How Dodgers’ WS Celebration Captured Dharma Lesson

I am not a huge baseball fan, and during the season, I don’t watch

many games, but I love to watch the postseason playoffs and the World

Series every year.


This year was even more exciting because the Los Angeles Dodgers were

in the playoffs, and then made it to the World Series. I watched every

game and they were all so exciting with great pitching, lots of home runs,

and stellar defensive plays, by both teams. And I watched the final game in

which the Dodgers won the championship and the World Series on Oct. 27.

We can’t help but feel touched to see the winning team run out onto

the field and jump for joy like little kids again. It is such a rare opportunity

to win a World Series, and those players and coaches no doubt worked so

hard to become champions. We also feel for the losing team, as they too

worked hard and dreamed of being champions as well.


The Dodgers players were hugging each other, piling on top of each

other, just like Little League players would if they won a championship

game. I think that is part of what is so moving about seeing such a scene,

to see grown adults become little kids again. We can all relate to such a

feeling of pure joy.


Buddhism points to the awakened life as like “becoming a child

again.” It doesn’t mean that we should become kids and go through the

terrible twos again, or anything like that, but what it is trying to say is that

children have a real innocence, a sincere heart and mind, that we must

“rediscover” as adults. Buddhism is saying that as we age, we lose that

childhood innocence, spontaneity, and joy for simple things.


When we were little kids, just to get an ice cream cone brought real

joy to us, didn’t it? After we become adults, it takes a four-star restaurant

and something like bananas foster or crème brulee to get the same kind of

joyous response. An ice cream cone from the local Baskin and Robbins

just won’t do it for us.


I will never forget some years ago, when my wife was still teaching

elementary school, the school had an annual “Read Across America”

program in which teachers would bring in people from the community to

read to the kids in the classrooms.


My wife always insisted that I do this and I would go to her kindergarten

class and read a few children’s stories. One year, I read a book on

“Happiness,” and after reading the story, I thought I would dialogue with the

kids a little and I asked them, “What makes you happy?” I thought they

would say something like, “Having a birthday party,” or “Getting a new

video game,” or something like that.


However, to my great surprise, one little girl said, “It makes me happy

when a butterfly lands on my nose!” I would never say that. Not in a million years. I would say something like, “When I hit a big jackpot in Las Vegas,” or “When I hit a good shot on

the golf course,” or “When someone compliments me on my sermon,” or

something to that effect. I would never say something like, “When a

butterfly lands on my nose.” That is the childlike innocence, spontaneity,

and pure joy that children exhibit, that Buddhism says we have lost, but

should return to.


Through listening to the teachings, through encountering the Dharma,

we too can return to our childlike innocence, and find joy and appreciation

for little things in life.


There was once a great Buddhist named Issa, who would often play

with children in the village. Once he played hide and seek with the

children, and hid so well that he fell asleep in his hiding place and stayed

there all night long. When Issa played with children, he “became” a child

again.


May we reflect on what makes us happy, what gives us fulfillment in

life, and may we rediscover our own childlike innocence, spontaneity, and

joy in life through the teachings.

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