I was very interested in the comment of the athlete Greg Serle – a British rower who won a Bronze medal last week at the London Olympics. He was interviewed by Gary Richardson on the Today programme this morning on Radio 4 (UK – available on the BBC website, at 2:29:05 in the programme) and he talked about how important it is to be inspired by those around us:
Gary: How much do you think the athletes have all been motivated when they watch the rowers, you win a medal, the cyclists – you’re all inspiring one another.
Greg: I think there are two sides to this: one is the fact that within our team now for the past 5 or eight years we’ve had people at a very high level and those people have trained – if you like they set the gold standard for us. In women’s rowing its been Katherine Grainger [Gold medal winner at London 2012]. She set the gold standard, so day in, day out, people can see the sort of attitude you need, the approach you take to your training, the speed you need to get, and if you train like that then that’s how you are going to win a gold medal. And I think that’s rubbed off on all the other women rowers. From an inspiration point of view, that’s then the icing on the cake – the work’s been done for four years and now as you see the others delivering, and you realise because you’ve trained with them, you’re going to deliver too, and that’s just a great feeling in the team.
We are like this. We don’t want to win a Gold medal: we are aspiring to an even greater achievement – enlightenment. Ironically, although it is an inconceivably more meaningful goal, it is easier to attain. I believe that if we put a quarter of the effort into our Dharma practice as the typical Gold Medal winner, we would achieve enlightenment easily!
Just as Olympic medal winners are inspired by each other, so too do we Kadampas need to be together, to train each and every day, and to inspire each other.
For me, this underlines the need for us as to find people who can give us an example to follow, and to spend as much time as possible with them.
Geshe-la says it perfectly in Joyful Path of Good Fortune (pg 331):
Our friendships have a powerful influence over us. Since we tend to imitate our friends, we need to associate with friends who admire spiritual training and who apply themselves to it with joy. Daily contact with our spiritual friends is very important because we do not often have the opportunity to spend a lot of time with our Spiritual Guide. If we come under the influence of our spiritual friends we shall develop the same good qualities and virtuous aspirations, and we shall be inspired by their example to put effort into our study and practice of Dharma.
What if you do not know such people? The answer is clear:
Be the example.
Love Vide x