Friday, July 20, 2012

The $1 Meditation

Returning home via the subway this afternoon, I notice a young lady looking at the lottery tickets in her hands. Her face clearly show the expectation of being the next lottery winner, well I can imaging it since the winning price (as least for the sole winner) is a cool S$1.6 million. Wow!!! think about all the cool stuffs this money can buy, maybe can quit that stinky job and retire early too. 

I always wonder (and is also guilty) as to why people would want to buy a lottery given the lousy odds of winner and the near sure odds of losing. If we look around us, we can easily see that people usually dislike uncertainty and perfer certainty. Be it in their lives, religion, career and insurance!!! (infamous to some people I guess) etc, that people feel comfortable knowing things for certain (i.e. no unexpected surprises). 

So it is very interesting why people would buy lottery and risk lossing their hard earn cash for certain in exchange for the uncertain result of winning the lottery. My only guess (due to my economic studies) is that the individual's utility curve (i.e. their happiness curve) is tangent to the price they pay for the lottery and the potential win-fall, such that the price to pay is small (even if it means losing 100% of the money) compared to the bigger  but uncertain "winning".

This leads to a sudden thought, I wonder if I can use the lottery as a form of meditation object. In S'pore, the minimum bet is $1 for the TOTO so this is why I call this article "The $1 Meditation" as one need to pay $1 (which is the minimum bet) first to engage in this execise. The act of buying the ticket will (I hope) create a mental condition or an interest in your mind to wise that you win the lottery, these will hopefully set off many interesting mental formation (this is where the fun begin).

In Buddhism we believe that there are 3 roots of evil (Greed, Hatred and Delusion) in life. That is why I think the lottery will be useful in the following ways:

1) Greed: Think about all the good / nice things that the sole winning price can buy. Watch the mind create all sort of funny stuff and do not interfer in this process, just watch and observe. To make it more interesting, now think about the stuff that the winning is not enough to buy e.g. a landed property etc.

2) Hatred: Think about some other people winning the sole price. Watch the mind become very critical about this person and the storyline the mind create, it will be very interesting.

3) Delusion: If one is mindful enough, one will realised that all those thoughts are just delusion of the mind but the emotion and feeling that arises are so real that one is often carry away.

If one is not mindful one will be carry away by emotion and thoughts. But if one is mindful, one will guard their mind against those thing and it is a very interesting mind execise to watch and observe. Such practice will prove useful in daily lives.

So these are just some random thoughts that arises in me and I am thinking it will be fun to try it out and watch how the mind will react, what sort of stories the mind will make up :D

No comments:

Post a Comment