brief teachings

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    Transforming Conflict Paid Member

    Learning how to negotiate conflict demands that we become more present, more fearless. We may need to relinquish the hopeful image of ourselves as remaining serene under all circumstances, like sitting buddhas carved from wood or stone. We have to expect our composure to be compromised as we learn about the possibilities and creative solutions of working directly with the conflict in our relationships. Even, and maybe especially, when things don’t turn out as we want, our engagement with discord refines and teaches us something, altering our life’s very course. Whether the results are invigorating or devitalizing depends on how consciously we work with ourselves and our circumstances. Simply retreating, smoothing things over, or trying to win out won’t take us to anyplace new. Developing our skills creates a sense of freedom; a confidence in ourselves; and an ability to be real, intimate, and ultimately loving with others. More »
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    To Be the Host Paid Member

    The ancient Chinese used the image of the host to describe the observing, stable meditator. Many guests visit the host. Some are invited, and they tend to be kind, charming, and a pleasure to entertain. Others are not invited: they are drunk, unruly, and eat all the food. Or they stand around, staring into space. More »
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    Get Intimate with Your Emotions Paid Member

    If you want more joy, get as intimate as possible with all of your emotions, illuminating and honoring the basic energy of each one. There is a kind of joy that sooner or later emerges from such exploration, the joy of simply being present at the heart of whatever we are feeling. Such joy weeps as easily as it celebrates; its loss of face only deepens its presence.  From Emotional Intimacy: A Comprehensive Guide for Connecting with the Power of Your Emotions by Robert Augustus Masters, PhD © 2013 Robert Augustus Masters. Reprinted with permission of Sounds True. www.soundstrue.com Illustration by Roberto La Forgia More »
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    Your Best Paid Member

    The best learning is realizing the truth of no-self.The best discipline is taming your mindstream. The best excellence is to have great altruism. The best instruction is the constant observation of your mind. The best antidote is the recognition that everything is devoid of intrinsic existence. The best conduct is that which is at odds with the mundane world. The best higher attainment is the lessening of your mental afflictions. The best sign of higher attainment is a decrease in your attachment. The best giving is the absence of possessiveness. The best morality is a tranquil mind. The best forbearance is to uphold humility. The best joyful perseverance is to be able to let go of the endeavor. The best concentration is the uncontrived mind. The best wisdom is to make no identification of “I am” with anything.  More »
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    Rain, the Snow, and Moon Paid Member

    Every day, priests minutely examine the LawAnd endlessly chant complicated sutras.Before doing that, though, they should learnHow to read the love letters sent by the wind and rain,     the snow and moon.  Trans. Sonja Arntzen. From Ikkyu and the Crazy Cloud Anthology: A Zen Poet of Medieval Japan. University of Tokyo Press. Illustration by Roberto La Forgia More »
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    Cutting the Threads Paid Member

    It doesn’t take much reflection to realize that everything you think of as “yours”…will, in the not-too-distant future, belong to someone else—if it is not discarded altogether. A friend’s mother recently died and he had been sorting through her belongings. He was able to take his time over this, and he noticed that gradually each object “returned to itself.” It was no longer identified with his mother; it was no longer a part of her. There was just a vase; just some writing on paper in a language that he and his sister couldn’t read.  More »