For most Buddhist monks, thinking about the Middle Way is a meditation on existence and nothingness. But for Noriaki Ito, a Shin Buddhist priest at the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in downtown Los Angeles, it also might be a consideration of the havoc wrought by Kobe Bryant’s masterful mid-range game. In a fascinating interview in Tricyle, a Buddhist magazine, Ito talks about his love of the Lakers, thoughts on the other, now-retired Zen Master, and basketball from a Buddhist perspective.
Is it wrong, from a Buddhist perspective, to root for one team over another? Isn’t that desire? I think it’s natural that we choose sides. There’s nothing wrong with it. It makes watching sports that much more interesting…Sports, I believe, is a microcosm of life itself. We know as Buddhists that we should be loving and compassionate to all people, to all living things. But we can’t help but love some people more than others. We can’t help but choose a cute puppy over an ugly snake. As long as we know we’re guilty of such self-centered views, we can remember to open up our hearts to compassion for all. The original meaning of compassion, as we define it, is to feel the pain of another as if it’s our own—and to share the joy of another as if it’s our own. This time around, even though there was a lot of pain in the way the Lakers lost, I felt real joy for Nowitzki, Kidd and the rest of the Mavs—even for Mark Cuban.
If you weren’t looking closely at the sports section this week, you may have missed news about the Lakers’ recent decision to move future Lakers games to Time Warner Cable ahead of current providers Fox Sports Net and KCAL Channel 9. The stunning news for most is that the deal, starting in the 2012-2013 season, will run for 20 years and will prevent Lakers fans without access to pay TV from watching at least some games on television. (And Mark Heisler repeats rumors that the Lakers’ haul from this deal may top $3 billion!) Since I don’t have cable TV, I’ve been left wanting with the increased migration of sports events from free TV to the schedules of cable TV giants such as Fox and ESPN, but it’s tough to register too much indignation at this point, when the writing has been on the wall for several years. I’m running out of reasons to even own a TV at this point.
However, one interesting point to emerge from a reaction piece from plodding Bill Plaschke is about the number of homes without cable TV in the city.
But did you know that about 620,000 homes in this area do not have a pay-TV service? Based on the 2000 U.S. census average of 2.59 people per household, that’s roughly 1.6 million people, or a city roughly the size of Phoenix
That’s significantly different from previous estimates I’ve heard from friends, no doubt parroted from cable industry sources, that describe cable subscription as close to 100 percent.