Buddha Takes the Mound: Enlightenment in 9 Innings

Donald Lopez Jr. St. Martin’s Essentials, $19.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-250-23791-0
In this cheeky yet weighty work, Buddhist scholar Lopez (The Story of Buddhism) devises what he calls “the Baseball Sutra,” offering text and commentary on Buddhist insights into America’s classic game. In Lopez’s yarn, the Buddha, taking a posture on the “green mandala” of a baseball diamond, reveals to his audience of bodhisattva-baseball immortals and lifelong fans how he designed the game to teach the four noble truths and the three marks of existence: karma, nonself, and enlightenment. Lopez nicely connects the nature of baseball to Buddhism throughout: the rise and fall of a team’s popularity teaches nonself or emptiness, the recurring cycle of winning and losing seasons teaches the suffering of samsara, and unpredictable performances teach the relevance of karma. Lopez focuses on the simple love of the game: one needs only to play catch with one’s “father” (a metaphor for having “compassion for others”), because each being is one’s father, and therefore one is always playing catch with all beings. Lopez’s passion for baseball and Buddhism is palpable and contagious, resulting in an odd but earnest introduction to Buddhist teachings. (May)
Reviewed on : 01/10/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Religion
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