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  • Tricycle Community 25 comments

    The Truth About Truth Paid Member

    Since 2007, I have taught a course on Buddhist history during the intensive study program, or shedra, at Lotus Garden retreat center, in Stanley, Virginia, the Western center of my teacher, Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche. In the second year of the course, I began a discussion of the historical origins of Mahayana Buddhism. According to Mahayana legend, the Buddha hid his Mahayana teachings in the realm of the nagas, serpent-like creatures who dwell under the sea, because his students were not yet ready to receive them. Eventually these teachings were retrieved by the great 2nd-century master Nagarjuna. This account has been passed down as if it were factual history, but of course it isn’t. What historical research tells us is that the Mahayana scriptures gradually emerged after the Buddha’s lifetime over the course of centuries. More »
  • Tricycle Community 8 comments

    Allegiance to Life Paid Member

    It’s no secret that our world is in a tough spot. The critical problems that we face today—political, economic, and ecological—can be overwhelming even to think about. Joanna Macy, Ph.D., however, believes we are in a moment she calls “The Great Turning”: a transition from a society shaped primarily by industrial growth to a society structured to be life-sustaining. In her workshops, Macy—a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology—encourages people to take part in this collective transition not by hiding from their pain for the world but by embracing it. In honoring our despair, Macy says, we discover our love for the world. More »
  • Tricycle Community 39 comments

    10 Tips for Living More Mindfully Paid Member

    What follows are just a few of the most important ways to support your meditation practice and strengthen your practice of mindfulness in everyday life—what I call “headspace.” The theme that runs throughout is awareness, an understanding of both oneself and others. It’s about developing a gentle curiosity: watching, noticing, and observing what’s happening in every aspect of your life—how you act, how you speak, and how you think. It’s not about trying to be someone else: it’s about finding a sense of ease with you as you are, right now. 1. Perspective: Choosing how you see your life More »
  • Tricycle Community 29 comments

    DNA Sutra Paid Member

    It began with a rush of blood. Then came fear, and curiosity. Were there dangers hidden in my genes? Clues about my future, even my death? Was my “self,” my personality, programmed into my genome? Penetrate completely the matter of birth and death, says the traditional Zen instruction. Somehow I imagined it might be easier to let go of “body and mind,” as Zen master Dogen instructed, if I knew that both of those phenomena had been constructed genetically. Most of our ancestors are forgotten, faceless and nameless. But they left their genes, and some left their words. I searched through those words and genes, expecting to see in them the familiar face of a hero or victim from the old stories. I glimpsed that face. But I saw something else, too. I saw the face of a persecutor, a killer. I saw a stranger’s face. My face. More »
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    Reel Rinpoche Paid Member

    It’s day 23 of a 41-day film shoot for Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s third feature film (working title: Vara). The cast and crew have taken over a small Muslim village near Dambulla, Sri Lanka, graced by fertile rice fields and wide bicycle paths, lotus ponds, and a view of the 5th-century Buddhist rock fortress of Sigiriya. The weather is fine, Bush Warblers and parakeets thrash about in the trees, filling the soundman’s headphones with birdsong, much to his irritation. Today the crew is filming interiors of the house of the lead characters, Vinata and her daughter Lila, temple dancers of the devadasi tradition. More »
  • Tricycle Community 17 comments

    Aren’t We Right to be Angry? Paid Member

    In May 2011, at the Newark Peace Education Summit in New Jersey, the Dalai Lama and Jody Williams—both Nobel Peace Prize winners—debated the role of anger in social action work. The Dalai Lama held that people must have inner peace in order to promote peace in the world. “Too much emotion, attachment, anger, or fear, that kind of mental state, you can’t investigate objectively,” he said. Williams respectfully disagreed. “It’s anger at injustice which fires many of us,” she argued. As Buddhists, we may tend to agree with the Dalai Lama. But after listening to Williams, a powerful activist for social change, a compelling question emerged: Is anger ever a good thing? More »