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Many of us struggle to silence our inner critic on a daily basis. According to meditation teacher Tara Brach, that’s because we are living in a “trance of unworthiness,” and are addicted to self-judgment. In her new book, Radical Compassion, Tara offers a path to overcoming our most entrenched negative self-talk.
Tara is the founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C., and a clinical psychologist who has been at the forefront of blending Buddhist meditation and therapeutic methods. She is also a best-selling author and hosts the popular Tara Brach meditation podcast.
Tara is perhaps best known for her teachings on RAIN, an acronym that stands for Recognize, Acceptance, Investigation, and Nurturing, and describes a method for applying mindfulness to difficult emotions. In Radical Compassion, she focuses on using RAIN to cultivate compassion—beginning with compassion for ourselves.
For Zen monk Haemin Sunim, helping regular people with low self-esteem, feelings of loss, or career failure is an integral part of his monastic duties, and a way to spread the dharma in his home country of South Korea, where Buddhism has been on the decline. Dubbed the “Twitter monk” after his account garnered more than 1 million followers, Haemin Sunim in 2015 founded the School of Broken Hearts in Seoul, where he offers both traditional Buddhist instruction and classes designed to help people with the painful parts of life—such as bullying, bereavement, anger management, and dating violence. His latest book, Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection, is an international bestseller.
Haemin Sunim sits down with Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss his journey from US college professor to Korean household name, and how he teaches people to let go of their ideas about perfection.
So often we succumb to our narratives about the people in our lives without taking a moment to examine what’s really going on, and this mindset leaves us feeling isolated. Koshin Paley Ellison calls this state of existence “zombieland,” and says that the habits that keep us locked in our mental stories—and glued to our devices—are rooted in a deep-seated fear of awkwardness and discomfort.
Koshin is a Zen chaplain and teacher and co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, a non-profit that offers training programs in clinical chaplaincy meditation and spiritual counseling. His recent book Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up, is a reflection on how the 16 Zen precepts can apply to life today and help us enter into compassionate relationships with ourselves and others.
Here, Koshin sits down with Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss his journey from “lone wolf” to Zen chaplain and how being with people who are dying has taught him to live a more meaningful life.
Read an excerpt from Wholehearted in our Summer 2019 issue.
The Lotus Sutra is one of the most important Buddhist texts, but for the uninitiated reader, it can make little to no sense. With its cumbersome prose and ostentatious scenes, this ancient sutra evades any of our contemporary efforts to interpret it in simple terms. Yet so much in this sutra—the teaching of the one vehicle, the Buddha’s use of skillful means, and the revolutionary idea that there can be more than one buddha in the world at a time—has become fundamental and foundational material for the Mahayana Buddhist traditions in East Asia.
Our guests are two of the foremost scholars in Buddhist studies, Donald Lopez, Jr., Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan, and Jacqueline Stone, who recently retired from her position as Professor of Japanese Religions at Princeton University. They have written a chapter-by-chapter guide to the Lotus Sutra called Two Buddhas Seated Side by Side: A Guide to the Lotus Sutra (October 2019, Princeton University Press). The book is a highly readable commentary and introduction to the sutra that flips between ancient India, when the sutra was written, and medieval Japan, when it took on a new meaning for the Buddhist priest and reformationist Nichiren.
Here, Stone and Lopez sit down with Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss the issues, such as religious meaning, reinvention, and adaptation, that this book brings to the surface.
Law professor and mindfulness instructor Rhonda Magee says the recent resurgence of overt racism shows that we failed to address its root cause—our own racial biases. Magee is a professor at the University of San Francisco’s School of Law, where she teaches about racial justice and uses mindfulness to help students surface their own prejudices. She has written about her work in a new book, The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness.
Writer and longtime Zen student Lawrence Shainberg joins Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss his new book, Four Men Shaking: Searching for Sanity with Samuel Beckett, Norman Mailer, and My Perfect Zen Teacher. They talk about Shainberg’s struggles as a practitioner and an author and how he brings them together in his new memoir, which recounts his conversations with his literary heroes, Samuel Beckett and Norman Mailer, along with his teacher, Roshi Kyudo Nakagawa.
You can read an excerpt from Four Men Shaking in our Fall 2019 issue.
Sabine, a Swiss actress, joins life at a small Soto Zen monastery in Japan to learn more about herself. The beautiful photography and sometimes difficult discoveries are interspersed with quotations from the eminent Zen master Kodo Sawaki.By Werner Penzel
Enso Village, a new project by the San Francisco Zen Center, wants to explore the process of growing old.By Wendy Joan Biddlecombe Agsar
On his 85th birthday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama released a record combining music and Buddhist teachings. How did we get here?By Bhuchung D Sonam
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