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Will power and achievement.


Q&A: Olympic athletes achieve tremendous things by apparent sheer force of will. This seems in contrast to the practices that we are learning here. Can you comment on this?

Master Culadasa comments on the observation that Olympic athletes encourage and exemplify extreme efforts at achieving worldly goals. The benefits to society are considered and contrasted to efforts that are aimed at helping all living beings end suffering.

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Student: Yes, we were watching the openings of the Olympics and this whole sports thing is all about competition. And when you don't get it work harder kind of thing against the opposite of what the teaching is. So how is this when you. A dream or a pounding or, in sports this total I have to, when I have break my legs four times, but I still run this kind of thing. This is all dinged. And then yeah, but they leave a lot of things too. So what is that?

Can you repeat her question?

Culadasa: Yes. They're watching the Olympics then looking at the competition. Al. And the Olympics pushed themselves to incredible degrees and their competition to win them medals and to be the best which we see happening all over the world.

We see people who are driven in some way or another to achieve and to succeed. And they very often. Achieve and succeed far beyond breath, the average person does. And so the question is really since this is obviously related to desire and and attachment to the self, that seems to be in conflict with the Dharma.

And I agree repetitive. Now I'm trying to think. Good examples. I'm not sure maybe something will come to new or maybe you can help me, I guess the question is that without the self-centered compulsion, will the human mind push itself to the same height, so to achieve. And certainly when you look at world-class athletes, they have this very ego centered, need to be the best.

I, when I get them out of the lie deed, somebody else's speed by 90 seconds or even fractions of a second. I am best the desire to be the desk and that propels them and motivate.

As we become awakened, we become less attached to that powerful, compelling sense of self. But as we become more awakened, the same energy that the same mental energy, or even spiritual energy, if you want to call it that used to be so concerned. With worrying about cell becomes available to to become the driving force behind compassion and behind acts of kindness and compassion.

I don't know if you can become the world's fastest skater for the sake of all other meanings. That's an interesting question. But it's not inconceivable to me that somebody who was not attached to their own self view, but could see their body as an as an entity that might somehow. Sort of others or serve the world through demonstrating what its capabilities were. I don't know if that's ever happened. I can't think of anybody.

I can't think of any world-class athlete or you'd point to and say I think that's a good example and I don't know whether it would even happen because it may just be that when all of that energy is diverted away from focus on the fill that. It goes to it goes to other ways of helping people more directly, which in many cases is trying to teach the Dharma and guide other people to overcome their own suffering, but can it can take many other farms as well, yeah.

In some other fields, I can see that field. So I science and technology and politics and things like this that a more enlightened. Interest is based in, and compassion can propel a person. It seems that Martin Luther king right here had been propelled by that. It seems that Nelson Mandela may have the same as the was, so it does seem that in other fields and I could see that being the case and medicine and in science and then technology

And certainly those endeavors have a much greater impact on a much larger number of people. So I don't really know for sure if we would have, if everybody was enlightened, whether we would have people that could skate as fast and ski as fast and all of these other things as we do. It's an interesting question, I also know it wouldn't matter. A lot

island big is such an extreme of it, as you said, we know it's always about what is being there only suggested vacation is inspiration. For example, they say, if I can do this and I can, you don't have to give up to the kids. Or what about the kid who is sick or I had some major happening something where they say.

When you push yourself, you can get to, instead of lying back and being depressed on that level, where is that going then? When you push yourself, you can, there's this whole thing about pushing in this culture. It's about, it's also an inspiration for the young people that they can do something different than just laying back and Hey, that's it.

And this kind of opposite of that, which is also not healthy. It's more of this It cannot be an inspiration. And then it is of benefit for the culture and the public and the people. Yes I really agree that, yeah, that's a very good point. Sports and sports figures and people who are successful can be inspirations.

There's great movies that have been made about depo. That rise from the most difficult of circumstances, they have a talent and they use that talent. And then they become examples for others and that pushing yourself. What's that, it's that pushing it is the question. Can you push and make things happen.

And I would say we're looking at people that pushed and made things happen because of their past karma. We're not hearing any of the people that pushed and it didn't happen. Maybe pushed harder than those people that succeeded and it didn't work out. So we've got it. This is a biased view already because you've seen the people who succeeded at that.

