An open letter to Tricycle magazine editors:
Nov. 23 2009
This is an open letter which will be published on the Internet.
It has come to my attention that your magazine’s blog some months ago listed my blog Enlightenment Ward in it’s blogroll listing.
In light of the recent article Dharma Wars in your magazine and on-line which demonstrated nothing but disdain for Buddhists who blog with original content, as opposed to simply quoting others to sell something, I am not comfortable having my work linked in such a manner to your enterprise.
Therefore I request that you remove the link to my work that appears on the blogroll of your Tricycle blog. The link in question is https://enlightenmentward.wordpress.com
Additionally I will no longer purchase your magazine or patronize your advertisers.
Marnie Louise Froberg
[Nov. 24 2009 This blog has been removed from the Tricycle blogroll as requested]
It would be rather hypocritical to accept benefit, however marginal, of being listed on a blogroll of a corporation that pisses all over me and those like me don’t you think? Using the work of bloggers on their list to besmirch reputations and belittle those very same people is so beyond unethical it makes me choke. If anyone else is feeling a little choked and would like to make a similar statement, feel free to use my letter as a model if you like and modify it according to your own situation. . (You can also use editorial or info both are @tricycle.com if you wish to send something similar directly.)
There is more than enough irony to go around in this Dharma Wars situation considering the editorial, entitled “Room for Everyone”, from the issue of Tricycle previous to the current one. In that gala-filled, star-studded editorial,(available only to subscribers), editor and publisher James Shaheen, formerly of Forbes magazine, introduces us to the new executive editor, Trish Deitch, formerly of The New Yorker magazine and writer for such illustrious Dharma vehicles as Entertainment Weekly and GQ, and then goes on to quote Tricycle board chair Philip Glass comment “There’s room in our tent for everyone.”
There’s a telling phrase.
Consider as well the evocation of the Tibetan Rimé movement meaning “impartial, unbiased” according to the editorial. And further consider Shaheen’s statement:
With the emergence of a global community of practitioners who share core values and goals, Tricycle is becoming more and more committed to the Rimé vision.
What utter bullshit! Branding at it’s finest. Read the link to find out everything Rimé actually encompasses. This commercially driven emerging community which Tricycle enfolds with it’s 5-star tent, “who share core values and goals”, is a marketing strategy for a corporate “feel-good” brand of Buddhism with watered down koolaid-Dharma and cushions for sale to stop people from banging their heads against the wall due to the utter inanity of it. Just swallow, just swallow, there’s a good boy.
I dissected the article by Zenshin Michael Haederle two posts ago but there is certainly a share of responsibility that Tricycle has to pick up. Where the hell were the editors? Where the hell was their legal department? That neither group apparently bothered to show up at work the day the article landed on the presses speaks volumes towards their concern for the actual content of the magazine beyond the ads and self-congratulatory exposé editorials about the culturally elite bunch that runs this little machine.
Now with a captive on-line Community principally devoted to discussing Tricycle articles, collections of Tricycle articles, Tricycle authors, Tricycle mandated issues and Tricycle advertiser’s books in the Tricycle Book Club (shout out to Oprah! Hmmm) of course there is little need to consider the opinions, sentiments or feelings of those who don’t show up trying to cozy up to this insular conglomerate.
One thing I noticed today as I searched for email address for the principal editors was the lack of contact information. On the blog there is none except for comments and if you read some of them it is quite evident that they are for the most part ignored. People asking the same question for months including for a contact address for Philip Ryan who edits the blog. There are on the magazine site itself the generic corporate addresses for subscriptions, donations, information and editorial. There is no contact information or feedback opportunities for authors and many articles do not have open comments. Part of the reason for this may be that so much of the magazine content is taken from other sources including books, speeches, dharma talks, newsletters and on-line material that has appeared elsewhere in some form or another. Of those pieces that do have comments enabled they are so full of spam that it’s not even worth looking at them. And no one editing the site seems to notice or care about the on-line reading experience. They really just don’t want to know.
The big words on the cover of the Fall 2009 magazine state “DO LESS” and on the Winter 2009 issue “DOING NOTHING CAN MAKE YOU WISE“. This change in cover style with simple bold lettering shouting at everyone from the news stand shelf appears to be far more openly indicative of the magazine’s corporate policy and actual opinion of it’s readers which comes out in the rendering as STFU*
To which this former reader replies, “NO”
*STFU=Shut The Fuck Up
It has been my habit to pick up the 3 Buddhist glossies Tricycle, Buddhadharma and Shambhala Sun at news stands and pack them into my suitcase to bring back home after a visit to Canada. They are not available anywhere near me in India nor have I seen them in Delhi. There are only so many books one can load up without going over the weight restrictions on airlines so the magazines with their smaller dharma-bites are suitable and they fit in my computer case.
On-line magazines and newsletters though are becoming increasingly competitive with quality content, access to archives, editorial freedom Of course blogs give the maximum in terms of editorial freedom. There are other places to read about Dharma related matters than Tricycle. At Shambhala Sunspace, the online embodiment of Shambhala Sun magazine, there is a blog with original content by such people as Rev. Danny Fisher, Karen Maezen Miller, Rod Meade Sperry and John Tarrant Roshi , interestingly all bloggers in their own right, which is well worth reading.
There are a lot of on-line magazines and newsletters with content by a very diverse and interesting group of Buddhist writers. One of my favorites is Inquiring Mind. The articles are from many perspectives and well written. I’ve bought their anthology of past articles and it was really worth the read.
Here are a few more that might be of interest. Some are archives of older issues that can take quite some time to browse through. All of them are listed on the right under Buddhist Resources-Magazines and Newsletters [-Archives].
From The Kwan Um School of Zen an archive of articles from Primary Point
Still Point by the Dharma Rain Zen Center
Vipassana Newsletter (from India) Goenkaji’s organization Available in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil and Malayalam languages. Gives calendar, activities, some articles and translations
Archive of Chan Magazine contains lectures by Master Sheng Yen translations of Buddhist texts, scholarly studies in Buddhism, practitioner’s retreat reports, poetry, stories, and other articles.
Western Buddhist Review is an on-line scholarly free journal. It is “concerned primarily with exploring the encounter between Buddhism and the modern world.” There are more Academic resources listed on the right as well.
urthona magazine Buddhism and the Arts offers selected essays and articles from it’s current issue and archives
The Upaya Institute offers an interesting newsletter with guest articles
The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies offers Insight Journal with a large archive
Mindfulness Bell a journal of the art of mindful living offers online articles
Mandala Publications affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) offers on-line articles to supplement it’s print publication Mandala
Buddhanet’s Buddhazine offers magazine articles and is looking for submissions according to the page
There are a number of others listed in the links on this blog under Buddhist Resources. So no one is stuck for reading material and most of those listed are free or only request donations. And I’m going to keep adding to those lists as I find resources and time permits.
There’s your alternative transportation.