After the Monastery

Bhikshu Heng Ju on his 1973–1974 bowing pilgrimage for world peace. A reconciliation story By Bhikshu Heng Ju (Tim Tetsu) I knew my dad had been writing a lot. He would wake up early every morning, make a hot breakfast, walk the dog, meditate for an hour, write for an hour. Then he would wake me up and report his activities, suggesting that I too should get up and do something vigorous, worthy, contemplative. He would also have a hot breakfast waiting for me. That’s the kind of father he was—he showed his love rather than talked about it. After he … Continue reading After the Monastery

The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Jeremy Bishop | Some charismatic leaders take advantage of Western misconceptions rather than correct them, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher from the UK argues. By Lama Jampa Thaye In today’s Western society, where the dominant cultural systems are failing to provide explanations for life’s philosophical questions, a space has opened up that Buddhism is uniquely suited to address. It is crucial, however, that the temptation to assimilate Buddhism to the ruling ideologies of our age—scientism, ideological fanaticism, and a ruthless self-absorption masquerading as spirituality—be resisted. Such temptations lead to what we might term “fake Buddhism.” Though this has many features, perhaps … Continue reading The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Negative capability

‘To understand and resist social conditioning and institutional constraints.’ Youths clashing with riot police during a May Day rally against planned labour reforms. Paris, France 2016. Photo by Lorenzo Meloni/Magnum Forget memory. Kill desire. Open up in the moment to unleash creativity, intuition, and even political transformation Paul Tritschler teaches psychology at Lowestoft Sixth Form College in Suffolk, UK, and his writing has appeared on sites such as AlterNet, CounterPunch and openDemocracy. Edited by Pam Weintraub Pablo Picasso was in his late 20s when he learned to paint like the Old Masters, but it took 30 years more to learn to paint like a child. His journey … Continue reading Negative capability

Exploring What Is

Photo by Chris Roe | Buddhism advises us to accept everything in our experience, pleasant and unpleasant, as our own. One practitioner on using the Buddha’s first teachings as a lodestar during the frightening uncertainty of aging. By Douglas Penick I It becomes clear, as we move into old age, that the world is moving away from us. It is no longer possible for us to leap into the world, as children do, and try to seize it. It is no longer for us to work at forming ourselves, to find how to join the world, to embrace it. This … Continue reading Exploring What Is

The Subjugation of Evil

Fudo Myoo, a wrathful subduer of evil forces in the esoteric Japanese pantheon | David Coleman / Alamy Stock Photo In the esoteric Japanese tradition, subduing the external evils of the world as well as the inner evils of one’s own mind is a central element of practice. A scholar explains why we shouldn’t dismiss it so quickly. By Eric Swanson In the Summer 2005 issue of Tricycle, the eminent scholar of religion Elaine Pagels spoke of how historical study can enrich spiritual life in the present: “Historical study should have the effect of making what is very familiar look different or even in … Continue reading The Subjugation of Evil

Why Trees Are The Ultimate Meditation Teachers

Photo by Eric Parks | In Buddhism, trees have long been recognized as living things worthy of recognition and protection. By Lauren Krauze Last April, my morning meditation was interrupted by the sounds of whirring chainsaws and clamoring trucks. When I stepped to the window, I noticed three men from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation standing around a large oak tree on the sidewalk in front of my apartment. At first, I thought they were trimming the branches. As I watched them saw off larger and larger sections, I realized they were cutting down the entire tree. … Continue reading Why Trees Are The Ultimate Meditation Teachers

The Russian Plot to Control Your Mindfulness

Posts by the Kremlin-run Facebook page Mindful Being What a faux-spiritual Facebook page run by Kremlin propagandists can teach us about encountering our own biases and emotional reactions. By Bodhipaksa Most people are aware of the Kremlin’s attempts to influence voters in the US and Europe, but the fact that one of the avenues for this influence was mindfulness may come as a surprise. Among Russia’s many fake social media accounts was a Facebook page called “Mindful Being,” which cleverly mixed legitimate spiritual teachings with material intended to make us more receptive to authoritarianism. Russian operatives deciding that mindfulness, a way … Continue reading The Russian Plot to Control Your Mindfulness