And the question is, did they succeed because they pushed, I'd say no, I've pushed and not succeed. Yes. Eagle are there factors? That's very good. Very good point. If we only looked at the ones that succeeded, we had no idea how many others. We're ignoring it, whether they've pushed harder or less fired or exactly what happened, what was your different just pushing that, there's a certain level of intention, but it's not the only factor,

but I think if push

work. But I think in high-speed skating might, might be different factors operate,

but yes you really have to take into account a variety of factors. And there's no question that pushing motivated by self attachment and craving can take people to incredible Heights. You can become a, if you can become a and ruler is Hasper and people on the planet. And if you're motivated enough usually Nazy, you have to do a lot of very nasty things to get there.

Sorry. It's I don't think it's as simple as the pushing is motivation and so motivation can have many different kinds of sources. So yeah, I think we have to look beyond that, but if we look at what's happening with young people, This country and probably a lot of other Western countries as well is that they are inspired to push and strive and the value there.

There's a, you have succeeded when the more money you make, the more you've succeeded. And they're also told that it doesn't really matter what you do. They have to have money, at least as long as it's not illegal and you don't end up in jail. And so that's not very good kind of normalization at all.

Yeah, people who are taking a more with John, I'm not going to buy into that whole rat race theme. And I don't believe that's they may be unproductive. They may seem like they're not doing much with their lives and perhaps they never will. They still have the opportunity to to gain somewhere.

To see to further see things and and a more wholesome way and maybe to make greater change. A lot of these inspirational examples are people who are severely, economically depressed. Very cool onto a minority and a bad neighborhood raised by a single mother, maybe has to work as a prostitute to make the lid of anything and everybody's drug dealers and drug users around them.

And then they rise out of that and that's right. It's really inspirational. But what would be wonderful as if we could, if more of our inspiration could have less zoo. With the really miserable circumstances that are Inspiron start from. And instead the wonderful works that they do for the benefit of other dangs different kinds of inspirations.

We talked a lot about the problems. And definitely, as a, as somebody who inspire aspires to pass for enlightened, that we can't afford to be blind and self centered, we have to recognize the problems. So we rolled the religion and it, we also have to remember to be taught, to be attached at all.

It really doesn't matter to be attached to the problems of the world, not to be attached. What happens and we're up to do your absolute best from whatever position that you are here. That's, what's important. To try to change the world, save the world or even one tiny part of it. The secret is to do your best, but to be able to do your best without being attached to the.

And that's a challenge because if you become attached to the outcome, you still may do good things for the world, but you will impair her to your own spiritual development and your own alternate efficacy. It's very important to remain unattached. When you get yourself all in a stew about how bad things are going, you're not doing yourself that much of a favor.

And at that point, you need to remind yourself that, okay. It is what it is. I do what I can, but to be found attached to things, being in a particular way, I'm not paying it in particular way is only going to reinforce that part of your own mind that you know is working out of the old paradigm.

That I will be happy when the world suits my needs. You know how I've been working with that a lot. Like I was so focused on my identity. You're trying to figure out my identity in terms of career well, in different ways, but in terms of career, what I like and what I want to do, but I don't like, basically I was unhappy with my crew.

I've never was happy doing, I never have liked a job really would never enjoy it, but I was doing. It just feels almost chemical or magical or something because now all of a sudden, I like I'm doing the same thing and it just, and I didn't, I was trying to work with my mind and work, work with it, but it's feels almost effortless.

Like all of a sudden, I just can't. Muster up the dislike or the dissatisfaction that was so prevalent in my life for so many years. And it, the content of the job is exactly the same. It's the exact same thing, Jack, I think is totally bizarre. It's just freaking me out. I still don't feel like I'm ready.

Like I couldn't go to a call center. I don't think he'd be happy. Maybe I could, but I don't think I'm there yet, but. That's one way I've seen Dharma because for so many years, I felt like I was studying and practicing, but I couldn't really see any progress or anything happening, but at this I can see as a significant change because I just can't seem to feel as upset or frustrated or unhappy, strange.

Oh, you said you used to be looking for your identity in terms of. The way I like to think of this is that I ask you a question. Maybe you've discovered your secret identity. So it doesn't matter if you pretend to be humble. Reporter

does now, your secret identity. Yeah. It's much more about reactiveness for me now, watching when I'm reactive in seeing the whole project is it's teaching. So seeing the whole project is just Trying to help some people get some information. Yeah. And and every single circumstance we find ourselves.

Yeah. It is a, it's an opportunity to look and say, okay, what can I do to that's beneficial here? And what can I learn from desk? Know, how am I reacting? And yeah, the reactivity I've so reacted my whole life. Very reactive, just. Oh, it's so wonderful that you are enjoying some of the fruits to practice.

