Buddhist Truths are not exclusive to Buddhists only – they are universal. So it’s great when you find people who aren’t Buddhists, realizing the same Truths that the Buddha talked about.
Here, the great boxing champion, Muhammad Ali, gives some funny yet true reflections – especially the one about your wife!
Muhammad Ali – Our Life is just too short!
Just look at our lives, if you think about it, we have 24 hrs in a day. Say:
- We spend 8 hours sleeping – that’s 1/3 of our life gone.
- You have say 3 hrs a day washing and cleaning and being on the toilet and eating. Maybe you spend 2 hrs travelling a day.
- You spend maybe 3 hrs on TV or on the internet.
So that’s another 8 hrs gone.
So you only have 1/3 of your day left – only 8 hours each day to be able to do useful things!
So you can ask yourself the question – how much of our life is actually useful?
Muhummad Ali comes out with it!
Life is real short.
- Add up all your travellin’
- Add up all your sleepin’
- Add up all your school
- Add up all your entertainment
You probably been, half your life, doin’ nothin’!
Muhammad Ali – What do we really own in this life?
Whatever you own is yours. Whatever you don’t own is not yours – it is anatta – not self.
So, we don’t stay here, we’re just trustees, we don’t own nothin’.
Even your children are not yours! If you think I’m lyin’ – your wife is not yours!
You die and come back a year later and go slip in your bedroom and see if your wife is by herself!
That was funny! But true!
Same goes for your husbands too! If you are a married woman – imagine if you die right now – you come back a year later – see if your husband is still by himself! Haha!
“You don’t own your body either!” says Muhammad Ali
This is not the life now.
Your real self is inside you!
Your body gets old – some of you are going to look at your friends and they go, “You don’t have no teeth.” Your hair is leaving you. Your bodies get tired.
But your soul and your spirit never die!
So your body is not your real self – it’s not who you really are!
Your body is just a temporary house that you live in and you look outside the house into the world of the senses to experience that world everyday – that’s what happens in everyday, ordinary life. But your house eventually gets old and tired – what was previously a brand spanking new house is now worn out with damaged parts and decay appearing everywhere. That’s what happens to our bodies over time.
It’s also like how we buy a brand new car! But over time, the paint fades, the metal starts rusting and engine starts to develop problems after a few years – our body is like this too. When we were young and beautiful before – eventually our bodies gradually lose their vibrance and energy, our strength fades, our hormones decrease or become out of wack and diseases start developing – even though we don’t want them to. But your car is not you. That’s how the body is too – it belongs to nature, not to us.
Now your real self is inside you! The Buddha said the same – in the Shurangama Sutra, the Buddha asked King Prasenajit:
The Buddha told the great king, “By watching the ceaseless changes of these transformations, you awaken and know of your extinction, but do you also know that at the time of extinction there is something in your body which does not become extinct?”
And so, Muhammad Ali ends with:
“But your soul and your spirit never die!”
Now you may get many modern Buddhists telling you, “There’s no soul, no self in Buddhism – no soul is the unique contribution of Buddhism to the world’s religions!” – but that’s simply not true. The Buddha taught not-self – to throw away, abandon and let go of whatever is not yours. He didn’t teach declare an absolute no self philsophy but rather, a tool of letting go of things that are not really yours so that you don’t become so attached to them and suffer when they disappear and become separated from you. Just a quick search of this website will show you many, many passages where the Buddha talks about the Self or Atman or Soul from the original scriptures in Pali, Sanskrit and Chinese translations.
Your Buddha Nature never dies – it is deathless (Amara) – it is that which is holy within you that is eternally still and unchanging – it is radiant, wise and compassionate – and it never gets old and never dies.