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  • Tricycle Community 68 comments

    The Scientific Buddha Paid Member

    According to Buddhist doctrine, there can be only one buddha for each historical age. A new buddha appears in the world only when the teachings of the previous buddha have been completely forgotten, with no remnant—a text, a statue, the ruins of a pagoda, or even a reference in a dictionary—remaining. Because the teachings of Gautama Buddha, the historical Buddha—that is, our Buddha—remain present in the world, we have no need for a new buddha. But in the 19th century, a new buddha suddenly appeared in the world, a buddha who is not mentioned in any of the prophecies. What he taught is said to be compatible with modern science, and so I call him the Scientific Buddha. Today, the Scientific Buddha is often mistaken for Gautama Buddha, the historical Buddha, the real Buddha. But they are not the same. And this case of mistaken identity has particular consequences for those who seek to understand and practice the teachings of Gautama Buddha. More »
  • Tricycle Community 21 comments

    A Gray Matter Paid Member

    Participants in the dialogue between science and Buddhism have long modeled their discussion primarily on the idea of convergence, the premise that the most significant comparisons are those that reveal common ground. This is by no means the only model for comparative discussion, and I would argue that in the case of Buddhism and science it is deeply flawed. Instead, another model—one based on mutual challenge, in which the two sides are able to shed light on each other precisely because of their differences—offers what I see as a more potentially fruitful alternative. More »
  • Tricycle Community 104 comments

    What's at Stake as the Dharma Goes Modern? Paid Member

    In the summer of 2010, I sat a Dzogchen retreat at Garrison Institute with my teacher, a well-known Tibetan lama. He gave teachings during the day and then in the evening handed the microphone over to several academic luminaries who were also attending. In the morning and afternoon we received instructions on attaining buddhahood; in the evenings we heard lectures on how Buddhism’s contact with the West was leading to cutting-edge advances in brain-science research, medicine, and psychology. More »
  • Tricycle Community 59 comments

    What the Buddha Thought Paid Member

    Dr. Richard Gombrich has spent much of his life studying Buddhism, but he does not call himself a Buddhist. The only child of two educated and broadminded parents, he was brought up to hold humanistic values, notably reason, and to look on religion as irrational and best left alone. He became a historian like his father, Ernst Gombrich, and since his father seemed to have Europe well covered in his work, the younger Gombrich turned to Asia, specifically India. He learned Sanskrit and Pali, and encountered the ideas of the Buddha in his reading. Having decided early on that he was an atheist, yet following his parents in placing a high value on morality, Gombrich was drawn to Buddhism because, he says, “it is atheistic and also emphasizes ethics.” More »
  • Tricycle Community 54 comments

    Lost in Quotation Paid Member

    Many people who don’t know much about old Buddhist texts often know one passage from the Pali canon: the part of the Kalama Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya 3.65) stating that old texts can’t be trusted. More »
  • Tricycle Community 78 comments

    The Seeds of Life Paid Member

    Rebirth is a belief common to all Buddhist traditions, although in Tibetan Buddhism, a belief in reincarnation—the reappearance of a great master, known as a tulku— developed in the late 13th century C.E. The tradition continues amid much discussion of its contemporary relevance. Here, Trinlay Tulku Rinpoche, a Western-born tulku, discusses with Pamela Gayle White the traditional Tibetan view of reincarnation and answers some of the more common questions skeptical Westerners ask. More »