Archive for May 13, 2012

The Buddhist and The Chicago Cubs

Sitting down and watching baseball with a BLT sandwich and ice tea, a friend asked me what the true meaning of the Four Noble Truths.  Stumbling for only a moment, I pointed into television and calmly replied, “You want to know what the Four Noble Truths are, the Chicago Cubs. Every Cubs fan, whether they know it or not, live the Four Noble Truths every single day.”

Perfectly stated, the Cubs Four Noble Truths are:

  1. Being a Cubs fan means suffering.
  2. The origin of suffering is attachment to the Cubs.
  3. The cessation of a Cubs fan suffering is attainable.
  4. There is a path all Cubs fans can take to the cessation of suffering.

Growing up in Chicago meant following a passage of right, from father to son and generation to generation: the Chicago Cubs.  For my father and many of his friends, the Chicago Cubs was time at the old ballpark ‘Wrigley Field.’  There in the glittering rays of daytime baseball, a cup of beer, a Vienna Beef Chicago-style hot dog and bag of peanuts were temporary fulfillment in the aura of continual loss.

Suffering indeed, they did. In later years, this tradition would become the mockery of the National League or as Steve Goodman would phrase, “…doormat of the National League.”  Mr. Goodman also wrote “Go, Cubs, Go” out of spite after then GM Dallas Green called “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request” too depressing.  Seriously Mr. Green, read point #1 of the Cubs Four Noble Truths.

According to legend, the Cubs fan suffering all began when Curse of the Billy Goat was allegedly laid upon the Cubs because P.K. Wrigley ejected Billy Sianis, who had come with two box seat tickets, one for him and one for his goat. Upon his ejection, Mr. Sianis uttered, “The Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”  And true to the curse, the Cubs have failed to win, consistently blowing or choking away many potential opportunities.

But being the true Buddhist, if Cubs fans every can control our body and mind instead of repeatedly asking why Carlos Marmol makes almost $10 million dollars a year to lose games and generating wisdom in our own mind, we can end our suffering and problems. To do this, we must follow the Cubs Seven-fold Noble Path.

The  Cubs fan Seven-fold Noble Path is summarized as correct attitude and actions:

  1. Correct thought: avoiding covetousness, the Cubs fan must wish to not harm others by throwing beer and paper cups at opposing players and holding wrong views (like thinking: the Cubs will actually win, etc.)
  2. Correct speech: avoid lying by stating you had a good time at Wrigley Field and believe the Cubs have the ability to get into the playoffs.
  3. Correct actions: avoid strangling the Cubs stress ball at your office when listening to a Cubs game on television.
  4. Correct livelihood: try to make a correct livelihood with the above attitude of thought, speech and actions by not listening to or  watching any Cubs game.
  5. Correct understanding: developing genuine wisdom, that all Cubs fans are similar to Job (that is the Biblical Job), God is testing your honor.
  6. Correct mindfulness: try to be aware of the “here and now”, instead of dreaming in the “there and then.” Do not dream of the World Series. Remember here and now.
  7. Correct concentration: to keep a steady, calm and attentive state of mind in all Cubs losses.

And if you think you have it bad, remember Dale Sveum. In my opinion, for Mr. Sveum, it has to truly suck.


The last two days have been a wave of emotions.

My meditation has become stronger. And in becoming stronger, I found stronger and deeper emotions held within my psyche.  As a kid, I was molested. Also, I had to watch my brother receive the favoritism of my father and mother. What is important to understand about this ‘favoring’ has nothing to do with love. It is quite simply the raw truth that there will always be people in this world, whether related or otherwise, that you mesh with more easily. Sometimes, these people you mesh better with, or against – are your very own children.

Still as many know, the consequences of favoritism toward my brother were mostly bad. I say without hesitation, I experienced more depression, lower self-esteem, and poorer academic performance. These repercussions are far more extreme than any benefits the favored children get out of it (negative things just have a stronger impact on people than positive things). Unlike some, I do not resent my brother but rather I now understand the problems he had to face. I am sure he had his own struggles.

In my adult years, money was always a big issue for me.  While I have for the most part had outstanding jobs, I had had several years of rough periods where I purchased many things I should not have. Every new iPod version, every new cell phone, every new computer, tablet or otherwise, I bought. Something inside me pushed me and no matter how hard I tried to control the urge, the feeling of buying came forth and annihilated my life in the moment.

Thus, over the last several days I have been meditating – going back to the child of my. I met my former self, who was left behind to deal with the pain of childhood. Whose self-image was so low, he could only make his presence known through havoc. He bought things, because when his brother purchased things, he was honored. When his brother had friends, he was honored. Yet for me, when I bought things, I was rebutted, told not good enough or simply ‘ok.’

Finding my way around in an adult world where one is honored for his ‘toys’ was very damaging. I found that while I still bought things, I was never truly liked as others would see fit. I remember once in a California store I spoke, “If I buy this, then they will like me.” They never did. And they never will.

Through meditation, I have learned to understand the child left in the past. I went back, not to kill this child, but to hold comfort and integrate this child into my current life. My thought was to not leave him behind. I needed to embrace him, coax and cajole him into the present life.  There is a saying; “Nature creates the body of a man while the parents shape the habit and conduct of a child.” The body of a child is a product of all the things given by the parents. As for the mind or habit, it is a product of the training by the parents as well.

Painters by trade know that a freshly painted canvass remains wet and they do not allow anything or anybody to touch it because anything sticking to the surface will’ simply stay there and can never be taken off. The same is true for the children who have innocent ability; they will easily absorb anything. After it was absorbed it would just stay there for a long time and it, may be harmful to the children in the future.

Each of us may choose to follow either one to suit our needs as a householder or a lay person. There is the Dhamma especially for ordinary people such as those that teach us to have the right belief, reasonable belief, i.e., to be honest, to be tolerant, to have self-control, and to have generosity. The four virtues are needed and they are important for lay people in general because a group of people if they stay together and have no honesty among one another, then they will be suspicious of one another.

My inner child may always be untrustworthy, but I am up to the challenge.

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