essential we tend to think we are, as though we’ll be around forever. But we won’t. We’re born, we ripen, we die. And how do we die? I was on my knees, boxer shorts around an ankle, not only praying but vomiting, and not only vomiting but battling ferocious incontinence, when I realized, We all die like dogs. More »
  • Tricycle Community 10 comments

    The Eternal Care Unit Paid Member

    To what shall I compare this life of ours? Even before I can say it is like a lightning flash or a dewdrop it is no more. —Sengai (1750–1837) When I was in retreat, death and impermanence—death’s harmonic base—provided the background tone of every practice, from preliminary contemplations to yogas focusing on the dissolution of the elements and aggregates that occurs when we die. For months, maybe years, my beloved retreat master, Gendun Rinpoche, answered virtually all my questions (even the most abstruse) with a laugh and the suggestion that I delve deeper into impermanence. More »