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  • 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 »
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    The Nuns of Monkol Won Paid Member

    At the time these photos were taken, the nuns and monks of Monkol Won Pagoda in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, were cautiously optimistic that the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia might bring democracy to their country. For a number of months in 1992, the nuns allowed us, U.N. volunteers, to set up registration sites in their pagoda for the first "free and fair" election in Cambodia since the era of French colonization, which ended in 1953. Their optimism was rewarded. In May 1993, ninety percent of those who registered cast their votes in the U.N.-sponsored election. Hun Sen, the leader of the Vietnamese-installed government, and Prince Norodom Ranariddh, King Sihanouk's son, would become co-prime ministers. More »
  • Tricycle Community 4 comments

    Swimming in the Infinite Paid Member

    Robert A. F. Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University. A former Tibetan Buddhist monk—the first Westerner ever to be so ordained—he is the cofounder and current director of Tibet House in New York City. For decades he has been a close friend of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a prominent champion of Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetan cause. He has translated classic texts from Tibetan to English and is the author of numerous books, most recently Circling the Sacred Mountain (Bantam, 1999) and Inner Revolution (Penguin, 1999). This interview was conducted at his office at Columbia University. More »
  • 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 »