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Lions Roar : November 2018
these hallucinations are grand and poetic visualizations that are monstrous, all engulfing, and terrifying. His family cannot grasp the magnitude of what he is seeing. Later down the line, we see that his visions are not merely delusions of a sick mind but are connected to actual events that occurred in the life of his therapist, a Muslim who has strug- gled for many years with finding his spiritual center and coping with personal loss. The visions are intricately tied to helping the therapist and turn out to be prophetic, which makes us question the nature of reality. Is it possible that many people who suf- fer mental illness are merely vibrating at a higher, more empathic level than the rest of us in Western culture have yet to understand? Can these hallucinations actually be a form of bodhisattva activity or a type of power to com- municate with someone who is deeply suffering in order to help them? Lastly, even though there is often conflict within this multiracial, multifaceted family, when things go extremely wrong, they seek methods of compromise, compassion, and forgiveness. In other words, the family pulls together and puts their differences and anger aside for the greater good. JESSICA PIMENTEL is an actor and musician best known for her role as Maria Ruiz in Orange Is the New Black. Sunday Night Baseball It’s slow, it’s boring, and the goal is to end up where you started. NORMAN FISCHER on watching the game that’s just like Zen. ALMOST EVERYTHING ABOUT baseball is Zen. Baseball is an extremely slow, even boring game in which the main activity is waiting for something to happen. As a boy I daydreamed my way through the baseball games I played, as I now daydream through zazen (Zen meditation). Baseball games don’t have four timed quarters that add up to the total time of a game. Baseball games end at some inde- terminate time, theoretically never. When a game ends, another game begins the very next day. A baseball season contains by far more games than any other sport. Though the season ends on a specific day, it seems interminable. Unlike almost all other sports, baseball is not a game of acquiring and defending territory. In baseball you begin at home. You then leave home in order to return home, only now you feel much better. However, the success rate in base- ball is distressingly low. About 70 to 80 percent of the time, batters “retire,” that is, they fail to advance the ball. A score in baseball is a “run.” Not a point or a goal. Like Zen, baseball is point- less and goalless. As everyone knows, in Buddhism the number three is very important. This is probably because there are three treasures: Buddha, dharma, and sangha. In baseball there are three strikes, three outs, and nine innings (three times three). Baseball players do not need to be strong, fast, or agile. As in Zen, they need only to “hustle,” and “practice the fundamentals.” Baseball coaches “manage”; they don’t coach. The manager of our excellent San Francisco Giants, Bruce Bochey, is a well- known Zen sage. Among his many teachings are the following: “Sometimes you wonder why the only luck we have is bad luck. But you move on.” And, “Not bad for a bunch of castoffs and misfits.” ♦ ZOKETSU NORMAN FISCHER is a senior dharma teacher at the San Francisco Zen Center. PHOTOBYKEITHJOHNSTON LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2018 41