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    Real Enough Paid Member

    How do we wake up to the intimacy of meeting the moment at hand? How do we practice compassion in the face of cruelty and the unknown? Where does our imagination come from? Who is thinking? These are some of the questions that are alive in poet and writer Nick Flynn’s work and life. Koshin Paley Ellison and Robert Chodo Campbell, Zen Buddhist teachers and cofounders of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, invited Flynn to the Zen Center for an afternoon of conversation. They spent a few hours talking about poetry, bees, his time with the Abu Ghraib detainees, and letting our hearts break to open wide. More »
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    Consider the Seed Paid Member

    It is the size of a pea, and crisp green. Feel it in your fingers: the packed potential within its smooth borders; the tight, pinprick tip—that searching extension of sentience. Put it into the earth with me. Black mineral loam, juicy, flecked with bits of organic energy; arms from underground, waiting for our baby seed. Let’s spend a few weeks with it underground. Plant the seed in your imagination. Earth presses up against it; caressing it . . . it draws the earth into itself. The soil offers its minerals to the seed. Seed and soil flowing into one another.  More »
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    On Meeting the Great Bliss Queen Paid Member

    Tricycle: Who is the Great Bliss Queen? Klein: The Great Bliss Queen is a title that one Nyingma lineage gives to Yeshey Tsogyel, an enlightened teacher and the central figure of certain tantric practices. In a conflation of history and hagiography, she is described as a Tibetan queen but also the consort, student, and spiritual equal of Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century. According to legend, she buried Padmasambhava's writings so they could be discovered later. Tricycles Why is she blissful? More »
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    A Matter of Misdirection Paid Member

    In “Indian Camp,” the first story in Hemingway’s first book, In Our Time, a boy and his father paddle out on a lake to an island where a pregnant Native American woman is having a hard labor. The boy is shocked both by her suffering and by the general poverty of the camp. He waits as his father, a doctor, helps deliver the baby; the boy doesn’t pay attention—nor do we—to the woman’s husband lying on a nearby bunk. Unable to endure the sound of his wife’s birth pains or his certainty of the new child’s miserable prospects, the man slits his own throat. But the author only lets us see this late in the tale; most of the way we think the story is about the boy and his father. All along, without our even noticing, another more pressing series of events has been unfolding right under our eyes. More »
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    A Question of Faith Paid Member

    Buddhism has always engaged the traditions of the cultures it has come into contact with, and spoken through them. In the case of Western Buddhism, much of this engagement has been through science. Dharma in the West has seen the refashioning of the Buddha and his doctrine in terms of scientific and therapeutic principles as a “science of mind.” But while Buddhism is immediately recognizable as a belief system with its own distinctive axioms, the current ideological premises of science are rarely cast in the same light. Scientist Rupert Sheldrake has dedicated his latest book, Science Set Free, to questioning unexamined assumptions that go hand-in-hand with science. Sheldrake distinguishes the method of scientific inquiry from the materialist worldview with which it is often conflated. Unlike most religious believers, people who put their faith in scientific materialism are often unaware that their beliefs are just that—a matter of faith. More »
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    The Space Between Paid Member

    How do we pay attention? How do we attend to what is right in front of us, whether it be a loved one who is dying, a homeless person, the cashier in the local food store, or simply slamming the car door shut? What motivates us to take care of others? How do we separate ourselves from the “other”? These are some of the questions that New York’s poet laureate, Marie Howe, holds in mind as she writes her poetry. Robert Chodo Campbell and Koshin Paley Ellison, Zen Buddhist teachers and the founders of New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care (NYZCCC), are friends with Marie Howe and she is a guest teacher in the NYZCCC’s Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care Training program. On a bright winter Sunday in March, Chodo and Koshin spent the morning with Marie Howe and her daughter, Inan, in New York City. Over bagels, cream cheese, and tomatoes, they spoke with Howe about poetry, caregiving, and paying attention. More »