thus have i heard

  • Tricycle Community 17 comments

    The Mindfulness Solution Paid Member

    A lot of concerns have been voiced lately about the possible harmful effects of meditation practice. The pendulum is swinging back against the story that mindfulness is universally beneficial, and researchers are increasingly cautioning us to look honestly at the cases where people have suffered significant psychological stress and even trauma when engaging in rigorous meditation practice. I would like to push back a little against this pushback, arguing that an important distinction is to be made between means and ends. More »
  • Tricycle Community 34 comments

    A Tough But Not Impossible Act to Follow Paid Member

    I believe that awakening is possible in this very lifetime. I know this is one of the ideas we, as modern secular Buddhists, are invited to discard, along with belief in rebirth, heavenly beings, and miraculous powers. I prefer to suspend judgment and remain agnostic regarding the latter three, saying neither “If the Buddha said so, it must be so” nor “It can’t be, therefore it isn’t.” But awakening is another story. I think it can be possible for a person, even a rather ordinary person, to awaken. Furthermore, I think it is a goal to which we can all aspire. More »
  • Tricycle Community 14 comments

    The Mindfulness Wedge Paid Member

    Mindfulness is the thin edge of a wedge that, if inserted deeply enough into our minds, will open them to wisdom. Whether or not this actually happens, however, depends on various causes and conditions. Some say the process is natural and inevitable, that once the practice of mindfulness is taken up its power of transformation is inexorable. This can sound similar to the monkeys-and-typewriters theory, though, and indeed there is usually a footnote in small print invoking countless lifetimes over multiple aeons. Most others acknowledge that mindfulness is a tool whose effectiveness requires such things as right view, diligent practice, long-term retreats, the guidance of a good teacher, a strong ethical base, and a karmic, if not genetic, predisposition for spiritual progress. More »
  • Tricycle Community 19 comments

    Keep It Simple Paid Member

    The human mind has a tendency to make everything it takes up more complicated and elaborate than it needs to be. You may have noticed this. The Buddhists even have a word for it, papanca, which means something like mental proliferation. Meditation moves us in the other direction. It is an attempt to remove, piece by piece, layer by layer, all of the baroque ornamentation with which we embellish our world of constructed experience. Underneath all the drama, the restlessness, the hopes and fears, behind the narratives we weave about ourselves, and even before we’ve thought of ourselves as ourselves, lies a simple, unadorned awareness. It’s not even a thing—just an event that happens, a little burst of knowing, deep in the center of it all. More »
  • Tricycle Community 9 comments

    Pleasure and Pain Paid Member

  • Tricycle Community 4 comments

    This Moment Is Unique Paid Member

    The unique thing about each person’s lived experience is, well, its uniqueness. Because everything is changing all the time, every single thing that happens is new. The entire universe is in a fresh configuration every moment. There may be patterns that repeat, but no two sets of phenomena are exactly the same, ever. More »