editors view

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    The Great Matter Paid Member

    We hear everywhere nowadays that Buddhist practice offers a whole host of benefits: inner peace, happiness, better relationships, better health, relief from physical pain, greater productivity at work—the list goes on. Although many advocates associate these benefits with a secular and scientific understanding of Buddhist practice, the basic approach is entirely in line with how Buddhism has always functioned as a religion. In a 2006 Tricycle interview, Princeton professor Jacqueline Stone, a scholar of Japanese religions, pointed out that the dharma has always been thought to bring practitioners an array of socially desirable results, from health to prosperity to enlightenment. “Praying for worldly benefits—healing, prosperity, the protection of the country—has been common throughout the Buddhist tradition, and it has a strong basis in Buddhist scripture,” she said. More »
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    The Buddhist Review Paid Member

    I’ll ask a question at the risk of not being able to answer it: how can a magazine call itself “The Buddhist Review,” as Tricycle does, when Buddhist schools are so diverse that some scholars and teachers consider them different religions? All of us who work at the magazine and probably all who write for it disagree about many things. We may engage in traditional debates about doctrine and practice, partial to our own schools’ biases; or about matters relating to issues in the adaptation of Buddhism to the modern world. Some of us lean toward a more literal understanding of the teachings, others are more liberal in our interpretations. I often wonder how to avoid simply talking past each other. Is the tent really big enough to hold us all? More »
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    The Buddha Stain Paid Member

    At the further edges, cults are certainly different from other types of communities, whether religious or secular. But aside from the extremes, there can be a large gray area. Which is to say, certain characteristics that are present in most any purposeful community—self-validating agreements about authority; the singular significance of the group’s mission; clear rules of conduct and organization—can, when pushed far enough, lead to cult-like behavior, with damaging consequences. More »
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    A Gray Matter Paid Member

    If you haven’t heard that Buddhist mindfulness meditation can change your brain for the better, you haven’t opened a magazine or newspaper lately. On the other hand, if you haven’t heard that research supporting such a claim is at best inconclusive, you can’t be blamed—it’s not a view you’re likely to come across as readily. More »
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    Building a Bridge Paid Member

    Since our first issue, Tricycle has delivered traditional Buddhist teachings in an idiom and style relevant to the contemporary practitioner’s everyday life. How much has been lost—or gained—in adapting the traditional teachings has been a subject of much debate. It was inevitable, then, that alongside dharma teachings we would run articles that reflect critically on what we’re doing as we transmit Buddhism to the West. It’s a bit like crossing a bridge even as we’re building it. Presenting the dharma is the crossing, while critical reflection is building the culture of ideas that support it. More »
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    First Steps Paid Member

    When speaking of world religions it’s become standard to turn up the volume on those aspects that are shared and, conversely, to turn it down on the differences. Ecumenical dialogues often sound stripped of authenticity by a tacit consent not to disagree. In the fractured delicacies of postmodern pluralism, there seems little interest in distinguishing between healthy debates and declarations of holy war. New Buddhists have repeatedly embraced their found religion with the cocksure arrogance of the convert. Yet, when it comes to ecumenical forums, they seem to shrink from representing the new religion on the block—they can be like guests currying favor with the authorities or, chameleon-like, camouflaging themselves into a seamless blend with their (Judeo-Christian) hosts. More »