While I do not follow basketball all that much, according to the Sporting News, Metta World Peace has no intention of apologizing to James Harden before the Los Angeles Lakers-Oklahoma City Thunder series gets underway Monday night.

“I don’t shake substitutions’ hands,” World Peace said, according to a tweet from Janis Carr of the Orange County Register (via HoopsHype).

I had to think about that for a while.  Upon further reflection, according to the Los Angeles Times I read:

“On September 16, 2011, Artest’s name was officially changed to Metta World Peace. The idea was inspired by Chad Ochocinco‘s name change. “Metta” is his first name, and “World Peace” is his surname. “Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world,” World Peace said in a statement released after the name change court hearing. His publicist, Courtney Barnes, said that World Peace chose Metta as his first name because it is a traditional Buddhist word that means loving kindness and friendliness towards all.

World Peace’s publicist, Courtney Barnes, said his client had been contemplating the switch for years, “but it took many years of research and soul-searching to find a first name that was both personally meaningful and inspirational.

As I said before I literally have no clue if Mr. World Peace’s blow to James Harden was intentional or accidental.  And furthermore, I have no clue if Mr. World Peace will apologize after the upcoming series is over.  But from a high level perspective, if your first name means loving kindness and friendship and was found only after many years of research and soul-searching, then you have to live the name.

For me, changing to Buddhism was a real hard, long walk. Whether you’re changing your name, your faith or life, you have to stand up and live it. As I wrote earlier, faith is great, but actions move the hearts of all mankind. In truth, a lot us that are not unlike Mr. World Peace.

Before beginning my conversion to Buddhism, I created an Atonement list. The meaning of the word is simply at-one-ment, i.e., the state of being at one or being reconciled. Thus, the word atonement is reconciliation.  I borrowed the atonement concept from Alcoholic Anonymous’ (AA) Twelve Step Program and combined the AA following steps into one personal ‘Atonement List.’ I personally:

  1. Made a list of all persons I had harmed and become willing to make amends to them all.
  2. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure myself, them or others.
  3. Continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

The true crucible of Buddhism, Christianity or any other faith is what you do when tested. Christ was tempted by Satan and succeeded while some other legendary dignitaries failed. One may ask, “What makes one successful, while another fails? Hell, I have no clue.

But success of one’s faith might be found in the value of your morals and the willingness to make amends, even when that test may be so brutally honest and painful. I will say this up front; my Atonement List has twenty-six (26) severely painful situations requiring amends, including (but not all):

  • The Catholic Church, for all my mortal sins;
  • The only love of my life ~ for whom God called us and I broke your trust;
  • My former boss for violating the honor of the position granted;
  • My financial mistakes; and
  • Mother and Father, for not being the son you could honor for so many years.

 Twenty-six (26)! That’s quite a list ~ almost one for every year I have roamed the corporate world. So in becoming Buddhist, I felt an obligation to honor the Atonement List. I researched and contacted all of the people I could. In some cases, the outcome was exceedingly painful. Seven (7) of the twenty-six (26) refused my amends, including the Catholic Church and my love. But eleven (11) did forgive me. Four (4) could not be located and four (4) others are a work in progress.

Living the faith is not easy. But any faith, Buddhism included, demands participation. And participation can be a real bitch.  The kiln crafts you, fortifies you and makes you stronger. I am the Buddhist and man of honor today because I took that hard long road of participation.  Yeah, it wasn’t easy, but by stepping up, I was able reach into deep into my soul and found a lot worth salvaging.

I ask all who are living a faith to do only one thing: participate.