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  • Tricycle Community 6 comments

    The Right to Ask Questions Paid Member

    The practice of the dharma is learning how to live, and this is both hard and joyful work. Practice makes extraordinary demands of us. It requires that we take nothing for granted, that we accept nothing on faith alone. If we practice with diligence and honesty, then we must question everything about ourselves; we must challenge our most basic beliefs and convictions, even those we may have about the dharma itself. Of all the teachings of the Buddha, the Kalama Sutta is one of my favorites precisely because it encourages such rigorous inquiry into our beliefs. Indeed, if Buddhism were not infused with the spirit of this sutta—a spirit of questioning, of critical examination—I’m quite sure I would not have a meditative practice today. More »
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    Dust of Snow: Awakening to Conversation Paid Member

    We were walking in the winter woods with the tracker Sue Morse. Our eyes were fixed on the ground as we searched for more of the bobcat prints we had just traced around the base of a cliff. When Sue called to us, we figured she must have picked up the trail. But instead, when our small group had gathered around her, she pulled back the bough of an overhanging hemlock and released it over our heads like a plucked bowstring. We looked up, startled, as the snow that had been packed on the branch swirled around our warm cheeks and spangled against the sky. As we stood there, transfixed, she recited Robert Frost’s short poem “Dust of Snow”: The way a crow Shook down on meThe dust of snow From a hemlock tree More »
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    A New Place, A New Time Paid Member

    Tricycle: When your father died in 1987 there were two wings of his community: the Vajradhatu—or Buddhist path, and the Shambhala Training path. What is the difference between Shambhala Training and Buddhism, and why did you bring them together? More »
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    Haiku Mind Paid Member

    What relationship have you discovered between haiku and meditation? A certain kind of hokum accompanies much of haiku today. People imagine it to be something other than it is in spiritual terms. But haiku is very, very simple. In the same way that you make yourself very simple by following the breath. You clear your mind, let go of everything else. In the same way, writing haiku takes you right to the heart of the moment. That’s the Zen of haiku, really. Being able to let go of everything and enter into this space. Haiku is seventeen syllables long, so it seems very small. More »
  • Tricycle Community 11 comments

    Return to Your Original State! Paid Member

    Teachers of Zen have a favorite saying, “Return to your original state!” To return to the original state means, in a word, “Go back home!” “Original state” signifies “original state of mind.” What is this original state of mind? Buddha spoke of the original state of mind, calling it avidya - original darkness. Of course Buddha did not say, “Return to your original darkness!” He said, “Emancipate yourself from original darkness! Come forth from original darkness to the enlightened state!” And he taught that this emancipation was to be attained by attaining Nirvana. More »
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    The Bhikkhu Diet Paid Member

    “Theravada monks eat only one meal a day . . .” That was how it started. A friend I’d known for several years (albeit only by phone) was coming to stay for five days. Of course I knew he was a Theravada Buddhist monk. It wasn’t the basis for our friendship, but I knew it. And so I couldn’t quite grasp the insistence of the woman speaking to me on the phone. “You know it,” she said. “But you don’t understand it. That means that he will eat three meals at one sitting—no kidding! So really pile it on.” “For real?” I inquired. “What’s the use in that?” “He can explain that for himself,” she answered, a bit peremptorily, I thought. It was true. Although slim for his build, the bhikkhu could eat like nobody I’d ever seen. I come from the South, from the land of all-you-can-eat barbecue restaurants, and so I know what it looks like to watch someone tuck away half a cow at a single sitting. The bhikkhu left them in the dust. More »