Saturday, February 6, 2010

Super Bowl Dharma

Tomorrow being Super Bowl Sunday, I have been reflecting on the relationship of sports to the Dharma. So if you are planning on watching the big game, here are some handy-dandy ways to sneak in a little bit of daily life practice at the same time.

First of all, be on the alert for clinging and aversion. There is often an almost desperate attachment to a desired outcome, and painful aversion about toward anything negative that happens to our team. What arises, of course, is suffering, as the game unfolds, offering us the opportunity to experience the opposites of gain and loss, praise and blame, pleasure and pain, or fame and disrepute.

This clinging and aversion also gives rise to a sense of self. We have come to identify with one team as being I, me, or mine, and because of this I-dentification with one team or the other, we take everything that happens personally. It may be helpful to remember that the presence of a "self" in football is an illusion; all things arise, abide, and subside based on interdependently arising causes and conditions and there is no self in any of it. Finally, we can be aware of the experience of nirvana, or the cessation of suffering, if our team wins.

Here is another take on the Dharma of sports presented by that master of comedy Zen, George Carlin, in his very funny and insightful comparison of baseball and football:


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