The Buddhist Review is the independent voice of Buddhism in the West. It is to create forums for exploring contemporary and historic Buddhist activity, examine the impact of its new context in the democratic traditions of the West, and introduce fresh views and attainable methods for enlightened living to the culture at large. Tricycle is an independent foundation unaffiliated with any one..
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 with his wife in her home city of Nara three decades ago, Iyer has become one of the foremost translators of Japanese culture to Western audiences. Iyer discusses his latest books as well as the way impermanence colors Japanese life and what it means to try to understand other cultures at a time when the term globalist has become, in many parts, a dirty word.
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 scholar and Soto Zen priest Duncan Ryuken Williams. Here, Williams joins Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss his new book, American Sutra, how Japanese Americans stood up for religious freedom, and how this disturbing legacy of persecution has taken on new relevance.
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 work, "The Gnostic Gospels." Her latest book, "Why Religion? A Personal Story" explores why religion has persisted through a blend of meticulous research and an earnest exploration of her own struggles with faith and grief.
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 find a way to apply Buddhist principles to the difficulties that we face in our everyday lives, leading him to co-found Juniper, an organization devoted to making meditation and the dharma accessible in a modern context.
Here, Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen talks to Levy about the importance of continuous self-care in a mutually supportive environment and how meditation, learning, and connection can help us tend to the conditions that lead to burnout.
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 of the dakinis, fierce feminine embodiments of wisdom, and how they challenge the dominant role models for femininity in Western culture. Lama Tsultrim, who was once Allen Ginsberg’s meditation teacher, has written a new book called Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine. Here, Lama Tsultrim talks to Executive Editor Emma Varvaloucas about mandala meditation as well as her personal struggle to rediscover Buddhism’s fierce female role models and advocate for equality in a male-dominated culture.
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 Sikh temple shooting in a Milwaukee suburb that left Kaleka fatherless. The gunman, Wade Michael Page, who killed Pardeep’s dad and five others, was a member of the white power group that Arno had founded years earlier. (Arno had since left the organization and later became a Buddhist.)How Arno and Pardeep met and began working together to spread their anti-hate message is the subject of their new book, The Gift of Our Wounds. Here, they talk to Tricycle web editor Matthew Abrahams about their lives and their mission.
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 her latest book, Standing at the Edge, Roshi Halifax likens these states to ecosystems that are the most instructive when we work from their edges. Here, Roshi Joan Halifax speaks to author Sandy Boucher about how “edge states” have been vital to her work as a change-agent, and how they might help us nourish love and justice in society today.
The second of the four noble truths teaches that craving leads to suffering. But that would be obvious to anyone struggling with addiction. Psychiatrist Judson Brewer, who is the director of research at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, brings mindfulness practice to the treatment of addiction. Here, Brewer talks to Tricycle contributing editor Amy Gross about the mechanisms in the brain that activate when we have cravings and how Buddhist teachings can help combat a wide variety of addictions.
In the 13th century, Muslim soldiers attacked the Buddhist monastery Nalanda in India. This event is held up as an example of how Muslim invaders were responsible for the eventual destruction of Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent. But it is far from the full story. Here, history professor and Chair of Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University, Johan Elverskog, talks to Tricycle editor and publisher James Shaheen about common misconceptions about the history of Islam and Buddhism, which are often rooted in stereotypes. Elverskog also debunks the assertion that the Mughal invasions were the sole cause of Buddhism’s waning on the subcontinent, a long-held narrative often used to justify Islamophobia.
The Buddha had a prescription to end suffering—the eightfold path. But can the Western tradition of psychotherapy build upon these essential steps? Here, Buddhist psychotherapist and bestselling author Epstein talks with Tricycle contributing editor Amy Gross about how the two realms of wisdom view the idea of self as both problematic and helpful. Drawing from his new book, Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself, to discuss the ways meditation illuminates aspects of ourselves that we’re afraid or ashamed of, allowing us to let go of the identities that constrict us.