Is Buddhism Scientific or Religious?

Monk Mathieu Ricard prepares for an MRI at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on June 4, 2008 under the supervision of technician Michael Anderle (left) and principal investigators Richard J. Davidson (center) and Antoine Lutz (right). | Photo by Jeff Miller ©UW-Madison University Communications A Buddhist scholar examines the assertion that Buddhism is more like a science of the mind than a religion. By John Dunne The following article is excerpted from one of the final talks in our upcoming online course, Buddhism for Beginners, which starts on January 14. John Dunne, a Buddhist scholar and practitioner, introduces the origins, teachings, and … Continue reading Is Buddhism Scientific or Religious?

Ten to Zen by Owen O’Kane – digested read

image edited by F. Kaskais  Illustration: Matthew Blease for the Guardian ‘Slow down your thinking. Feel the serenity that comes from finding out you are the bore you’ve always thought’ by John Crace Hi. It’s me, Owen, and I want you to know that I’m here for you. Thank you for picking up my book. It means a lot that you have chosen to put your trust in me. I’m guessing that, since you have managed to read this far, you are probably feeling something has been missing from your life. That something has been me. With my workout you … Continue reading Ten to Zen by Owen O’Kane – digested read

Is Virtual Reality Getting Too Real?

An attendee tries out a virtual reality program during a panel discussion in Boulder, Colorado. | Photo by Dana Ming As VR technology takes the world by storm, two Buddhist teachers and a cognitive neuroscientist debate its spiritual potential and shortcomings. A conversation with Andrew Holecek, Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, and Jordan Quaglia, edited by Julia Hirsch Tech moguls and gamers aren’t the only ones plugging into artificial virtual worlds these days. VR programs have helped treat phobias and PTSD, NASA scientists to envision life on Mars, and elementary schoolers to engage with science and history lessons. VR has also taken up shop in contemplative … Continue reading Is Virtual Reality Getting Too Real?


by The Dalai Lama, Guest Waking Times One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about it consciously or not: What is the purpose of life? I have considered this question and would like to share my thoughts in the hope that they may be of direct, practical benefit to those who read them. I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affect this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. I … Continue reading DALAI LAMA: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LIFE?

Slowing Down to Connect with Others

Photo by Grace Lin | Chan Master Sheng Yen explains how our hectic modern lives prevent us from helping ourselves and those around us. By Master Sheng-Yen Sheng Yen was a Chinese-born Chan Buddhist Master and founder of Taiwan’s Institute of Chung-Hwa Buddhist Studies andDharma Drum Mountain. The following passage is excerpted from a 1990 talk at Sha Tin Town Hall in Hong Kong. While there, Sheng Yen spoke on achieving the ideal state of a human being through practice, and how far from that most of us are. What are the states of body and mind of today’s people? First of … Continue reading Slowing Down to Connect with Others

Not Alone During the Holidays

Photo by Johannes Roth | Buddhist teachings about how we’re all connected can be hard to access during an isolating winter season. One writer explains how she rediscovered her holiday cheer. By Lauren Krauze In Nicole Krauss’s 2005 novel The History of Love, the elderly protagonist Leo Gursky is struggling with loneliness. “I try to make a big point of being seen,” he says. “Sometimes when I’m out, I’ll buy a juice even though I’m not thirsty. If the store is crowded I’ll even go so far as dropping my change all over the floor, the nickels and dimes skidding in every … Continue reading Not Alone During the Holidays

Seeing God in What Is

Photo by Imre Tomosvari | Zen priest Norman Fischer explains how his concept of the Jewish God informs his Buddhist practice. By Susan Moon Once a month, Tricycle features an article from the Inquiring Mind archive. Inquiring Mind, a Buddhist journal that was in print from 1984–2015, has a growing number of articles from its back issues available at In this holiday season when many Westerners who practice Buddhism also celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah—some returning for services at the churches and temples of their childhoods—we present a Buddhist’s reflections on God. This month’s selection, “God is a Three Letter Word: Interview with Norman … Continue reading Seeing God in What Is