While much of Buddhist thought and practice is devoted to inner cultivation based on strong ethical foundations and the goal of perfect realization of impermanence, non-self, and the nature of suffering; some Buddhists surely still find a little time to take in a baseball game or two.
And with this year marking 108 seasons exactly since the last time the Chicago Cubs won an MLB championship, Buddhists might be forgiven for thinking there is something special in store for the Cubbies this year.
Within hours of the Chicago Cubs getting eliminated from the 2015 postseason, a devoted fan named Deric Brazill went online to share a revelation. The next season would mark 108 years since the Cubs had won the World Series.
In Buddhism, he wrote, 108 is a significant number. To mark the New Year, Buddhist temple bells ring 108 times. Strings of Buddhist prayer beads contain 108 beads. If the Cubs win the World Series in 2016, Mr. Brazill says, “the Dalai Lama should probably comment.”
And if the Cubs lose? Well, the Buddha did say, “all of our experience is suffering.” This understanding can help, as (once again from the WSJ article), some fans find solace in religious truths in such difficult times:
Religion can help soften the seemingly inevitable disappointment of rooting for the Cubs. Since becoming a Buddhist about halfway into his 20-year engagement with the Cubs, Daniel Garrett now screams at the television less often, a benefit of the Buddhist practice of nonattachment, he says.“I can still be happy and excited about the prospect of going to the World Series without attaching myself to the outcome,” says Mr. Garrett, a 49-year-old businessman who lives near Wrigley Field. Whatever happens this year, he says, “it is what it is.”
Attachment to outcomes in baseball is addressed in a 2010 Lion’s Roar article on Buddhism and baseball by Andrew Rock. And Ellen Scordato offered her reflections on loving-kindness for her favorite baseball team, the Yankees, in 2009. Another 2010 reflection comes from Alle C. Hall; while not actually being much about Buddhism, she does suggest that the lackluster (non-threatening) Mariners can be followed along with other teams, like Buddhism can with other religions.
I was once a Mariners fan myself, before all of the lockout/strike nastiness of the late ’90s. Multi-millionaires fighting with multi-multi-millionaires while fans sat at home waiting for their next opportunity to dole out ever-increasing sums of cash to see another game being played. No thanks. I still can get into a game or series if I wish, but I’d much rather throw my enthusiasm into local events and playing sports of my own with friends.
In the “Layperson’s Guide” to monastic conduct, it is noted that:
Playful and wrong conduct (anaacaara) for a bhikkhu is, for example, playing like a child with toys or games, etc.; or making garlands of flowers, etc.
And many monks and nuns would be forbidden from attending games and shows (presumably the very serious business of American baseball would count).