"Linsanity" - Just Be Like Water

posted Feb 20, 2012, 2:40 PM by Tai Jin   [ updated Feb 21, 2012, 1:46 PM by Tai Jin ]
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about "Linsanity" by now. All this media attention was brought about by an unknown Harvard graduate of Chinese descent who suddenly revived the New York Knicks basketball team over the past couple of weeks. Just do a search on Jeremy Lin and you'll find plenty of stories and commentary about his sudden rise to fame. But just to quickly summarize, he had been waived by two teams and his future with the Knicks was uncertain at best. That is, until he was given the opportunity to play. When opportunity knocks, one must be prepared. And he was certainly prepared.

There are many reasons why Mr. Lin is getting all this attention now: his abilities and talent (he is a good player and potentially a great player, but only time will tell), the fact that he has turned around a losing team into a winning team, the market that he is playing in, the novelty of being a Chinese American basketball player, and last but not least, his work ethic/demeanor/virtuous qualities. It is the last of these that strikes me as most revealing. Everyone sees how humble he is, always giving credit to his teammates and coach and to his faith in God.

It is said that pride comes before a fall (this applies not only to individual people but also to societies and nations). History is strewn with many such examples. So if Mr. Lin can remain humble despite his continuing success, then I have no doubt that he can become a great player.  Another of his virtuous qualities is how he responded to recent racial slurs. Those who used the terms have apologized and claimed that they were unintentional. Mr. Lin accepted their apologies and forgave, and he believed that they were in fact unintentional. To forgive and to forget is the way to move on and to not get trapped in a cycle of karmic consequence. A wise person can transform a negative situation into a positive one.

The motto of a true cultivator should be to become like water. Water is humble, always flowing downward. Water can take on any shape or form. Water is able to accommodate anything that's mixed into it, while remaining true to its original nature. The softness of water can overcome the hardness of rock. It is very refreshing to see a young person show some of these qualities. So if and when the current "Linsanity" fades away, I hope that these virtuous qualities remain and transform others in a positive way. And I hope that all cultivators can learn from this example, to be like water.