Saturday, June 14, 2008

Phil Jackson's Zen Christianity

I often have talks with our school's basketball coach about the spiritual nature of basketball. His hero is John Wooden, and one of my favorite memories is hearing him talk about his lunch with Wooden and the seven spiritual principles that guide his life and guided his coaching.

I don't know a lot about Phil Jackson, but this article definitely makes me more interested in learning about him.


Andrew Elizalde said...

I read the article and continue to find the "Zen-Master" a bit mysterious. I do not question his sincerity and know that he has an impressive record of winning NBA championships but I'm not sure that I could play ball for this guy. The Lakers certainly functioned as a team, there were no egotistical takeovers during games, and never an indication of panic. What seemed to be missing each night on the court was the drive to output 100% effort. Some of the players were so serene it seems like they may have smoked a few doobies themselves at halftime (I know... an overstatement by a frustrated fan). It is ok (and sometimes necessary) for a coach, and anyone else for that matter, to display some intensity from time to time and while doing so remain compassionate.

Joshu said...

Yeah - I don't know much about him, and don't really follow NBA or the Lakers. I'm much more into college basketball, and it's really John Wooden I'm interested in. I can see how this year's finals would have made a fan frustrated.

Joshu said...

One other thing - I think the whole "Zen" concept has been really distorted in the past few decades. We think of it as meaning peaceful and compassionate, but the samurai warriors were zen masters, so intensity - even and particularly in competitions - should be a vital aspect of the training and the practice. Zen is actually about sharp focus and concentration, and the peace achieved could be considered more like the still point of a fast moving wheel or the central balance point of a martial artist rather than a lack of movement, which is how it is often misinterpreted today.

As I said, I don't know much about Phil Jackson, but I wonder if he's just sort of tired these days. And I hear he learned most of his spiritual practice from his brother anyway, and second hand spirituality is never quite as authentic as the real stuff.