Tricycle Talks

Tricycle Talks

Tricycle Talks: Listen to Buddhist teachers, writers, and thinkers on life's big questions. Hosted by James Shaheen, editor in chief of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, the leading Buddhist magazine in the West. Life As It Is: Join James Shaheen with co-host Sharon Salzberg and learn how to bring Buddhist practice into your everyday life. Tricycle: The Buddhist Review creates award-winning editorial, podcasts, events, and video courses. Unlock access to all this Buddhist knowledge by subscribing to the magazine at tricycle.org/join

Episodes

November 23, 2022 51 min
Over the course of the past few years, many of us have found ourselves dealing with loss. Yet our contemporary culture often doesn’t allow us the space we need to grieve. Meditation teacher Kimberly Brown believes that mourning takes time, and she works as a grief counselor to support people through difficult and complicated losses. In her new book, "Navigating Grief and Loss: 25 Buddhist Practices to Keep Your Heart Open to Yo...
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When poet Ben Okri was just seven years old, he and his family moved back to Nigeria on the eve of civil war. Ever since, he has been fascinated by what he calls “cusp moments,” the periods just before catastrophe strikes. His new novel, "The Last Gift of the Master Artists," takes place in an African society just before the Atlantic slave trade. In the book, he sets out to examine the spirit of a culture on the eve of its ...
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For twenty years, Valerie Brown worked as a lawyer lobbyist, persuading politicians on Capitol Hill. But after a chance encounter with the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, she began searching for a deeper sense of meaning and purpose. Eventually, she quit her job and became ordained as a dharma teacher in the Plum Village tradition. In her new book, "Hope Leans Forward: Braving Your Way toward Simplicity, Awakening, and Peace,"...
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When Koshin Paley Ellison was just eight years old, he already knew that he wanted to become a Zen Buddhist monk. He began practicing meditation after a karate teacher insisted that he could never be free until he could be still with his pain. Now, Ellison serves as a Zen teacher, chaplaincy educator, and cofounder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, and in these roles, he helps others learn to be still with their pa...
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It can be so tempting to be pessimistic about our present moment. But poet Diego Perez believes that we live in an unprecedented time of global healing. Perez publishes his poems using the pen name Yung Pueblo, or “young people,” because he believes that humanity as a whole is still young and has a lot of maturing to do. In his new book, "Lighter: Let Go of the Past, Connect with the Present, and Expand the Future," Perez s...
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There are lots of reasons to be angry right now. It’s often said that if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. But according to scholar Allison Aitken, anger only leads to further harm, no matter how justified it may feel in the moment. As a professor of philosophy, Aitken believes that Buddhist texts offer valuable resources for working with our anger and healing contemporary divisions. Drawing from the work of the eig...
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Catherine Burns is a firm believer in the power of stories. For the past 20 years, she has served as the artistic director at The Moth, a nonprofit dedicated to the art of storytelling. In this role, she has helped hundreds of people craft their stories, including a New York City sanitation worker, a Nobel Laureate, a jaguar tracker, and an exonerated prisoner. For Burns, listening to stories can be a way of cultivating empathy and...
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A few days before the eminent scholar Lance Cousins passed away in 2015, he revealed to one of his students, Sarah Shaw, that he had been working on a book on Buddhist meditation. After his death, with the permission of his family, Shaw found the manuscript on his desktop and prepared it for publication. The book, "Meditations of the Pali Tradition," is the first comprehensive exploration of meditation systems in Theravada ...
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July 27, 2022 58 min
Over the past few years, the pressures placed on healthcare workers have mounted steadily, and rates of burnout and exhaustion are on the rise. According to Jan Chozen Bays, a pediatrician and Zen priest, mindfulness practices can provide an antidote to burnout and support those who are working on the frontlines of human suffering. In her new book, "Mindful Medicine: 40 Simple Practices to Help Healthcare Professionals Heal Bur...
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July 13, 2022 66 min
