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51 minutes | a month ago
Jack Miles: Religion As We Know It
What is religion? Is Buddhism a religion? How about democracy? And how religious (or not) do you have to be to ask? In the latest episode of Tricycle Talks, Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen speaks to Jack Miles, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and scholar of religion, about what we mean when we say something is a religion and how Miles's own life has led him back to this question time and again. Miles’s latest book, Religion As We Know It: An Origin Story, was released in 2019. In it, he explores the commonsense understanding of religion as one realm of activity among many, and how this definition serves and fails us. Miles is also the author of God: A Biography, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996, as well as the general editor of the Norton Anthology of World Religions and professor emeritus of English and religious studies at the University of California, Irvine.
33 minutes | 2 months ago
Real Change: A Succession Star on the Power of Empathy
Arian Moayed is perhaps best known for his role as Stewy in the HBO series Succession. So for fans of the show, it may seem strange that for almost two decades, he’s been working to build a more empathic world through art and outreach. Arian is the co-founder of Waterwell, an organization working to tackle society’s issues through theater, art, and education. In this episode, Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen sits down with Arian and Sharon Salzberg to discuss the power and practice of both theater and meditation. Arian also speaks about loss and growing up as an immigrant in the United States—as well as the hard choices immigrants must make in this country. It’s part of Tricycle Talks’ Real Change podcast series based on Sharon’s new book Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World, which offers a new perspective on how activism and meditation practice can uplift each other. Their conversation is the final installment of the five-part series featuring Sharon’s book and the people in it who are creating change in their communities. Make sure to check out our episodes with Sharon Salzberg, Shelly Tygielski, and Michael Kink, and Daisy Hernández.
34 minutes | 2 months ago
Real Change: Finding Our Refuge in Ourselves
“Equanimity” might seem like just another Buddhist buzzword, but Daisy Hernández doesn’t think so. The author of the award-winning memoir A Cup of Water Under My Bed and the co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism, Daisy is an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at Miami University in Ohio. Through her meditation practice, Daisy found refuge in her body and also discovered that it was possible to practice the Buddhist concept of equanimity—even when it felt like her life was falling apart. In this episode, Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen sits down with Daisy and Sharon Salzberg to discuss the personal circumstances that led Daisy and Sharon to Buddhist practice. It’s part of Tricycle Talks’ Real Change podcast series based on Sharon’s new book Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World, which offers a new perspective on how activism and meditation practice can uplift each other. Their conversation is the fourth in the five-part series featuring Sharon’s book and the people in it who are creating change in their communities. Tricycle Talks will be releasing the other episodes throughout the month. Stay tuned to hear our conversation with Arian Moayed—and make sure to check out our episodes with Sharon Salzberg, Shelly Tygielski, and Michael Kink.
27 minutes | 2 months ago
Real Change: Economic Justice for All
Buddhism’s four noble truths start with the truth—and the inevitability—of suffering. So what does that mean for an activist? For Michael Kink, suffering became the fuel to power action for justice. The executive director of the Strong Economy for All Coalition, a labor-community organization focused on income inequality and fighting for a fair wage for all workers, Michael has been on the frontline of changemaking for decades. But Michael found that practicing Buddhism radically improved how he showed up to work. Meditation, he discovered, is something that is always helpful and always available—even in the midst of chaos. In this episode, Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen sits down with Michael and Sharon Salzberg to discuss how Michael’s practice empowers his work. It’s part of Tricycle Talks’ Real Change podcast series based on Sharon’s new book Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World, which offers a new perspective on how activism and meditation practice can uplift each other. Their conversation is the third in the five-part series featuring Sharon’s book and the people in it who are creating change in their communities. Tricycle Talks will be releasing the other episodes throughout the month. Stay tuned to hear conversations with Daisy Hernandez and Arian Moayed—and make sure to check out our episodes with Sharon Salzberg and Shelly Tygielski.
