In Japan, there is a game called “shogi.” It’s a two-player strategy board game like chess, also known as Japanese chess or the game of generals, with rules that are pretty much the same as chess.


But there’s one significant and unique difference: you can use your opponent’s piece after you take it. The rule in chess is that after you take a piece, then that piece does not return to the board. I think this is a very interesting difference in the concept.

There’s a famous quote: “Yesterday’s enemy is today’s friend.” It means that circumstances can change, and even those who were enemies up until yesterday can become friends today.

friend and enemy
Also, Mahayana Buddhism teaches that opposite existences are equal. All opposites come from one source; to exist, one side must have the other side. For example, well doesn’t exist if there is no bad, and positives can’t be recognized if there are no negatives. They all come from the same source.This is explained in the ancient Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang. It is a concept of dualism and it describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate with one another (adapted from Wikipedia).Furthermore, people usually think of Ego, Karma, or someone they don’t like is bad. But when you overcome that Ego or Karma, you learn something. When you overcome your dislike for someone, you learn from that, and then you can recognize that person as a Bodhisattva. You’ll feel so appreciative of people when this happens. Sometimes you dislike and blame people when they try to help you learn something important by being strict with you, but when you confront yourself with this you realize you’ve learned something valuable! And appreciate them.So if you don’t overcome the challenges of Ego, Karma, or not liking someone, then you’ll use this as an excuse and blame them.
The famous Kannon (Avalokitesvara) Bodhisattva is known as the Goddess of Mercy. In the Lotus Sutra, it is explained that Kannon Bodhisattva appears in 33 different forms to rescue people, with various forms appearing according to each person’s needs. For example, Kannon appears as a monk, child, old woman, dragon, etc., and even appears as a demonic ogre to rescue people and provide spiritual development.I’m not a good chess or shogi player. Actually, I can barely win at those games. Also, I don’t like to lose, so I keep a distance from games I can’t win.But there’s a game called “Ninja Hope” that I do play. It’s a two-player strategy board game like chess and shogi, but there’s one significant and unique difference: you use dice to play.
Because dice are involved, there’s an element of chance or luck when you play this game — it’s not all strategy. Chess is very much a game of logic, and luck has nothing to do with playing it. But with Ninja Hope, the dice makes the game much like real life. Whenever it’s your turn you have to fix and change your strategy to find a way to win, but your future is in the hands of Lady Luck.The game of Ninja Hope got me back into playing games again, and with this game, I’m not so scared to lose. Actually, I learned that losing a game is not such a big deal. I also learned that when I have a difficult moment in a game, there’s always a way to keep going. If I stick with one strategy, then it may not work all the time, but if I’m flexible in a situation, there are so many possibilities available to me — there’s potential in each situation.Also, there’s a feeling of energy flowing on the board, cultivating sensitivity and helping me to open up and see the potential in situations that arise. And it helps me understand that there is NO END in anything — it always continues. Nothing will end. Just because I lost a game, got certified, graduated, got married, or retired — even after my death, the journey will still continue.In all those situations, whether I got it or not, lost or not, thought it was good or bad, liked it or not — it doesn’t matter at all. My happiness is not affected by those things anymore. I’m ready to live the mission of my life.Let’s play Ninja Hope and feel that opposites are equal, and become free!(By the way, in Ninja Hope we cannot use an opponent’s piece.) ^^

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