Tuesday, May 16, 2006

To be a True Victor

The Dhammapada says:

"Victory begets enmity,
The defeated dwell in pain.
Happily the peaceful live,

Discarding both victory and defeat."

The Dao De Jing says:

"The Sage does not compete,
Yet the world cannot compete with him."

Life is a constant struggle. As sentient beings, from birth we are thrown in all sorts of situations where we need to compete & to fight for survival. Whether it is for that scholarship in school, for the affections of the opposite sex, for that medal in sports, promotion at work etc.. the list is endless. It is easy to lose oneself in the competition of life & end up even worse off than before one started. Even if we are successful, we have to fight to maintain the success or be quickly replaced by those more able than us. This is an undeniable aspect of samsaric existence. Where then can the Dhamma be found? How can permanant happiness be attained in this endless struggle?

The answer lies in retuning the mind. Although we cannot avoid life's competitions, understand that the path to enlightenment does not lie in competition itself. To compete for first & last is the path of the deluded. To cling to victory & defeat is to fuel one's ego. With an ego like Mount Sumeru, how can one ever attain freedom from Samsara? You may even be invincible & defeat 1,000 warriors in battle, yet it will not bring you any closer to the end of suffering.

The only true victory lies in victory over yourself, over your own mental defilements like craving, hatred & ignorance. To overcome all duality like victory & defeat, birth & death, samsara & nibbana in the mind is the ultimate victory of the Buddhas. If you always remember this Dhamma during any competition, then you will always be the victor no matter whether you win or lose.

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