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    Heroes and Communities Paid Member

    IT IS TEMPTING, almost habitual, to view Gandhi through the prism of Western individualism, as a solitary leader who somehow lifted the entire Indian subcontinent on his shoulders and, David-like, took a stand against the Goliath of empires. But while there is no gainsaying Gandhi’s dedication and genius, if the approach to nonviolence he practiced had depended on heroism and charisma, his movement would have petered out into a cult of leadership instead of coming to define an approach to life that can speak to our concerns today. More »
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    The Baseball Diamond Sutra Paid Member

    THIS YEAR MARKS the centennial of the Parliament of World Religions; for the first time in America, clergy from non-theistic religions were invited to represent their traditions. Zen abbot Soyen Shaku (see "Ancestors") addressed the assembly in Chicago, having had his letter of acceptance written by his disciple, D. T. Suzuki. Also present was Dharmapala, the fiery leader of the Buddhist revival movement in what is now called Sri Lanka. The Archbishop of Canterbury was so offended by the placement of other religions on equal footing with Christianity that he denounced the Parliament and refused to come. Yet the task of extending religious pluralism in the United States beyond the confines of the prevailing Judeo-Christian traditions had begun in earnest. In terms of Buddhism, the Parliament was a major turning of the dharma wheel, setting in motion work which Tricycle continues today. More »
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    Many is More Paid Member

    Following the failed coup in Russia a cartoon in a New York newspaper featured two people standing in front of the Kremlin. One was saying to the other, "If you miss the one-party system, go to America." As the cartoon implies, new political alliances threaten to recast the United States as, at best, a beleaguered advocate of ideological plurality. Let's hope that American Buddhism doesn't follow the national political trend, especially since diversity is as central to Buddhist history as it has been to the history of the United States. More »
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    At the Crossroad Paid Member

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    The Clinton Koan Paid Member

    What is the sound of one hand clapping? What was your face before you were born? These Zen koans have seeped into the English vernacular as "riddles." What characterizes a riddle, however, is to ask a question, then gleefully wait for the (often ridiculous) "right " answer. These days Washington has produced a veritable glut of riddles. Usually smutty, they are told at a pitch that turns elevators, taxis, and street vendor carts into stand-up comedy clubs, In Zen, koan practice primes an awakening to a reality that dwarfs the small sense of "me" and renders senseless one's own socially conditioned, ego-bound habits of linear, logical thinking This environment does not curry favor with hard-edged opinions, condemnation or holy superiority. Yet, oddly enough, for all the humor and irrationality inherent in koans, the right/wrong rhetoric of the beltway—by comparison—looks like kindergarten sophistry; not innocent, but rather too childish to contain contradiction. More »
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    Selling Water by the River Paid Member

    It’s not unusual for Tricycle to cover the enormous diversity of Buddhism, but in this particular issue, the spectrum is about as broad as it gets. At one end, we have the barbaric destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. At the other, Mirabai Bush speaks of introducing contemplative practices to American power spots such as Harvard University and the bio-tech giant, Monsanto. In one place, sublime expressions of Buddhism are destroyed; in another, it is used as a new and civilizing agent of change. More »