For ten years Tricycle has been borne on its path by countless people who helped start and sustain it with their wisdom, their immense talents. and their kindness and friendship. Along the way four contributors, each of whom played critical roles in completely different ways, have passed on. In this section, they are remembered separately; yet together, they provide a glimpse of our history.
Rick Fields: 1942-1999
Rick Fields and I started talking about an independent Buddhist quarterly in the winter of 1989. He had worked on several magazines and had already published the now classic history of Buddhism in America,How The Swans Came to the Lake. He lived in Boulder and I lived in New York, and we didn’t really know what we were talking about, but we kept talking. As it turned out, Rick stayed in Boulder to finish two more books, and Tricycle eventually took shape in New York. But between the two of us, it was Rick who had the magazine experience, and if he hadn’t played along with this crazy idea for a year, it never would have happened. Here, Rick is remembered by his nephew, Benjamin Bogin, a graduate student in the University of Michigan’s Buddhist Studies program, who traveled with Rick in the Himalayas and followed him into Buddhism.
Masatoshi Nagatomi: 1926-2000
In June of 1989, Rick Fields and I met with Professor Nagatomi in his office at Harvard University. He had already trained many of the best Buddhologists in the United States. What might this preeminent master scholar make of a non-academic Buddhist magazine intended for Buddhists as well as for all types of intelligent, spirited nonBuddhists? Our idealism knew no bounds. Mas tilted his head and listened, all the while smoking cigarettes and using as an ashtray one of the many empty diet soda cans that lined the bookshelves. Finally he said, with great deliberation, “I think this is a very good idea.” He agreed to be an advisor, and we left his office feeling that if Masatoshi Nagatomi thought this was a good idea, then who could say that it wasn’t? Here, Duncan Ryuken Williams, a professor of Japanese Religions and Culture at Trinity College, recalls his former professor.
Lex Hixon: 1941-1995
By the fall of 1990 we had an impressive masthead, but little else. I went to see Lex Hixon, a man of passionate religious enthusiasms and a patron extraordinaire of Buddha-dharma. Lex provided the money to hire Lorraine Kisly, a professional consultant, who subsequently became our publisher. Lorraine transformed a dream into a magazine, and in June 1991 we published the first issue. Until his death, Lex remained one of Tricycle‘s most astute readers, often sending me his copy with dozens of Post-its to mark corrections and comments on content, art, and layout. He could be very critical and just as often full of praise, and there was never any way to guess which way his response might go. A retrospective of his long-running weekly radio show “In The Spirit” appears here.
Allen Ginsberg: 1926-1997
That Allen Ginsberg agreed to be an advisor was very special to those of us who had admired him for such a long time. But in truth, there were few requests that Allen denied. He was very generous. And very busy. But occasionally I did seek out his advice and came to value his big skylike view about Buddhism, into which all cheap dharma politics disappeared like passing clouds. From his voluminous writing, we have chosen to publish a letter that he wrote to the Wall Street Journal which, needless to say, was never printed.
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.