WWBD – What Would Buddha Do…
This is the first part of a series of articles.
Have you ever tried to compare Mahjong to life? I bet you have! But have you ever done it the Buddhist way? It’s more fun, trust me!
First things first, let’s assume a working hypothesis – Mahjong = life. Done? Great! Now let’s look at the 4 ennobling truths in Buddhism from a Mahjong perspective.
1st Truth– Mahjong is suffering. Bam! Getting real already, huh? Not to sound pessimistic or nihilistic… it’s about owning a simple fact. Mahjong players are exposed to all sorts of hardships- inner battles, bad draws, backfires, opponents’ expensive Tsumo when they’re Oya, getting ravaged by noobs in short-term competitions, unexpected Dora 3 Ron, damaten massacres, Tenhou point system… I’m guessing that the list’s long enough already?
Mahjong’s rough on the players, alright.
2nd Truth – All that suffering has its roots. Guess what? They’re in us, players, not the game itself! The thing is, we’re slaves to our own two demons – craving and aversion. Their mechanics couldn’t be any simpler – we’re junkies for good things and we NEVER question ANYTHING that satisfies our whims, expectations etc. We win, we get lucky – we’re overjoyed and proud. Fortunately, Mahjong never keeps us complacent for long enough… The moment we don’t get what we want, we go off like atomic bombs. We get unlucky and lose – we’re sad and miserable. We get angry, we blame opponents, the wall etc. We whine and complain. We vent. Standard human behavior, isn’t it? What makes it worse is that we’re DAMN sure our inner states are directly caused by those occurrences! In both cases, we don’t feel responsible for our states of being, the circumstances are. As long as we’re swinging between those two extremes, we perpetuate the cycle of suffering.
3rd Truth – We can overcome our suffering. Uhh, but how can that be done? Briefly – by internalizing the first two Truths and training ourselves to manage our mind better. It’s by no means philosophical or moralistic despite the ‘Buddhist’ label. It’s not about nirvana and karma. It’s 100% pragmatic. Those are actual skills, just like everything else. And they SHOULD be trained, for Mahjong’s a mind game on top of everything else.
4th Truth – To overcome suffering, one should follow the 8-fold Path. More on that later.
That’s it for part 1. If you’re interested in learning more, see you in the next article!
This is a toxic philosophy. Mahjong is tanoshii.
I like most about what you’re saying, except one HUGE err. The act of folding. Yes people get greedy, they get tunnel vision, but what happens when a person makes the active choice to play safe and STILL get burned. If you could simply concede in Mahjong that would be ok, but the fact that a lot of the time you are not even allowed to do that means the problem is bigger than simply ones ego. It no longer is about wanting to eat cake, its about being allowed to show remorse. If you conscientiously make the effort to avoid a bad deal you should be rewarded. From my experience many Mahjong games deny you the choice and whip you anyway. That is not something that can be reflected as easily in life. Say no to drugs and YOU WILL be healthier for it. Keep a circadian rhythm every day and YOU WILL be stronger for it. Exercise every day and YOU WILL be fitter for it. I am intrigued to see if you tackle this contradiction and how!
One shouldn’t feel entitled to getting rewards for avoiding bad deals. That’s a trap, especially in games with random elements and incomplete information, like Mahjong. Getting good deals and winning are by-products of solid playing, in my opinion. In the same vain, I don’t view getting busted as unfair punishment. That’s just how the game works. Gotta get over it….
Now, if I conclude (after a log analysis and a short discussion with strong players) that my play was the best move available, I pat myself on the back and move on to more Mahjong. Yeah, it’s THAT easy. The main takeaway: a good play is a good play, regardless of the results! To me, realizing that opened a whole new level of appreciation for this game and a path to becoming stronger. I hope this helps!
BTW: life works the same way. It’s also random and there’s so much beyond your control that you can live the healthiest lifestyle under the Moon and still get terminally-ill or die in an accident. Or get stabbed to death two blocks away from home.