This is the first time I've needed three Tricycles: one to underline and use for daily practice, one to keep intact for my library, and the last to undo for beautiful portraits and art work for meditation. (Your premier edition cover picture of the Dalai Lama sits on my shrine.)
My experience is this: The clear and compassionate portrayals of the shadow aspect of master-student relationship heal by the very acknowledgement and recognition of the complex nature of the powerful and potentially liberating partnership. It sparks dialogue that awakens and releases.
Bless you for your caring and impeccable communication.
DOMINIE ANNE CAPPADONNA
DO THE RIGHT THING
I was appalled when I received my first copy of Tricycle last week (Vol 1, #2). Your choice of cover art for this issue was terribly unappealing. The voyeurism implied in the crude drawing compounded my feeling of bewilderment. I searched in vain to find some justification or connection within the issue for such an unappealing reproduction of juvenile pornography. I think that you have made a terrible mistake. I did not subscribe to your publication to view unsophisticated representations of persons interrupted during a sexual act. I cannot pass the magazine on to friend or stranger when such an inappropriate and unsavory drawing is the first thing to be noticed. Buddhist art has a long and varied history. If you want to decorate the cover of your magazine with something that will "catch the eye," look to Buddhist art. You'll find intriguing and arresting images, and you'll be doing the right thing as well.
Bloomfield, New Jersey
I love your magazine! The warmth, the wit, the depth, the design, the searing commitment to viveka! I am a long-term student of yoga and its philosophical systems. Reading Tricycle though, I wonder if I might apply for honorary citizenship in the American Buddhist community!!! I am proud to be a charter subscriber and wish Tricycle and its creative team a long and joyous life.
Washington Depot, Connecticut
ATTACHED IN THE DHARMA
Buddhism is supposed to diminish our attachments, but your new magazine has (happily) given me one more. The Winter 1991 issue is my first acquaintance with Tricycle; how strange, then, that it already seems an old friend. Everything about it seems so right, so in place! As a Buddhist who has been out of touch with the Buddhist scene (but not with the dharma) for two decades, it was like a homecoming: so many of the names were familiar to me, and some I have known personally. Once more I feel part of the sangha.
Niteroi, RJ, Brazil
Robert Aitken's brief discussion of the term suffering is very helpful. I have long been puzzled by the teaching that suffering is something we can overcome. Suffering seems too intrinsic to humanness to be dispensed with entirely. Aitken proposes the word anguish instead of suffering; in my view, a more appropriate word would be fear. It is fear that comprises the alchemy whereby suffering and anguish both become agents of transformation and growth. "Perfect faith casts out all fear," said Saint Paul. I think he was talking about enlightenment. Another alternative worth considering is oppression, understood as a state in which the soul, or mind, is gripped by fear. (Sound familiar?)
M. AMOS CLIFFORD
Regarding Robert Aitken's discussion of dukkha, "anguish" certainly seems preferable to suffering. Anguish has a hearty, human feel. Personally, I prefer to place impermanence at the center of Buddhism. I believe it is unfortunate that so many texts introduce Buddhism with "life is suffering." No wonder it is often branded as pessimistic.
Morgantown, West Virginia
In reply to Robert Aitken's discussion of the word dukkha and its translation: The most interesting etymology of this word that I have encountered is from an essay, "Living with Dukkha," by Mokusen Miyuki (Buddhism and Jungian Psychology, Falcon Press, 1985). Miyuki refers to the Sanskrit roots of the word. "Etymologically dukkha is composed of the prefix jur ('bad') and the root kha ('the hole in the nave of a wheel through which the axis runs')." Miyuki goes on from this to suggest "dis-ease" as a better translation. I don't think "dis-ease" quite hits the mark either. Being a potter, and therefore intimate with wheels and axes, I would prefer the term "uncenteredness" or off-center. What is striking about the etymology is that the axle-space referred to by the root kha is directly related to the notion of emptiness, silence, no-self—the very core of the matter is a space around which life spins, and dukkha implies a bad relationship to that core. We sit in order to settle, again and again, into a centered spinning around the empty axis-space.
BARBARA A. MILES
Middletown Springs, Vermont
HOT HAND FOLLOW-THROUGH
Concerning Lee De Barros's letter in response to Larry Shainberg's "Hot Hand Sutra": some years ago I tried to adapt the approach described in Zen and the Art of Archery to shooting basketballs. Instead of focusing on the basket and trying to make the balls go through it, I concentrated on the way my hand felt on the ball and on the way my body felt during the act of shooting and following-through. I kept my eyes open but gave no more attention to the hoop than to anything else in the visual field. After a while, it seemed to me I was shooting much better. But I haven't pursued this systematically, so who knows?
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Artwork by: Michael Hurson.