Some Reflections on Human Life: “Nothing Short of a Miracle”

Though our lifetimes are fleeting on a cosmic scale, we experience them as long and adventurous. Focus on this and you will be naturally motivated to make the most of life. By Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa KarmapaMAY 16, 2022 These leisures and endowments, which are so difficult to obtain, have been acquired, and they bring about the welfare of all. If one fails to take this favorable opportunity into consideration, how could this occasion occur again? Just as lightning illuminates the darkness of a cloudy night for an instant, in the same way, by the power of the … Continue reading Some Reflections on Human Life: “Nothing Short of a Miracle”

Zen Is Not a Democracy

Brad Warner discusses ethics, Zen, and his new book The Other Side of Nothing Interview with  Brad Warner by Tricycle Brad Warner has been a notable figure in Zen in the West since the publication of his first book, Hardcore Zen, in 2003. His blog of the same title was a prominent landmark in online Buddhist discourse as Buddhist communities ventured online two decades ago. Warner is a bass guitarist in a punk band, and his teaching style often has an irreverent exterior.  On the cover of his new book, The Other Side of Nothing (New World Library, May 2022) the Buddha sports a spiky blue … Continue reading Zen Is Not a Democracy

Making Our Own Jewels

A writer and practitioner reflects on her terminal illness. By Teri Dillion Out of nowhere and interrupting an otherwise beautiful May morning, I just so happened to hit the jackpot of drama, the grand slam of misfortune, a condition I’d soon learn is sometimes spoken of in medical circles as “the worst possible thing.” I was slapped with three uppercase initials—ALS—that signified I was now victim to a rare, quickly debilitating neurological disease. It was the kind of disease which results in total paralysis—including the loss of one’s voice and an assured countdown to respiratory failure—within a few years for nearly … Continue reading Making Our Own Jewels

Sex and Gender Fluidity in Tibetan Buddhism

A Tibetan scholar’s dream uniquely presents sex changes without judgement—neither as as biological fact nor pedagogical tool, but as an expression of intimacy with another person. By Alexander Gardner The Sources of Buddhist Traditions is a monthly column from three of the major digital resources for Buddhist research, texts, and translation: Buddhist Digital Resource Center, The Treasury of Lives, and 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. Focusing on stories, texts, translation, and teachers, the series will illuminate aspects of Buddhist practice, thought, and tradition. Buddhists have been switching genders for hundreds of years, either temporarily, permanently, or in dreams and visions. They do … Continue reading Sex and Gender Fluidity in Tibetan Buddhism

The Couch and the Cushion: Why Mindfulness Is No Substitute for Therapy

Meditation may promote well-being and insight, but it isn’t a cure for psychological problems. By Rande Brown In her 2010 book Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism, psychotherapist Pilar Jennings notes, “It is very possible to have a deep and rich spiritual life that reaps all manner of spiritual rewards while core psychological patterns and struggles remain untouched.” Without a doubt, mindfulness is a helpful tool, but nothing can replace the healing power of a relationship with a well-trained and dedicated listener. In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in spiritually based mindfulness meditation practices, and Jennings … Continue reading The Couch and the Cushion: Why Mindfulness Is No Substitute for Therapy

The Buddha on Poverty and Plutocracy

In a recent dharma talk, David Loy emphasizes the economic roots of the climate crisis and calls for structural, not just individual, change. By David Loy “Why is it that we as a civilization are finding it so difficult to respond appropriately to the greatest challenge that humanity has ever faced?” professor, writer, and Zen teacher David Loy asks in a recent dharma talk titled “What Is Engaged Buddhism Missing?” The reality, Loy says, is that “the ecological crisis is deeply implicated in the basic structure of our economic system. . . In other words, the eco-crisis is also an economic—especially … Continue reading The Buddha on Poverty and Plutocracy

The Bare Bones of Your Being

Try a “skeletal scan” meditation to help cultivate a new awareness of your body. By Wes Nisker The neck bone’s connected to the head bone, the head bone’s connected to the angel bone, the angel bone’s connected to the god bone. . .             — Jack Kerouac  Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my bones; even focusing mindfulness and meditating on them. This is one part of a general study I have undertaken to try to understand what we inherit from biological evolution and how that knowledge can inform our practice of dharma. The best way to explain this work is to offer … Continue reading The Bare Bones of Your Being

The way of dharma

How do ancient stories of talking elephants and singing birds encourage a life of truth, nonviolence and compassion? Keerthik Sasidharan is a writer whose work has appeared in The Hindu, The Caravan and other publications. He is the author of The Dharma Forest (2019). He lives in New York. As a child, for every summer vacation, my parents took me to Kerala in southern India to spend three months with my aunt in her large family-estate. It was an age before televisions were widely available and therefore at night-time she told us stories from the vast oeuvre of Indian mythologies called the ‘puranas’. These … Continue reading The way of dharma

A Zen Priest in Ukraine Says He Needs to Connect with His Sangha Now More Than Ever

Meet Kaidō Washin Tsarenko, a Zen priest in Odessa, Ukraine By Jundo Cohen Iwould like to ask for metta or sitting for our Treeleaf sangha priest, Kaidō Washin, in Odessa, Ukraine. He continues to tend to the members of his local sangha under very difficult conditions. Right now, his community is connected by internet, which is still available, and Washin is somehow also finding time to join our Treeleaf activities online. In fact, he is scheduled to lead a zazenkai on Sunday, March 6, via Zoom (information below).  He wrote to me this week, concerned that he might not be able to lead his group meditation.  … Continue reading A Zen Priest in Ukraine Says He Needs to Connect with His Sangha Now More Than Ever

Identity and Selflessness in Buddhism: No Self or True Self?

Examining Buddhist notions of identity and selflessness By Jack Kornfield Spiritual practice inevitably brings us face to face with the profound mystery of our own identity. We have taken birth in a human body. What is this force that gives us life, that brings us and the world into form? The world’s great spiritual teachings tell us over and over we are not who we think we are. But does that mean there is no self or a search for true self? Persian mystics say we are sparks of the divine, and Christian mystics say we are filled with God. We … Continue reading Identity and Selflessness in Buddhism: No Self or True Self?