Living Zorba the Buddha Way

Passion, consistency and pursuit become common factors behind any success

Pradyuman Pokharel

Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic won his 7th Wimbledon Grand Slam title by defeating the Australian player Nick Krigious, in the recently concluded 2022 Wimbledon Championships. During the final match, though Nick seemed outstanding initially, he lost subsequently due to not getting well with focus and calmness. In the customary interview held on the Centre Court, the main court used to host Wimbledon matches, immediately after the final match, the winner Novac also made the same remark very gently. Thus, as famously quoted ‘Opportunity seldom rises with blood pressure’, it becomes imperative to have focus and peace of mind to continue pursuing excellence when one gets higher in life.

Passion, consistency and pursuit become common factors behind any success. But success has such a nature that it becomes invaluable unless achieved. Once achieved the same success loses its shine and the person aspiring for it starts looking for something else. This is a common phenomenon in the general walk of life happening with almost all people. So, questions may come up as to how someone keeps cherishing the achievements with continuous focus and pursuit of new accomplishments. Here, we need to understand that achieving an objective is just a momentary change i.e., the goal accomplishment changes our life for a moment only. A simple example is a person who wants to keep his room clean and tidy and for this, the cleaning is done and everything is kept tidy inside the room. But afterward, if s/he does not keep up with a habit of cleaning his room subsequently every day or whenever it gets messy, the person will end up living in the same messy room again. Thus, the important point here is setting a goal alone is not adequate but setting a system or habit of tiny works towards achieving the goal is also important.

An interesting insight into the general management of our life or work is we focus excessively on goals or objectives. Excessive or too much focus on a goal only can have an adverse effect on our overall state of happiness. This is because we understand that once we reach our goal then we will be happy. Here the problem is the state of mind is that we continuously put our happiness off until we achieve our goal. Since goal achievement changes our life for a moment only as said earlier and when we keep happiness off during the journey till the goal achievement, we elude the peace and happiness most of the time during our pursuit of the goal. That is why doing away with such a tendency, is famously quoted as “Happiness is a journey, not a destination”.

“You have to sacrifice something to gain something else, my father told me. That is one piece of fatherly advice I could never accept. I want everything from life, not one thing at the cost of another”. This is the line written in the preamble of the book ‘Making It Big’ by the only Forbes billionaire of Nepal Binod Chaudhary as a tribute to his father. Similarly, since our childhood, we have been told that to get something we need to give away something. So, if someone has to get top grades in the study, s/he should toil hard in the study without wasting time in relaxations through sleeping or playing or listening to good music. It means the person needs to make sacrifices to achieve higher accolades in their study. The same applies to achievements in other areas as well like in professional life or any occupation. No doubt, in order to earn excellence in any field, a certain degree of focus and engagement in the area is inevitable. But the scribe here wants to point towards some universal truths. The truth is there should be a balance in our every pursuit and this is also evident in nature. For instance, let us take our body, as spiritually mentioned in the Upanishads and Vedas also, where there are seven chakras of which the first is Muladhara (Root Chakra) in the base of our spinal cord and the last one is Sahasrara (Crown Chakra) at the top of our head. Muladhara is the reflection of Kama or sex whereas the Sahasrara is the epitome of Lord Rama. Even in the existence, a body is something that comprises both the opposite poles i.e., Kama and Rama, and thus, in order to exist, life needs a balance between the two opposite ends.

This may raise a question in the mind as to why this philosophy-related stuff is being mentioned in place of a practically useful one. But this is not about philosophy, rather the purpose here is to explain the science behind it which focuses on how our lives can be made more meaningful for ourselves and society. It is because the word ‘How’ points toward a method or a technique that is important for the transformation. So, just to explain this with a story, a disciple once asked his master, “What is the purpose of life?” The master replied, “Life is like a flute. A flute has many holes and emptiness but if a person can work on it, the flute can produce magical melodies.” Similarly, almost all the sage has vouched that this human life which is one amongst the billions on the earth, should be lived to its fullest potential. But there are confusing and divergent views concerning how to live a life. Different religions have diverse prescriptions for how to live a life along with different rituals like what to eat, what not to eat, whom to pray to or how to pray etc. When a child takes birth in a Hindu family, the child becomes Hindu but if the same person had taken birth in a Muslim family, s/he would have followed Muslim rituals. A Hindu person if strictly following his/her culture, will avoid non-veg meals but a person in a Muslim family is likely to take non-veg meals. Thus, a conscience inside a human is a product of the religion and rituals under which s/he has taken birth or grown.

Whether it is a villager in the least developed area or a rich person living in one of the most developed cities of the world like New York or Singapore and despite having a plethora of differences in terms of availability of essential amenities, comforts, living standards, or overall lifestyles with grandeur, both have a common problem i.e., the problem of 99. To put this in a simple way, this problem is related to a wish for making every 99 rupees to 100 rupees in a never-fulfilling way. For the villager, this problem is understandable as he has an obvious requirement and thus needs to work for the daily livelihood of his family, but the same issue gets complex when it is related to a relatively much higher economically wealthy person. The rich person though has a tremendously high financial net worth but has a desire to own more and this can be a source of misery for the person and his family. The purpose of citing this case is to differentiate between necessity and desire. Fulfilling a necessity is always beneficial and rewarding but trying to realize a desired one after another in a never-ending way brings nothing other than great sorrow and grief.

Generally, the wisdom mentioned above seems to be known to us. Even then, sorrow, anxiety, and lack of peace follow most of us and this has been happening to mankind since the beginning. This raises the question that there must be something wrong with our way of living. All the enlightened masters have a common view on this. They opined that the false identity of self which is their ego is the major reason for this misery. EGO, as we all know, means an inflated feeling of pride in oneself being superior to others but here it is an acronym consisting of E, G, and O that stands for Edge God Out. So, when we live with our false identity of EGO but without an element of GOD, we are destined to be out of tranquility and joy.

To sum up, let us peek into the life of a Buddha and the life of just the opposite type of enlightened master, Krishna. These two masters have a commonality of enlightenment but have different roadmaps leading to the enlightenment with all together diverse lifestyles. The teachings of both the masters are quite opposite; one with being an epitome of idealism, austerity and complete seclusion with a meditative state while another is filled with colorful stories of music, dance, and all the mundane things. As human beings are so blessed with so much energy and consciousness, isn’t it a possibility that all of us have both the traits of Buddha and Krishna in a way that we have peace, serenity and bliss similar to that of Buddha and also have a life full of fun similar with the lifestyle of Krishna?

Pokharel is the CEO of Muktinath Bikas Bank Limited. 

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