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    Kapilavastu: A Tale of Two (Competing) Cities Paid Member

    We know where the Buddha was born, where he became enlightened, and where he died. We can even say where he gave his first sermon. But no one can say for sure where he spent his childhood, or where he married and fathered a child, for the precise location of Kapilavastu—the city-state his father governed as leader of the Shakya clan—remains a mystery. More »
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    Tantric Art: Then And Now Paid Member

    For over a thousand years, Tibetan society steadily absorbed the artistic and cultural influences of neighboring lands, developing a unique artistic tradition that flourished until the Chinese invasion in 1959. Between the eighth and twelfth centuries, Tibet became the direct inheritor of the various Vajrayana traditions of India, which represented the ultimate flowering of Indian Buddhist culture. From its southern neighbors, Tibet took on the ancient artistic traditions of the Pala dynasty of eastern India and the ingenious skills of the Newar craftsmen of Nepal’s Kathmandu valley. From the west and north Tibet was exposed to the styles of Kashmir, Khotan, and central Asia, while from the east came the stylistic influences of Chinese art. More »
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    This Fathom-Long Carcass Paid Member

    Thus have I heard:The end of the world can neverBe reached by walking. However,Without having reached the world’s endThere is no release from suffering.I declare that it is in this fathom—long carcass, with its perceptionsand thoughts, that there is the world, theorigin of the world, the cessation of theworld, and the path leading to the cessation of the world.(Anguttara Nikaya 4:45) This radical statement, attributed to the Buddha in the Pali canon, constitutes no less than a Copernican revolution in thought, with far-reaching consequences for our understanding of the human condition. It redefines “the world” in a way that flies in the face of both the scientific and the religious traditions of the West, but is remarkably well suited to the postmodern views emerging along the cutting edges of the new cognitive and neurological sciences. More »
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    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 »
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    Mind is Shapely, Art is Shapely Paid Member

    GARY SNYDER asked his teacher Oda Sesso Roshi, "Sometimes I write poetry, is that all right?" Oda laughed and said, "It's all right as long as it comes out of your true self." He also said, "You know, poets have to play a lot, asobi." The word asobi has the implication of wandering the bars and pleasure quarters. For a few years while doing Zen practice around Kyoto, Snyder quit writing poetry. It didn't bother him. His thought was, Zen is serious, poetry is not serious. In 1966, just before Oda Roshi died, he spoke with him in the hospital. He said, "Roshi! So it's Zen is serious, poetry is not serious." Oda replied "No, no, poetry is serious! Zen is not serious." More »
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    Warrior Mind Paid Member

    TWENTY YEARS AGO, I didn't worry about my physical safety. I hitchhiked, camped out, walked alone at night, with a young person's imprudence. This unconcern gave way inexorably, first to a growing caution, and then to genuine anxiety and fear. In the last few years I felt myself to be in a strange state of paralysis. My fear of physical harm, of being a victim of violence, had come to affect my behavior many times a day, limiting where I went and at what times. I felt, like most women, resigned. I was always, however unconsciously, imagining and preparing for the assault any newspaper told me to expect. I resented this feeling, which seemed to have such gravity, pulling me down, forcing me to see the world through narrowed eyes, but I also felt helpless to change it. More »