The Gold Medal of Life

The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games have ended. Among all the celebrity that comes with winning a gold medal, many will leave with only a memory. How can these athletes, after years of training and sacrifice, accept this outcome? What is the Buddhist perspective?

Liu Xiang withdraws from Men's 110m Hurdles

Here is excerpt of a Dharma Talk written by Sensei Grant Ikuta following the Olympics in 2000:

Even in the Olympics, only three percent of the participants receive any medals, so we can see that ninety-seven percent of the athletes have their events not go as they desired. The Buddha taught us that life doesn't go as we calculate. If we can begin to accept this reality then we can begin to realise the importance of the Jodo Shinshu teachings for us. Even though our life may not unfold as we have planned, we are the focus of Amida Buddha's great compassion, just as we are. It is this compassion which tells us that we are never alone, but in fact are being sustained and supported by a multitude of causes and conditions.

The Olympics are truly a world event, but just as in life, there is as much to be gained from failure as from victory. It is through our many trials in life that we are awakened to Amida Buddha's boundless compassion, the true Gold Medal of life.

Gassho, Grant Ikuta

Grant Ikuta was formerly of the Toronto Buddhist Temple and currently, the Minister at the Steveston Buddhist Temple in B.C. This article was written following the Sydney Olympics in 2000.