Monday, September 14, 2015
“Lust and hate arise but leave no trace, like birds in flight; don't cling to passing moods.”
On What Is Most Important
Contemplative traditions are in steep decline—or so we're told. Nobody meditates anymore. They're too busy playing Candy Crush or writing screeds in the comments section below YouTube videos. As Tricycle readers, you know better. This week we look at how Buddhist teachings and rituals remain vibrant in our time.
Before we examine the teachings that thrive today, however, we must get a sense of the ones from the past that are worth holding onto. We offer a perfect example in our latest magazine piece, "On What Is Most Important," in which the Tibetan master Kenchen Thrangu elaborates on eight classical Indian verses from the yogi Padampa Sangye. Together they emphasize practicing the dharma in every moment, no matter the circumstance. Then, and only then, they say, can we make the most of our lives.
In "A Quiet Subversion," we hear from a modern-day Buddhist trying to do just that. By romanticizing the cave-dwelling recluse, says writer Leath Tonino, we perceive his lifestyle as an exotic one far different from our own. In this humorous yet insightful piece, Tonino erases that divide by showing us how a solitary spiritual life is possible even for a young city-dweller with a job, a girlfriend, and an obsession with Seinfeld.
Both of those magazine articles are available to everyone this week, but join as a Supporting or Sustaining member to read the entirety of our latest issue. In it, find out how to escape from jealousy's clutches, feel good about what you've got, and actually celebrate your friends' success with the issue's special section on jealousy and envy. It features a Zen teacher who cops to those green feelings, a writer who says they don't deserve such a bad rap, and a Tibetan Buddhist who offers five steps to free yourself from them for good.
As the Buddhists know, nothing lasts forever. That makes our choices about which teachings to hold onto and which to leave behind all the more important. In a provocative blog interview with longtime Vajryana teacher and practitioner Sangye Khandro, "No Adaptation Required," she speaks candidly about this tension between tradition and renewal.
Every generation—every person—resolves that tension differently. There's no easy answer. But by virtue of our mere rumination, perhaps we invent the teachings anew.