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    Cave With a View Paid Member

    I sit in a pink plastic lawn chair in front of my borrowed meditation cave. The afternoon is perfect, a warm cedar-scented breeze sighing through the branches of the deodar cedars on the hill. Tiny birds chirp in the underbrush. My rosary drops onto my lap, my mantra recitation slurs to a halt. Past my bare toes is a gulf of bluish, haze-softened air. Far below, the sacred lake glints like dull-green jade. The high Himalayas are visible today, low and pale across the horizon. I’ve wanted to meditate in a cave ever since reading those first hyperbolic yoga books as a teenager. But I thought I’d be eating weeds, fighting off leopards and even a demon or two. Privation and loneliness would be the whole enlightening deal. I’d end up luminous and scrawny, wearing nothing but a diaper. More »
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    A Very Practical Joke Paid Member

    We are going to examine the different conclusions of Zen and Tantra. If we begin to discuss the two approaches, we will be lost. If we take a glimpse at the conclusions, we might have something more concrete. The reason is that all of us are more or less thoroughly involved in, or at least interested in, the practice of meditation. More »
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    The Ties that Unbind Paid Member

    Imagine what would happen if you took six lengths of rope and tied one end of each to six creatures: a snake, a crocodile, a bird, a dog, a jackal, and a monkey. Then tie the other end of all these into a big knot and let go. What do you think would happen? Each of these animals would pull in a different direction, trying to return to their favorite haunts. The snake would slither toward its nest in the anthill, the crocodile would pull for the river, the bird would fly up into the air, the dog would head to the village, the jackal to the charnel ground, and the monkey would scamper for the trees. Can you picture such a scene? More »
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    Bad Reputation Paid Member

    See the equality of praise and blame, approval and disapproval, good and bad reputation, For they are just like illusions or dreams and have no true existence. THIS VERSE REFERS to the Eight Worldly Concerns: wanting to be praised and not wanting to be criticized, wanting happiness and not wanting suffering, wanting gain and not wanting loss, and wanting fame and approval and not wanting rejection and disgrace. We all experience these, don't we? Even animals probably have them in some slight measure. More »
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    Fragile Bonds Paid Member

    Satellite images of the Palk Strait, which separates the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu from the Jaffna peninsula in northern Sri Lanka, show a ghostly line linking the two. Below the water's surface is a ridge of limestone that once formed an isthmus joining the landmasses. It is an apt image for the complex yet buried connections between the two provinces. More »
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    Trust Through Reason Paid Member

    Born in Nepal in 1975, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is the youngest son of the eminent meditation master Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and received the same kind of rigorous training associated with previous generations of Tibetan adepts. In his new book, The Joy of Living (Harmony Books), Mingyur Rinpoche recounts how he used meditation to outgrow a childhood beset by fears and extreme panic attacks. From a very young age, he also displayed a keen interest in science; he has pursued this curiosity and how it relates to Buddhist teachings on the nature of mind through countless conversations with neurologists, physicists, and psychologists. In 2002, he participated in experiments at the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior in Wisconsin, to investigate whether long-term meditation practice enhances the brain's capacity for positive emotions. More »