26 minutes | 3 months ago
Real Change: Pandemic of Love
Since the pandemic began earlier this year, mutual aid funds have become a major resource for people suffering from the burden of job loss and financial strain. One mutual aid fund, Pandemic of Love, has helped thousands of people access funds for things like food, health insurance payments, and even money for funerals for loved ones who have died from COVID-19. The fund, started by mindfulness teacher, writer, and organizer Shelly Tygielski, has matched over 292,000 individuals and families with patrons, garnering over $38.4 million in direct transactions since March 14. But Shelly never expected an organization that she started for her local community to have such a nationwide reach. In this episode, Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen sits down with Shelly and Sharon Salzberg to discuss how Shelly turned grief into action. They also talk about the retreats the two of them have held for victims of mass shootings. It’s part of Tricycle Talks’ Real Change podcast series based on Sharon’s new book Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World, which offers a new perspective on how activism and meditation practice can uplift each other. Their conversation is the second in the five-part series featuring Sharon's book and the people in it who are creating change in their communities. Tricycle Talks will be releasing the other episodes throughout the month. Stay tuned to hear conversations with Michael Kink, Daisy Hernandez, and Arian Moayed.
52 minutes | 3 months ago
Real Change: Meditation and Action
Some Buddhists would say that the proper response to the current suffering of the world is to turn inward—to use the tools of meditation to develop skillful states of mind. Others might say this isn't enough, that we should be out there—helping others in our communities and demanding action from our representatives. But these two options do not preclude each other, says meditation teacher and author Sharon Salzberg. Her new book, Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and Our World, provides a guide to freeing ourselves from negative emotions in order to summon the courage to act against injustice, as well as ways we can sustain ourselves through activist burnout and feelings of despair. In this episode, Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen speaks to Sharon about the making of the book and how her meditation practice provides an emotional anchor in difficult times. This month, Tricycle Talks is releasing five podcasts featuring people who are creating change in their communities. Stay tuned for episodes with four other changemakers—Shelly Tygielski, Michael Kink, Daisy Hernandez, and Arian Moayed—who are using their unique platforms to bring about real change in the world.
46 minutes | 3 months ago
Sebene Selassie: You Belong
What does it mean to belong? Many of us come to Buddhist practice because we feel we don't. But Sebene Selassie, a meditation teacher in the Insight meditation tradition, uses Buddhist teachings to explain how we can be—wherever we are—truly at home in the world. Growing up in the nation's capital as the daughter of Ethiopian and Eritrean immigrants, Selassie herself spent much of her life on the outside looking in. In her new book, You Belong: A Call for Connection, she mixes personal narrative with classical Buddhist teachings on interconnectedness to make a compelling case for why we all—without exception—do belong. Coming to know this is like coming home—to our deep connection to others and, most importantly, to ourselves. In this episode, Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen talks with Selassie to discuss You Belong and what it means to be alive in a time when our separateness is more emphasized than our connection.
48 minutes | 4 months ago
Wisdom for My Grandson with Charles Johnson
For many of us, the past several months have been a time to get reacquainted with one of the Buddhist truths that has always guided our lives: impermanence. But while this may provide a philosophical compass to help us weather the storms of a pandemic, pronounced racial and economic inequality, and acts of police brutality, we may still find ourselves asking: how do we help the next generation? In this episode of Tricycle Talks, Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen sat down with Charles “Chuck” Johnson to discuss his latest work, Grand: A Grandparent’s Wisdom for the Next Generation, a book of advice for his grandson, Emery. Much of the advice is rooted in Buddhist wisdom. Charles Johnson is a scholar, an award-winning novelist, an essayist, a cartoonist, and a martial arts teacher, whose works include Middle Passage and The Way of the Writer.
66 minutes | 7 months ago
Stephen Batchelor: The Art of Solitude
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. Stephen 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 with our fundamental aloneness. Stephen is co-founder of Bodhi College, a UK-based organization dedicated to contemplative learning, and is the author of many books on what he has called secular, or agnostic, Buddhism, including After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age. Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen sat down with Stephen in front of a live audience at New York Open Center in Manhattan on February 19—a few weeks before social distancing measures went into effect.
48 minutes | 7 months ago
Joanna Macy: The Work of Our Time
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 unravel, we have an opportunity to rediscover our deep belonging with the Earth. No voice has been as clear or as compelling as Joanna Macy's in the intersection that lies between Buddhist practice and ecological movements. An environmental activist, author of eight books, and a scholar of Buddhism and deep ecology, Joanna has been on the front lines of the environmentalist movement for decades. In recent years, as our impact on the environment has become both more apparent and more perilous, activist groups like Extinction Rebellion and others have been turning to Joanna’s work as a source of inspiration. A new book, A Wild Love for the World: Joanna Macy and the Work of Our Time, out today, celebrates her contributions with a selection of Joanna’s essays as well as writings by the many people she has inspired. Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen talks to Joanna about how she believes we can move forward in a time of great despair—and how we can transform our despair into action.
