Buddhism’s fundamental tenet of nonattachment is one. This tells us that it is dangerous to get too attached or involved with something so much that you feel that your life is impossible without it. It does not matter whether the thing is a person, a teacher or something else. It is a hinderance to our progress. The truth of this teaching will soon become obvious if you carefully consider it. But it’s possible to have negative attachments to certain things. This means that you can hate something while also loving something else. Although it may seem contrary to attachment, the negative impact this has on our training remains the same. Both these mental states are detrimental to our progress.
This negative attachment is something that I admit to with almost every sport. English football is the sport I dislike most. As a Buddhist practitioner, I know how damaging it is for my spiritual development to feel so strongly about one thing. This means my mind is out of balance. It’s not in harmony. I have spent a lot of time thinking about it. I’ve come to the conclusion that competition is a part of every kind of sport. This is especially evident in football, where the fans go mad when their side wins a goal. It is also obvious that this sense of competitiveness is strong. The competitiveness even spills into the streets, when rival fans face off in search of a fight. It costs live sports stream the taxpayer money for police to keep an eye on them. Even though it is not as obvious as other sports, you still get rugby and cricket fans fighting each other.
It’s clear that being competitive in your thinking is not good for spiritual advancement. You feel like there is someone or something you can compete with. Your sense of difference from me is what you seek to prove and demonstrate that you’re better than me. Your senses of ego can feel threatened or subdued when they meet my sense of emotion. Your sense of self is the one that is challenging you, no matter what kind of challenge. It is not your ego. It’s not you. But, if something doesn’t exist it can cause a lot of problems in your life.
If you are truly determined to follow the spiritual path (which every intelligent person wants to), then you should abandon the idea of a separate, independent self. Also, you must give up competition. Instead of trying to compete with other living beings, you must learn to love and help them. There’s no need to prove your superiority to another being, animal or human, because neither you nor he are superior. All are the same, all are one and nothing is more. It is important to let go of the spirit of competition that you so dearly prized. It is the belief that your football team has more talent than other teams. Your mindless ego, which makes you cheer and shout every time a ridiculously overpaid player gets that stupid bag of air to go in a way that nets you a “goal.” What the heck?
As long as competition continues, individualised egos will be maintained. Rich and poor will exist, as well as wars, famines and pestilence. We will never have peace of heart or peace in the whole world unless we recognize that this was not how God, the Eternal intended us to live.