By Ron Rink
There are certain sports that I have always loved, and certain others that I have little, or no interest in watching or in being a participant. As a person who is attempting to live a lifestyle based on Buddhist Belief, there is a fact about sports that pushes my Buddhist buttons a bit. That fact is that in most sports, there has to be a winner and a loser.
It's true that the participants in these sports may gain in such things as physical endurance. They may also gain in their level of discipline. However, in the end, it all comes down to whether these players ever truly made any progress, regardless of whether they win or lose. The reason I say that is that they always play with one goal in mind -- and that goal is the goal to gain something. To win something. To cause someone else to lose something.
In Buddhist belief we are taught, through the Four Noble Truths, that we humans are caught in an endless cycle of suffering or disappointment. The reason for this cycle is that we are always trying to gain something, only to discover that eventually we're going to lose that something. For example, we gain a brand new automobile. A few days later it's no longer brand new. In a few years it will no longer be satisfying to us and we might sell it or trade it in for another new model which will eventually go through the same cycle. Another example is how hard we work to develop good relationships and then something happens to cause us to lose it. Either we leave, or the person leaves us because they're no longer satisfied, or, in the worst case, one of the persons may die.
Buddhism teaches us that nothing is permanent. Yet, look how we resist this impermanence. We strive to make things permanent so we can be "happy". Just like in sports, we are always trying to gain something. The 2008 Olympics just finished in Beijing as I write this article, and I think about how important sports has become to every country, every culture in the world. It's no wonder that we have trouble seeing that for every gain there will be a corresponding loss. We live in a highly competitive world, so it's not hard to see why we've lost our perspective on this fact.
Competition doesn't enable us to accomplish what we want. It only teaches us to be more aggressive. We tend to be quick to anger and lose our ability to quiet our minds. We like to think of ourselves as permanent, even though we all know we're not. We've been winning and losing the same game for numerous lifetimes.
So, how do we win? How do we become victors? Buddhist Belief teaches us that we become victorious by remembering that our lives are not permanent and that every moment is precious. We begin to practice meditation. We begin to live our lives with patience, generosity, humor, and looking for ways to help others. We live each day as though it was our last day on earth and our foremost goal is to be of help to others.
That is when we will know and find true victory -- the victory of lasting, inner peace.
Ron Rink is a person who loves peace and is always seeking a beautiful, inner peace. He has found that Buddhist teachings have shown him a way to achieve that goal. He lives a lifestyle following the teachings of the Buddha.
To see more of his writings, and to learn much more about Buddhist Belief, please visit his regularly updated blog at: http://www.buddhistbelief.com/