43 minutes | 8 months ago
Carina Stone: The Legacy of Michael Stone
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, Michael’s wife Carina Stone sits down with Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss Michael’s legacy. Last year, Carina finished working on "The World Comes to You: Notes on Practice, Love, and Social Action," a collection of Michael’s teachings. While editing the book, Carina grappled with difficult questions about Michael’s life, all while working through her own grief around his death.
52 minutes | 10 months ago
Evan Thompson: Why I'm Not a Buddhist
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 University of British Columbia as well as a longtime fellow at the Mind and Life Institute, which examines the intersection of science and contemplative wisdom. However, in his new book—provocatively titled Why I’m Not a Buddhist—Evan argues that Buddhism and science are not uniquely compatible, despite what many have claimed, and challenges the popular modernist belief that science can validate Buddhism’s soteriological and ontological goals. Here, Evan talks with Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss the problems with Buddhist modernism, his own spiritual and philosophical journey, and why he is, in fact, not a Buddhist.
56 minutes | a year ago
Tara Brach: Radical Compassion
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 perhaps best known for her teachings on RAIN, an acronym that stands for Recognize, Acceptance, Investigation, and Nurturing, and that describes a method for applying mindfulness to difficult emotions. In her new book, Radical Compassion, she focuses on using RAIN to cultivate compassion—beginning with compassion for ourselves.
38 minutes | a year ago
Haemin Sunim: Letting Go of the Perfect Self
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. Dubbed the “Twitter monk” after his account garnered more than 1 million followers, Haemin Sunim in 2015 founded the School of Broken Hearts in Seoul, where he offers both traditional Buddhist instruction and classes designed to help people with the painful parts of life—such as bullying, bereavement, anger management, and dating violence. His latest book, Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection, is an international best-seller. Here, Haemin Sunim sits down with Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss his journey from US college professor to Korean household name, and how he teaches people to let go of their ideas about perfection.
42 minutes | a year ago
Koshin Paley Ellison: Waking Up from Zombieland
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 co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, a non-profit that offers training programs in clinical chaplaincy meditation and spiritual counseling. His recent book Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up, is a reflection on how the 16 Zen precepts can apply to life today and help us enter into compassionate relationships with ourselves and others. Here, Koshin sits down with Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss his journey from “lone wolf” to Zen chaplain and how being with people who are dying has taught him to live a more meaningful life.
46 minutes | a year ago
Donald Lopez & Jacqueline Stone: How to Read the Lotus Sutra
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 University. They have written a chapter-by-chapter guide to the Lotus Sutra called Two Buddhas Seated Side by Side: A Guide to the Lotus Sutra (October 2019, Princeton University Press). The book is a highly readable commentary and introduction to the sutra that flips between ancient India, when the sutra was written, and medieval Japan, when it took on a new meaning for the Buddhist priest and reformationist Nichiren. Here, Stone and Lopez sit down with Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss the issues, such as religious meaning, reinvention, and adaptation, that this book brings to the surface.
50 minutes | a year ago
Rhonda Magee: Learning to See Our Racial Biases
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 Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness.
35 minutes | a year ago
Lawrence Shainberg: Staring at the Wall with Samuel Beckett & Norman Mailer
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 and Norman Mailer, along with his teacher, Roshi Kyudo Nakagawa. You can read an excerpt from Four Men Shaking in our Fall 2019 issue.
44 minutes | a year ago
Ronald Purser: McMindfulness
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 mindfulness movement, claiming that corporations have embraced the practice in order to advance a neoliberal agenda. Here, Purser strikes a more balanced tone and discusses the good and bad of the mindfulness movement, explains what he means by the catch-all term McMindfulness, and presents his view that mindfulness has an untapped potential to bring about real social change.
47 minutes | a year ago
Helen Tworkov: Dying Every Day
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 and Tricycle’s founding editor, Helen Tworkov. Tworkov sits down with James Shaheen, Tricycle’s publisher and editor, to discuss how she helped Mingyur Rinpoche tell his story, the near-death experience that transformed his life and teachings, and how seeing the small deaths we experience each day can help us alleviate our fears of dying. They also discuss the origins of the magazine and how the Western Buddhist landscape has changed over time.
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