Tricycle Talks

Tricycle Talks

Conversations with contemporary Buddhist leaders and thinkers... Show More

Episodes

As this episode goes live on May 9, 2020, many of us have been sheltering in place for the past few months, and some of us are experiencing the myriad effects of solitude on the human psyche. tephen Batchelor’s new book, The Art of Solitude, was released in mid-February of this year, right before most of us were forced into isolation due to COVID-19. The book documents his explorations of solitude—and how he learned to live in ease...
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April 14, 2020 48 min
In recent weeks, reporters, activists, and others have drawn parallels between the global pandemic and the climate crisis. It seems early to say, but we can sense that the two problems are more related than we think, as they are both challenges that we all must face together. Despite the fear, panic, and pain that rages on in our world, Joanna Macy says that she’s lucky to be alive in this moment—because when everything starts to u...
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Many in the Buddhist world were shocked at the death of Insight Meditation and yoga teacher Michael Stone in 2017. He was only 42 years old, and few were aware that he had been struggling with bipolar disorder. It was later revealed that he had died from an opioid overdose. His death brought up many questions about the stigmas against mental illness, and the responsibility of teachers to reveal their personal challenges. Here, M...
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January 28, 2020 51 min
Buddhism is not a religion at all––at the same time, it’s the true essence of all religions. And yet it is also compatible with science, or even a “mind science” itself. Do these ideas sound familiar? They’re part of a constellation of claims that scholar Evan Thompson calls “Buddhist exceptionalism,” the idea that Buddhism stands apart from all other religions as uniquely rational. Evan is a professor of philosophy at the Uni...
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December 28, 2019 56 min
Many of us struggle to silence our inner critic on a daily basis. According to meditation teacher Tara Brach, that’s because we are living in a “trance of unworthiness,” and are addicted to self-judgment. Tara is the the founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C., a best-selling author, and a clinical psychologist who has been at the forefront of blending Buddhist meditation and therapeutic methods. She is perh...
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When we begin a Buddhist practice, we often set our sights on lofty spiritual goals. Yet the day-to-day problems we face can be stepping stones to deeper understanding. For Zen monk Haemin Sunim, helping regular people with low self-esteem, feelings of loss, or career failure is an integral part of his monastic duties, and a way to spread the dharma in his home country of South Korea, where Buddhism has been on the decline.  Dubbe...
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So often we succumb to our narratives about the people in our lives without taking a moment to examine what’s really going on, and this mindset leaves us feeling isolated. Koshin Paley Ellison calls this state of existence “zombieland,” and says that the habits that keep us locked in our mental stories—and glued to our devices—are rooted in a deep-seated fear of awkwardness and discomfort. Koshin is a Zen chaplain and teacher and c...
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The Lotus Sutra is one of the most important Buddhist texts, but for the uninitiated reader, it can make little to no sense. Our guests are two of the foremost scholars in Buddhist studies, Donald Lopez, Jr., Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan, and Jacqueline Stone, who recently retired from her position as Professor of Japanese Religions at Princeton Uni...
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Law professor and mindfulness instructor Rhonda Magee says the recent resurgence of overt racism shows that we failed to address its root cause—our own racial biases. Magee is a professor at the University of San Francisco’s School of Law, where she teaches about racial justice and uses mindfulness to help students surface their own prejudices. She has written about her work in a new book, The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing ...
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Writer and longtime Zen student Lawrence Shainberg joins Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss his new book, "Four Men Shaking: Searching for Sanity with Samuel Beckett, Norman Mailer, and My Perfect Zen Teacher." They talk about Shainberg’s struggles as a practitioner and an author and how he brings them together in his new memoir, which recounts his conversations with his literary heroes, Samuel Beckett a...
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July 30, 2019 44 min
Ronald Purser is a professor of management at San Francisco State University and a longtime Buddhist practitioner who popularized the term McMindfulness in a piece he wrote for the Huffington Post in 2013. In it, he argued  that mindfulness practice has been commercialized, and reduced to a mere “self-help technique.” His new book, McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality, offers an argument against the...
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June 29, 2019 47 min
At the age of 36, the Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche sneaked out of his monastery in Bodhgaya, India, in the middle of the night to live as a beggar and traveling yogi. The story of how he left behind his privileged lifestyle for a four-year wandering retreat is told in the new book, In Love With the World: A Monk's Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying, which he co-wrote with his student an...
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In recent years, school mindfulness programs have sprung up across the country, setting off a debate about whether the nominally secular programs derived from religious practices violate laws about the separation of church and state. In her new book, Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools, Indiana University Bloomington religious studies professor Candy Gunther Brown takes a look at the history of the separation of church...
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Acclaimed travel and spirituality writer Pico Iyer has written two new books about his life in Japan, Autumn Light (Penguin, April 2019), and the forthcoming A Beginner’s Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations (Penguin, September 2019). Iyer views the books as complimentary: while Autumn Light describes his experience within the culture, A Beginner’s Guide offers his perspective as an outsider. Since marrying and moving in w...
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On February 19th, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued an executive order designating military zones along the West Coast and laying the groundwork for US authorities to remove citizens of Japanese descent from their homes and imprison them in camps. While it is widely acknowledged that racism was central to this shameful chapter of American history, the role of religious discrimination cannot be overlooked, says schola...
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Acclaimed scholar of religion Elaine Pagels discusses the role of faith today, the practical consequences of religious ideas, and what led her to ask, "Why Religion?" with Tricycle's editor and publisher, James Shaheen. Pagels is the Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion at Princeton University, a MacArthur Fellow, and a best-selling author who won the National Book Award for her groundbreaking 1989 w...
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Feeling burnt out does not make you a failure. That’s the first thing Buddhist teacher and former tech executive Lawrence Levy would want you to know. Burnout, Levy says, is a healthy response when our human needs aren’t being met. As the former Chief Financial Officer of Pixar, Levy knows what it means to have a demanding job. But it was during his many years practicing in the Gelug lineage of Tibetan Buddhism that Levy began to f...
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Women have a lot to be angry about. A history of inequality and violence in the Buddhist world and beyond persists to this day. The question remains: what can we do with that anger? Lama Tsultrim Allione says that we have the ability to transform it into a source of strength and clarity—and that goes for all of us, not just women. Known in good part for her work exploring feminine power in Tibetan Buddhism, she examines the figure ...
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In recent years, ethno-nationalist movements have had an apparent resurgence. What can we do to counter the hateful ideologies that have led to so much harm? Arno Michaelis, an ex-neo-Nazi, and Pardeep Singh Kaleka, whose father was murdered by a white supremacist, say that a combination of lovingkindness (Pali, metta) and relentless optimism (Punjabi, chardi kala) is the only path forward. The pair came together after the 2012 Sik...
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Altruism. Empathy. Integrity. Respect. Engagement. These five psychological states are keys to living a compassionate, courageous life, according to Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, and social activist Roshi Joan Halifax. However, each has the potential to become counter-productive: altruism can become pathological, empathy can prevent you from seeing another’s situation clearly, and engagement can become an endless to-do list. In...
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