insights

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    Sight Seers Paid Member

    “CHRISTIANITY IS THE CHIEF purveyor of tourism, and one travels only to visit churches,” writes Roland Barthes in Mythologies (1957), mocking the narrow-mindedness of the French tourist who sees only the achievements of his own Catholic Church everywhere he goes. Yet if we trace the tourist’s genealogical tree back far enough, we do indeed find the pilgrim. Though few would associate this asceticism with a Club Med holiday, it is in these sacred journeys, old as human culture, that we find anything approaching the scale of contemporary mass tourism. For centuries, some of the greatest regular assemblies of human beings have been those of pilgrims—for Holy Week in Rome, Passover in Jerusalem, Dhu al-Hijjah in Mecca, or the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad. More »
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    Cloudspotting Paid Member

    ALTHOUGH CLOUDSPOTTING is an activity best undertaken with time on your hands, it is something that everyone can enjoy. Clouds are the most egalitarian of nature’s displays, since each one of us has a good view of them, so it really doesn’t matter where you are. A little elevation never goes amiss, of course, but this could as easily be provided by a high-rise as by a mountain range of outstanding natural beauty. More important is the frame of mind you are in while cloudspotting. You are not a trainspotter, so standing on a hill with a notebook and pen poised to tick off the different types will end in disappointment. So will any attempt to write down their serial numbers. More »
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    Riding the Wave Paid Member

    Practicing caring connection, Sylvia Boorstein learns, can bring peace - even under the threat of natural disaster. More »
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    Number One Fool Paid Member

    Taitetsu Unno teaches that Buddhism is the inclusive path of optimism. More »
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    Simply Stop Paid Member

    “As I see it, there isn’t so much to do. Just be ordinary—put on your robes, eat your food, and pass the time doing nothing.” —Master Linji, Teaching 18 IN MASTER LINJI’S TIME, some Buddhist terms were used so often they became meaningless. People chewed on terms like “liberation” and “enlightenment” until they lost their power. It’s no different today. People use words that tire our ears. We hear the words “freedom” and “security” on talk radio, television, and in the newspaper so often that they’ve lost their effectiveness or their meaning has been distorted. When words are overused, even the most beautiful words can lose their true meaning. For example, the word “love” is a wonderful word. When we like to eat hamburger, we say, “I love hamburger.” So what’s left for the meaning of the word “love”? More »