on practice

  • Tricycle Community 7 comments

    Worry Beads Paid Member

    TAKE UP A BUDDHIST MALA, and right away you notice how good it feels in your hands. The same is true of the prayer beads of any religious tradition. First, there is the soothing feel of the beads themselves, which only increases as they become smoother or darken with use. Then there is what they symbolize—the tangible link to an age-old tradition. Run a string of prayer beads through your hands and you are touching an ancient practice. Yours are only the most recent set of fingers to caress such beads, and others will take them up later, after you are gone. More »
  • Tricycle Community 9 comments

    Touching Enlightenment Paid Member

    DURING MY OWN PRACTICE and teaching of meditation over the past thirty-five years, many things have surprised me, but none more than the growing and somewhat anguished realization that simply practicing meditation doesn’t necessarily yield results. Many of us, when we first encountered Buddhism, found its invitation to freedom and realization through meditation extraordinarily compelling. We jumped in with a lot of enthusiasm, rearranged life priorities around our meditation, and put much time and energy into the practice. More »
  • Tricycle Community 2 comments

    Calm Abiding Paid Member

    There are many methods for creating a mind that is one-pointed and joyful, the most important of which is meditation. The Buddhist tradition offers a multitude of diverse meditations. It is said the Buddha taught eighty-four thousand gates of samadhi [one-pointed concentration]. We first meditate on calm abiding [shamatha], as it is indispensable and easiest for those who are beginning to practice. More »
  • Tricycle Community 0 comments

    Place of Practice: Advice from the Masters Paid Member

    The Grass MatShakyamuni Buddha's Diamond ThroneNow, very late that afternoon, just as the rays of the westering sun gilded the trees with a prodigal burst of glowing color, Gautama rose up like a lion bestirring himself and set out on the way back to his forest hermitage. And there, on the road which the wind had paved with fragrant flowers, the Bodhisattva met a grasscutter by the name of Svastika, And when Svastika saw the Great Being, he gave him eight handfuls of the sweet-scented grass he was carrying. The Bodhisattva took the grass, intending to make with it a seat for sitting in deep meditation. More »
  • Tricycle Community 14 comments

    Attention Means Attention Paid Member

    THERE'S AN OLD ZEN STORY: a student said to Master Ichu, "Please write for me something of great wisdom." Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote one word: "Attention." The student said, "Is that all?" The master wrote, "Attention. Attention." The student became irritable. "That doesn't seem profound or subtle to me." In response, Master Ichu wrote simply, "Attention. Attention. Attention." In frustration, the student demanded, "What does this word 'attention' mean?" Master Ichu replied, "Attention means attention." For "attention" we could substitute the word "awareness." Attention or awareness is the secret of life and the heart of practice. Like the student in the story, we find such a teaching disappointing; it seems dry and uninteresting. We want something exciting in our practice! Simple attention is boring: we ask, is that all there is to practice? More »
  • Tricycle Community 0 comments

    Spaces in the Sky Paid Member

    In July 1972, I climbed a narrow passageway in a sandstone cliffside and emerged to stand on the head of a 180-foot-tall Buddha in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Twenty-nine years later, in July 2001, I stayed on the fourteenth floor of the Marriott Hotel between the twin towers of Manhattan’s World Trade Center as a participant in Tricycle’s tenth-anniversary conference, “Buddhism: Does It Make a Difference?” In March Taliban forces had shelled the Bamiyan statue and reduced it to rubble; in September, suicide bombers brought down the twin towers and in so doing reduced the Marriott to rubble. Places where I and others had once stood, whether admiring the gentle Afghan countryside or the urban grandeur of New York, were now just spaces in the sky. More »