Much part of what far richer.


Automated transcription

Yes. We were watching the openings of the Olympics and, you know, this whole sport thing is all about competition and and you don't get it work harder kind of it's the opposite of what the teaching is. Right? So how is this when you have dream or a path or you know in sports this total. I have to win I have break my legs four times, but I still like this kind of thing this is all then yeah, but they achieve a lot of things too. So what is that? Can you repeat her question? Yes. They're watching the Olympics and looking at the competition, and how all people and Olympics pushed themselves to incredible degrees and their competition.

To win the levels and to be the desk. Which we see happening all over the world. We see people who are driven in some way or another to achieve and to succeed, and they very often do achieve and succeed for beyond Average person does. And so the question is, really, since this is obviously related to desire and and attachment to the self that seems to be in conflict with Dha. And I agree kinda is. Now I'm trying to think. Good examples and I'm not sure maybe something will come to new year, maybe, maybe you can help me.

I I guess the question is that without the self centered comp, will the human mind push itself to the same heights of achievement. And certainly, when you look at world class athletes, you know, they have this very ego centered, you know, need to to be the best. I when I did the metal i did somebody else's to speed but so many seconds or even fractions are the second I am deaths. The desire to be the best and that propel him and motivates them. As we've become awakened, we become less attached to that powerful, compelling sense of self.

But as we become more awakened the same energy, that the same mental energy or even spiritual energy if you want to call it that. That used to be so concerned with worrying about cell becomes available to to become the driving force behind compassion and behind acts loving and kindness and compassion. I don't know if you can become the world's fastest skater for the sake of long other meetings. That's an interesting question. But it's not inc to me. That somebody who was not attached to their own self view.

But could see their body hasn't as an entity that might somehow sort others or serve the world through demonstrating what its capabilities were. I don't... I don't know if that's ever happened. I can't think of anybody. Can't think of any world class athlete i you'd point to and say, well, I think that's a good example. And I don't know whether it would even happen. Because it may just be that when all of that energy is diverted away from focus on the bill that it goes to it goes to other ways of helping people more directly.

Know, which in many cases is through trying to teach the dha and guide other people to overcome their own suffering, but can kind because, take many other forms as well. I in some other fields. I I can see that in fields like science and technology and politics and things like this that a more enlightened interest that is based in and compassion, you know, can propel a person. It seems that Martin Luther king may have been propelled by that. It seems that Nelson Mandela may seems that Mah Pagan gandhi was that you know, so it does seem that in other fields.

And I could see that it being the case in in medicine and in science and then technology. And and certainly, those endeavors have a much greater impact on a much larger number of people. So I don't I don't really know for sure if if we would have... If was enlightened, whether we would have people that could skate as fast and see as fast and all these other things as we do. So interesting question. I no wouldn't matter a lot. This I this I wonder is such an extreme of that as you said, We know it's it's always been what is being where only justification inspiration, for example, they say, if I can do this, and I can you don't have to give up to the kids or what about the who is is is sick or had some some major happening.

Something where they say, When you push yourself, you can get through instead of line being depressed on that level. Where is that go when? When you push yourself you can, you know, this the whole thing about pushing in this culture is about so and inspiration for the young people. That they can do something different than just laying back and hey, that's it. And this kind of of opposite of that, you know which is also tells. I'm It's more... It cannot be an inspiration and then it is of benefit for for the culture in the public and the people.

Well, yes, I I really agree that yeah, that's a very good point. Sports and sports figures years and people are successful. Can be inspiration. I mean, there's great movies that have been they about the rh criminals and difficult of circumstances. They have a talent and they use that talent. And then they become examples for others. And they're pushing. What's happening. It's that pushing. It is. That's. You wish about the question, whether can you push and make things happen? Right. And I would say we're looking at people that push and made things happen because of their past karma.

We're not hearing any of the people that pushed and it didn't have and maybe pushed harder than those people that succeeded. And it didn't work out. Mh. So we've got a this a biased view mh already because you've seen the six people who succeeded at that method. And the question is, did they succeed because they pushed I say, no. I pushed it absolutely you know. Yes. Ego related Other factors that's very good three good point, You know, if we only looked at the ones that succeeded, we we had no idea how many others that were ignoring and whether they pushed harder or less part or or exactly what happened yeah what was their difference just spot pushing that really you know, there's a certain level of intention, but it's not the only factor.

