Wisdom Collection

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    Roundtable: Through Good Times and Bad Paid Member

    Over thirty years ago, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, and Jack Kornfield returned from South Asia to American shores bringing the ancient Buddhist meditation technique that was to become one of the most popular contemplative practices in the country. The first Western students of some of the most renowned Theravada teachers of their lifetime—Munindra-ji, Dipa Ma, Ajaan Chah, and others—Salzberg, Goldstein, and Kornfield separately, but almost simultaneously, learned the meditative practices of Vipassana, often translated as “insight meditation” or colloquially as “mindfulness practice.” Returning to America, they met in 1974 at the first session of Naropa Institute, catching the great wave of interest of a generation hungry for spiritual guidance. Although there were many who wanted to practice, institutions to support this rigorous mind-training practice, with its emphasis on residential retreats, were nonexistent. More »
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    An Investigation of the Mind Paid Member

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    Consider Yourself a Tourist Paid Member

    Within less than fifty years, I, Tenzin Gyatso, the Buddhist monk, will be no more than a memory. Indeed, it is doubtful whether a single person reading these words will be alive a century from now. Time passes unhindered. When we make mistakes, we cannot turn the clock back and try again. All we can do is use the present well. Therefore, if when our final day comes we are able to look back and see that we have lived full, productive, and meaningful lives, that will at least be of some comfort. If we cannot, we may be very sad. But which of these we experience is up to us. More »
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    Full Body, Empty Mind Paid Member

    In many Buddhist groups, the body is addressed only in basic instructions on posture for meditation, sometimes lasting no more than a few minutes. Many practitioners are drawn to body-based practices such as yoga, martial arts, or the Alexander technique to complement or even enable their sitting practice, but they are often on their own when it comes to integrating these traditions with their larger spiritual path. What is being lost in this gap? One of the most convincing voices for the importance of the body in meditation belongs to Will Johnson, author of several books on the topic, including The Posture of Meditation; Aligned, Relaxed, and Resilient; and Yoga of the Mahamudra. More »
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    First There Is a Mountain (Then There Is No Mountain) Paid Member

    Mount Meru with Mandala, Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), silk tapestry, 33x33 inches. In this Chinese tapestry, Mount Meru appears with a moon and red sun marking the vertical midpoint of the mountain. The funnel-like shape symbolizes the increasingly large realms above the Heaven of the Thirty-Three Gods. A mandala with eight lotus petals is placed in the center of the highest realm, Akanishta Paradise. More »
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    Does Race Matter in the Meditation Hall? Paid Member

    In late spring, Tricycle contributing editor Tracy Cochran met with Vipassana teacher Gina Sharpe for a frank discussion on race and the dharma. Sharpe is co-leader of the People of Color retreat, a semi-annual gathering that has drawn plenty of attention—and some criticism—since it first appeared in retreat catalogs in 2003. Sharpe, who serves on the boards of Insight Meditation Society, in Barre, Massachusetts, and New York Insight, in New York City, was interviewed at her home in northern Westchester County, New York. More »