Monday, September 5, 2016

Via Tricycle / September 5, 2016: Lean In to Learning


The school year has begun! Whether you’re a student, a parent, or a Ph.D. candidate, lunches are packed alongside the notebooks and pens, and our minds, refreshed from the summer, are primed for learning.

This week at Tricycle we take the opportunity to learn about race in America and the optimism of the buddhadharma from scholar and writer Charles Johnson. In “Black Coffee Buddhism," poet and literary activist E. Ethelbert Miller asks the National Book Award-winning novelist the questions that “a person in a crowd might be thinking about,” and Johnson’s timely, generous answers offer hope for the next generation of thinkers. When asked what advice he’d share with his grandson, Johnson answers, “I want him to understand that the best position for him to take in regard to objects and others and himself is that of epistemological humility and egoless listening.” What better advice could a student ask for?

For centuries, Buddhist women worldwide have been denied access to a full Buddhist education, and thus the full promise of the Buddha’s teaching. In “Buddhism’s Glass Ceiling,” Tricycle’s editor-at-large, Mary Talbot, takes stock of this issue, which has endured from the time of the Buddha to the present day. As Ayya Medhanandi, a nun in the Theravada tradition, puts it, “The Buddha gave the full training to those who were hell-bent on nirvana. Why shouldn’t we receive it?” (For more on Buddhist women achieving what some deemed impossible, check out this month’s Film Club feature, Daughters of Everest.)

The right to an education—one education that encompasses the spiritual, intellectual, social, and emotional life—should be a universal right for people of all ages. In that spirit, the first week of dharma teacher Vinny Ferraro’s Dharma Talk, “Starting a Practice of Lovingkindness,” is open to the public, so feel free to share it with your friends and loved ones this week. Tune in to learn about the first two of the four immeasurables: lovingkindness and compassion. No matter your age, it’s always a good idea to invest in your dharma education.