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  • Tricycle Community 1 comment

    Sea of Sorrow Paid Member

    On the morning of December 26, 2004, shortly after the sun rose over the Andaman Sea, three killer waves swept over the southwestern shores of Thailand, swallowing—and spitting back out—5,385 people. Thousands more vanished completely in the sea. As this was happening, I was miles up in the air, returning from a pilgrimage in India to northern Thailand, my home for the previous two and a half years. A few hours earlier, I had sat in the Bangkok airport, awaiting a connecting flight, as planeloads of tourists seeking fun, relaxation, and novelty took off for the coastal resorts that now lay in watery ruins. The first images I had of the devastation unrolled on my TV screen later that day in the lakeside town of Phayao, where my husband and I were living during our sabbatical. More »
  • Tricycle Community 17 comments

    The Present Moment Paid Member

    In the history of Buddhism, popular movements that present meditation as a relatively simple practice, accessible without extensive training, are nothing new. It happened in 8th-century China, and again in 19th-century Burma. And—growing directly out of the Burmese movement—it is happening again in today’s secularized mindfulness movement, represented most notably in the practice of MBSR, or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. More »
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    Under Your Skin Paid Member

    During my first year as a monk, when I was staying at a monastery near Bangkok, we received an invitation from the children of a man in the last stages of liver cancer, asking for some monks to visit their father in the hospital, as he wanted to make merit and hear the dhamma one last time before he died. Five of us went the next morning, and the senior monk in the group chatted with the man for quite a while to put his mind at ease and help him prepare for his coming death. Now was the time, the monk said, for him to put aside all concern for his body and to focus instead on the state of his mind so that it wouldn’t be overcome by pain as his body fell apart. More »
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    Life's Hidden Support Paid Member

    The author and his father, Nathan Cooper, at the latter’s 75th birthday celebration in 1996. In the eyes of many, the entirety of Buddhist virtue is found through meditation. This is a much contested viewpoint, but whether or not one is of the opinion that the whole of the dharma is made available through meditation, it certainly does not follow that meditation is the only way the dharma is made available. More »
  • Tricycle Community 9 comments

    The Joy of No Sex Paid Member

    I won’t mince words. I’m celibate. And it’s because of the dharma. I’m not sure why writing that feels so exhibitionistic, so confessional. That the statement is extremely personal goes without saying. I’ve never sought to discuss all the sex I’m not having (as a friend likes to joke) publicly. But in the time I’ve been a student of Buddhism, well over half my life, it’s the one detail of my practice that ever made anyone balk, or that got treated as a problematic behavior. If the subject of my nonexistent love life comes up, I often hear from friends or colleagues, including some Buddhist ones, that I’m probably still shaken by the demise of my marriage (seven years ago), that I’ll change my mind, that I don’t know what irresistible liaison the future could bring, that I’m squelching my real feelings. More »
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    The Tie That Need Not Bind Paid Member

    I am so filled with thirst to be involved with people that there is no room in me for judging whether a person is good or evil, beautiful or ugly, right or wrong. This is not the result of some concept such as “one lives to love and be loved.” Any concept, faith, or “ism” cannot separate me from other people. My spirit shines with the heart/mind of embracing all beings. Without logic or argument, I only want to embrace everyone. My work of spreading the dharma is nothing but the expression of this heart/mind. —Haya Akegarasu (1877–1954) More »