Ritual is a foundational component of many Buddhist traditions, yet Western Buddhists are often reluctant to engage in ritual practice. According to Buddhist teacher and professor Anne Klein, this resistance can actually be generative. In fact, Klein believes that working with our resistance to ritual can open us to spaces of wonder, liberation, and belonging. In today’s episode of Tricycle Talks, Tricycle editor-in-chief James Sh...
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For chaplain Sumi Loundon Kim, sangha, or community, is the foundation of Buddhist practice. As a child, Kim grew up in a Soto Zen community in rural New Hampshire, and her immersive experience of Buddhism has informed her understanding of how we engage with the dharma. Kim later went on to found Mindful Families of Durham, a meditation community that supports parents, caregivers, and children. She currently serves as the Buddhist ...
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The idea that we are born again after death has been a source of fascination within and beyond the Buddhist world for millennia. Yet the history and scope of Buddhist approaches to rebirth hasn’t been widely explored by Western scholars. In his new book, "Rebirth: A Guide to Mind, Karma, and Cosmos in the Buddhist World," scholar Roger Jackson offers the first complete overview of Buddhist understandings of rebirth. Jackson...
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On March 14, 2020, just after COVID was declared a national emergency, meditation teacher and activist Shelly Tygielski wanted to find a way to support her community in South Florida. She created two simple Google forms—one to give help and one to get help—and shared both on social media. The next morning, each form had over 500 responses from around the country, and the mutual aid organization Pandemic of Love was born. Since Pand...
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In contemporary American culture, the Korean War is often referred to as the “Forgotten War,” but according to Korean American novelist Marie Myung-Ok Lee, the war is still very much alive for those who lived through it—and their descendants. In her new novel, "The Evening Hero," Lee examines the forgotten history of the Korean War and the ensuing displacement and loss that so many Korean families were forced to endure. Wea...
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For Buddhist poet and novelist Ocean Vuong, being an artist requires a willingness to get close to what scares him. As a writer, he sees language as an architecture to reckon with loss, both personal and communal, and his poetry is informed by his decades-long practice of death meditation. His latest collection, "Time Is a Mother," was written in the aftermath of his mother’s death from breast cancer in late 2019 and offers...
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We often hear about the Buddhist teaching of no-self. But what does it actually mean to live without a self? In his new book, "Losing Ourselves: Learning to Live Without a Self," scholar Jay Garfield argues that shedding the illusion of the self can actually make you a better person. Drawing from Buddhism, Western philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience, Garfield unpacks how the notion of self is not only wrong but also mora...
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In this episode of Life As It Is, Tricycle editor-in-chief James Shaheen and co-host Sharon Salzberg are joined by journalist, professor, and Tricycle contributing editor Daisy Hernández. Daisy’s latest book, "The Kissing Bug," blends together memoir and investigative journalism to tell the story of Chagas disease, an insect-borne illness that disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. The book recently won a PEN/...
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After giving birth to twins, playwright Sarah Ruhl was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, a paralysis of the seventh cranial nerve that severely limits facial expression, even—and especially—one’s ability to smile. Though most suffering from this condition get better within a year, for Ruhl, the road to recovery has been much slower. In her new memoir, "Smile: The Story of a Face," Ruhl reflects on her journey of reoccupying her ...
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Born in Saigon, poet and novelist Quan Barry grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts and currently teaches creative writing at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Her latest novel, "When I’m Gone, Look For Me in the East," follows the story of two telepathic twins as they journey across the vast Mongolian landscape in search of a tulku, or reincarnate lama. Along the way, the twins grapple with questions of desire, doubt, and th...
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The Theravada tradition of Buddhism is typically associated with monastic purity and austerity. But according to Trent Walker, a scholar of Southeast Asian Buddhist music, this is only a half-truth, as it ignores the rich and vast traditions of Theravada liturgical music. In his article in the spring issue of Tricycle, “Dharma Songs to Stir and Settle,” Walker offers an introduction to the Cambodian dharma song tradition, with a pa...
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