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  • Tricycle Community 13 comments

    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 »
  • Tricycle Community 31 comments

    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 »
  • Tricycle Community 2 comments

    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 »
  • Tricycle Community 6 comments

    Keys to Happiness Paid Member

    In your booklet “Keys to Happiness & a Meaningful Life,” you speak of the importance of knowing one’s own faults, reducing judgments, and practicing lovingkindness and compassion. And you speak of the eight keys to a meaningful life: generosity, patience, discipline, and the other virtues traditionally called the paramitas [perfections]. You emphasize the importance of these qualities for everyone, whether they are Buddhist or not. This suggests that you can develop these aspects independently of a religious context, which is appealing to those who want some kind of “Buddhist” practice without religion. Buddhism introduces wisdom. That’s the difference. For example, compassion with wisdom doesn’t exactly look the same as compassion without wisdom. Wisdom means to be free from complicated mind. More »
  • Tricycle Community 44 comments

    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Enlightenment Paid Member

    At 7,000 feet, the Zen monastery where I live is level with the clouds, which should give you some idea of where my head usually is—not to mention the heads of those who visit our grounds. Let’s talk about them. Occasionally, college students from the basin below appear through wispy nimbi on our gravel driveway. I first catch sight of them via their hairdos—which are dazzling and neon, like art projects—bobbing spikily through the dull gray mist. They travel in brightly colored, body-buttered, scantily clad, cologned and perfumed packs, like wolves with iPods. They are everything I’m not: still in their twenties, hopped up on caffeine and red meat, and eager to talk about Zen. More »
  • Tricycle Community 19 comments

    The Art of Being Wrong Paid Member

    There’s a scene in the fine and dark TV series Breaking Bad in which a villainous drug dealer, half-dead and half-blinded by a poisonous gas, stumbles down a suburban street and runs into one of his adversaries. The dealer can see just enough to recognize who it is, but he can’t see enough to realize, when he lurches off in a panic, that he’s heading straight for a large cottonwood tree. He slams into the trunk and knocks himself out cold. In the midst of that scene of tense dramatic confrontation, the resolution—a moment of classic slapstick reversal—is unavoidably funny. More »