The Buddha Goes to the Superbowl

Tinkering this morning with the time machine I had erected in my garage, I managed to go back some 2,500 years to what’s now the border area of Nepal and India. I found the Buddha, looking — well, awake — and invited him to join me on the 50-yard line of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, this coming Sunday. Only the 50-yard line would do, because that’s the Middle Way.

He took what I offered, climbed in, and I set the machine for Sunday in Santa Clara. The weather would be right for the Buddha, and his robes would fit right in. He wore his begging bowl as a hat, and that way no one suspected he was from another time and place.

American Football Golden IconUntil the inspiration hit me this morning to tinker with my time machine, I never thought I’d be writing about the Superbowl in Melting-Pot Dharma, which is devoted to spiritual healing. I do promise not to disclose the outcome. That would 1) be unethical and 2) undoubtedly cause a time paradox.

Once we arrived at our seats, I offered the Buddha a veggie dog, but since it was past noon local time he politely declined. Then Mara must have overtaken me, because I insisted on telling the Buddha the make-me-one-with-everything joke. He gave me a patronizing smile.

As Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem, Siddhartha (we were on a first-name basis by then) stood up, removed his bowl, placed it over his heart and chanted Om Mani Padme Hum (the jewel is in the lotus). He tried explaining to those around us what it meant. The Buddha is within, he said. All of us are Buddhas on the inside — you, me, Lady Gaga, Cam Newton, Peyton Manning. Some fans listened, some ignored him, and a few who had already ventured past the Fifth Precept slapped him on the back and offered him a beer.

The Buddha asked me not to disclose any play-by-play details before they happened, but he gave me his permission to share his observations:

…Ah, the sound of people enjoying themselves (we enjoying ourselves) in the moment…

…I’ll root for whoever is behind. I won’t be attached to one team or the other…

…If we had stadiums and sound systems like this in my time, I could have helped so many more people. But what was, was. Maybe your modern teachers today can spread the dharma wider…

…I do like the sight of Cam enjoying himself. He is attached to winning, but that’s his karma…

…I am one with the physical pain of the players on the field, and with the worldly desires that drive them on. May they grow to understand the cause of their suffering…

…Some of them foresee that their injuries and illnesses will eventually bring sorrow to their loved ones, and some don’t. But they focus on the joy they experience now and the entertainment of the fans…

…I can’t judge the players for the choices they make, but this isn’t exactly what I meant by emphasizing the present moment…

…Attachment to winning and aversion to losing cause a pleasurable excitement but can never lead to contentment…

…Football is the result of the causes and conditions of your world today. If it didn’t exist, something like it would take its place. So I might as well enjoy it…

…As long as I don’t become attached, and as long as I don’t start drinking beer.

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

— Mel Pine (Fearless Lotus)

Copyright 2016 © Mel Harkrader Pine

9 Comments Add yours

  1. amiezor says:

    This is great! What a fun time, I think you should take the time machine out more often. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. melhpine says:

      And this time it’s definitely worth watching the video.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. amiezor says:

        I did! that video is pure genius. The Super Bowl may be a strange “materialistic” ritual in American culture, but you cannot deny the ties to the human spirit.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. melhpine says:

        Yes, our materialistic institutions are not without value. Or, what is, is.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. If football didn’t exist, something like it would take its place, so you may as well enjoy it. I love that way of looking at it. Too true!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. melhpine says:

      I think football and boxing should probably both be banned, but as long as they’re not I continue to enjoy them.


      1. I never liked boxing, and its violence seems more obvious. Not that football isn’t also violent and dangerous, just that it’s easier to keep that hidden, with all the helmets and pads, and the complicated plays and strategies and the occasional play that doesn’t result in a hit.

        I think we’re seeing the last of the glory days of football. Boxing is a marginal sport now and football will go that way too as more parents stop letting their sons play.

        I know I’m glad my son sticks to soccer and has no interest in American football. Although you can get concussions in soccer, too.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. melhpine says:

        If I had a younger child now, I would strongly discourage football…or boxing, which is indeed marginal. I had one serious concussion around my 40th birthday. I was hospitalized for three days and had post-concussive symptoms for about six weeks. My memory has never been the same. And that was just one concussion (fell off a bicycle without a helmet).

        But the good news is that this evening I get to watch my son Carl, 21, at his goalie position, playing for the championship of his roller-hockey league. That’s a rough sport, too, but he wears A LOT of good protection. Carol and I helped pay for it. Money well spent.

        Liked by 1 person

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