Conversations with contemporary Buddhist leaders and thinkers
The Radical Power of Just Showing Up with Shelly Tygielski
On March 14, 2020, just after COVID was declared a national emergency, meditation teacher and activist Shelly Tygielski wanted to find a way to support her community in South Florida. She created two simple Google forms—one to give help and one to get help—and shared both on social media. The next morning, each form had over 500 responses from around the country, and the mutual aid organization Pandemic of Love was born. Since Pandemic of Love’s conception, the organization has connected over 2 million donors with individuals and families in need and has responded directly to global crises including hurricanes, mass shootings, and the ongoing war in Ukraine. Just this past month, Tygielski returned from the Poland-Ukraine border, where she was supporting Ukrainian refugees displaced by war.
In this episode of Life As It Is, Tricycle editor-in-chief James Shaheen and co-host Sharon Salzberg sit down with Tygielski to discuss her work in Ukraine, the history of mutual aid movements, and the radical power of just showing up.
Remembering the Forgotten War with Marie Myung-Ok Lee
In contemporary American culture, the Korean War is often referred to as the “Forgotten War,” but according to Korean American novelist Marie Myung-Ok Lee, the war is still very much alive for those who lived through it—and their descendants. In her new novel, "The Evening Hero," Lee examines the forgotten history of the Korean War and the ensuing displacement and loss that so many Korean families were forced to endure. Weaving together an exploration of Korean religious traditions, contemporary political commentary, and a critique of the commercialization of healthcare, the book follows the story of a middle-aged Korean American obstetrician, Yungman Kwak, as he navigates a changing world.
In this episode of Tricycle Talks, Tricycle editor-in-chief James Shaheen sits down with Lee to discuss Korean rituals of honoring one’s ancestors, the generational impact of wartime trauma, and her own journey through diverse spiritual traditions.
Getting Close to the Terror with Ocean Vuong
For Buddhist poet and novelist Ocean Vuong, being an artist requires a willingness to get close to what scares him. As a writer, he sees language as an architecture to reckon with loss, both personal and communal, and his poetry is informed by his decades-long practice of death meditation. His latest collection, "Time Is a Mother," was written in the aftermath of his mother’s death from breast cancer in late 2019 and offers an intimate portrait of grief, loss, and survival.
In today’s episode of Life As It Is, Tricycle editor-in-chief James Shaheen and co-host Sharon Salzberg sit down with Ocean to discuss Buddhist rituals of mourning, the poem as a death meditation, and how he protects his sense of wonder. To close, Ocean reads a poem from his new collection.
Learning to Live Without a Self with Jay Garfield
We often hear about the Buddhist teaching of no-self. But what does it actually mean to live without a self? In his new book, "Losing Ourselves: Learning to Live Without a Self," scholar Jay Garfield argues that shedding the illusion of the self can actually make you a better person. Drawing from Buddhism, Western philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience, Garfield unpacks how the notion of self is not only wrong but also morally dangerous. Once we let go of this illusion, he argues, we can lead healthier and more ethically skillful lives.
In today’s episode of Tricycle Talks, Tricycle editor-in-chief James Shaheen sits down with Garfield to talk about the ethical perils of the self illusion, the freedom that can come from moments of selflessness, and how we can let go of our selves to reclaim our humanity.
Dwelling in the Casita of Equanimity with Daisy Hernández
In this episode of Life As It Is, Tricycle editor-in-chief James Shaheen and co-host Sharon Salzberg are joined by journalist, professor, and Tricycle contributing editor Daisy Hernández. Daisy’s latest book, "The Kissing Bug," blends together memoir and investigative journalism to tell the story of Chagas disease, an insect-borne illness that disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. The book recently won a PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the National Book Foundation Science + Literature Award.
Today, James and Sharon catch up with Daisy to reflect on the past two years of the pandemic, her practices of equanimity, and how she finds refuge in times of war.
Finding Beauty in Asymmetry with Playwright Sarah Ruhl
After giving birth to twins, playwright Sarah Ruhl was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, a paralysis of the seventh cranial nerve that severely limits facial expression, even—and especially—one’s ability to smile. Though most suffering from this condition get better within a year, for Ruhl, the road to recovery has been much slower. In her new memoir, "Smile: The Story of a Face," Ruhl reflects on her journey of reoccupying her body and reclaiming her capacity for joy.
In today’s episode of Tricycle Talks, Tricycle editor-in-chief James Shaheen sits down with Ruhl to discuss Zen koans, the overlooked beauty of asymmetry and imperfection, and how Tibetan Buddhism brought her back to her Catholic roots.