Mh. But I think it is. Push know doesn't work. But I think in high speed skating might might be different factors operate. But, yes, You do really have to take into account variety a factory now. And there's no question of pushing motivated by self attachment and craving. Can take people to incredible heights you can become you can become ruler hash people on the planet and you know you're motivated and not usually needs that you have to do a lot of very nasty things to get there. Sorry it's... I don't think it's as simple as the pushing.

The pushing is motivation. And so motivation can't have many different kinds of sources. So, yeah. I think we have to look beyond but If we look at what's happening with young people, Yeah. This country and probably a lot of other western countries as well. Is that They are inspired to push and and strive. And the value that there's that you have succeeded when the more money you make than marty six succeeded. And they're also told that it doesn't really matter what you do to get that money, at least as long as it's not illegal, you don't end that in jail.

And and so that's that's not very good kind motivation at all. Some and people who taking more with John, I'm not going to buy into that whole that race theme and, you know, I don't believe that that's they may be they need be un unproductive and may seem like they're not doing much materialize lives. And perhaps they never will. But they still have the opportunity to to gain some wisdom to see to to further see things in in a more wholesome. And maybe to make greater change. A lot these inspirational examples are of people who are severely economically depressed.

There's go onto to minority, you know, bad neighborhood, raised by a single mother maybe has to work as a prostitute to make the and everybody's drug dealers and drug users around them, and And then they rise out of that network. It's really inspirational. But What would be wonderful is if we could... If more of our inspiration could have less do with the really miserable circumstances that are inspire start from. And instead, the wonderful works that they do for the benefit of other gangs, you know.

Different kind of inspiration. We talked a lot about the problems of the world. And that definitely, you know, as as somebody who inspired us buyers to pass and enlightenment that we can't afford to the blind and self centered. We have to recognize the problems so the world under it. We also have to remember to be thought to be attached at all. It really doesn't matter. Not to be attached to the problems of the world. Not the attached to. What happens and world to do your absolute vest from whatever position that you are, that's what's important.

You know, to to try to change the world save the world or even one tiny part of it. The the secret is to do your best. But to be able to do your best without being attached to the outcome, and that's a challenge because if you can have attach to to the outcome, you still may do good things for the world, but you will pity your own spiritual development and and your own ultimate efficacy. It's very important turning remain una attached. When you get yourself all in a stu about how bad things are going.

You're not doing yourself that much for a favor. Know at that point, you need to remind your something... Okay. It is what it is. I do what I can. But, you know, to become attached to things being in in particular way, I'm not paying it particular. Is only gonna reinforce that part your mind. That, you know, is is working out of the old paradigm that I will be happy when the world suits my needs. You know how I've been working with that a lot. Like, I was so focused on my identity you're trying to figure out my identity in terms of career...

Well in different ways but trying of career what I like and what I want to do, but I don't like. You know, basically, I was unhappy with my crew... I never was happy to doing it. I never have liked the job really they've i've never enjoyed, but I was ordering. And then It just feels sort of almost... Now or magical or something, because now all of a sudden I like I'm doing the same thing. And it just... And I didn't... I mean, I was trying to work with my vine and work work with it. But it feels almost effortless.

Like, all of a sudden That just can't seem to must up the dislike. Mh. Or the dissatisfaction. That was so prevalent in by life for so many years. U And it... The content of the job is exact... Say. It's exactly same thing. You got I think is totally bizarre. It's just kind of freaking me up. I still don't feel like I ready, like, I couldn't go to a call center. I don't think and be happy. Maybe I could but I don't think I'm there yet. Mh. Right On the. That's one way of seeing Dha... Because just so many years, I felt like I was studying and practicing, but i I couldn't really see any progress or anything happening.

But at this I could see as a significant change because I just can't seem to feel as upset or frustrated or i'm at the know. Yeah. Strange. Oh, you you said you used to be looking for your tate in terms of what you do. You know? The way I like to think of this is that actually Chris maybe you've discovered your secret identity, so it doesn't matter if you pretend to be a humble recorder. Is now you know your secret identity? Yeah. It's it's much more about reactive for me. Now watching when I'm reactive.

In seeing the whole project is it's teaching. So seeing the whole project is just trying to help some people get some information. Yeah. And and every single circumstance find itself in it is it... It's an opportunity to look and say, okay, What can I do? It's beneficial here? And what can I learn from desk? Know. How am I reacting and... Yeah. The reactivity have so reactive my whole life very reactive. Just Okay It's it's so wonderful that you are and enjoying some of the streets to the practice, and and that's much more to what furniture richard.

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