Helen Tworkov

In 1991, Helen Tworkov, Tricycle’s founder, observed in her editorial for the first issue that “the crossroad of action and contemplation is where Buddhism now finds itself.” Thirty-three years on, this theme continues through her memoir, Lotus Girl, which opens with her stunned response to the photograph of Thich Quang Duc, the monk who set himself on fire to protest the oppression of Buddhists in South Vietnam. Set against the disruptions of the Vietnam War and the 1960s counterculture, her journey leads us to Asian monasteries and American dharma centers as she investigates the true nature of mind. At the end, with the world on fire, the image of the burning monk returns.

featured contributors summer 2024 2
Photo courtesy Baatarzorig Batjargal

Baatarzorig Batjargal

Born in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in 1983, the visual artist Baatarzorig Batjargal came of age during a period of immense change in his country. Having lived through the shift from Soviet-style communism to Western capitalism in a land that was historically nomadic, Batjargal says that “the only way to survive was to keep adapting to the situation.” Themes of adaptation and identity-displacement are on full display in his densely detailed paintings. Cultural icons like Mickey Mouse, Sigmund Freud, and Mao Zedong appear throughout his work, often alongside Buddhist imagery. Batjargal’s canvases depict Mongolia’s past, present, and future.

featured contributors summer 2024 4
Photo courtesy Ina German

Vanessa Sasson

A professor of religious studies at Marianopolis College in Montreal, Quebec, Vanessa Sasson was twenty years into a successful career teaching and writing academic texts about Buddhism when she wondered, “Is this all I can do?” Her answer: Yasodhara and the Buddha, a historical novel told from the standpoint of the Buddha’s wife. As she describes in “Beyond the Ivory Tower”, writing fiction opened up a deeper, more intimate understanding of Buddhism. The process itself was a revelation: “My writing surprises me sometimes, with characters doing things I did not anticipate,” Sasson told Tricycle. “That is always a fun experience. I am alone at my desk giggling at the wonder of it.”

featured contributors summer 2024 3
Photo courtesy Christopher Rivas

Christopher Rivas

Actor, podcaster, author, and self-styled disrupter Christopher Rivas isn’t afraid to question the status quo. Raised in a Dominican family in Queens, New York, Rivas was an anomaly. “Latin kids from Queens generally don’t meditate,” he writes in an essay for this issue. Now based in Los Angeles, Rivas appeared in the Fox series Call Me Kat and currently hosts two podcasts. One, Brown Enough, shares its title with his 2022 memoir, from which the article in this issue has been adapted. His personal reflections and social commentary have been published in the New York Times and the Boston Globe. In his writing, he explores what it means to be brown in America today, delivering his findings in hilariously honest prose.

Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.

This article is only for Subscribers!

Subscribe now to read this article and get immediate access to everything else.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? .