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Buddhism in the News


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dalai Lama: Tiger Woods? Who's that?

Besides the obvious advice of cultivating self-discipline, I think the best thing about the Dalai Lama's comments in regard to Tiger Woods and Buddhism was that he needed to be told who Tiger Woods was in the first place!! I think the Dalai Lama's ignorance about celebrities and their lives is a good thing--it's a good example to put forth. So many of us are obsessed with celebrities because we find our own lives unsatisfactory, boring or inadequate in one way or another. This obsession is a craving for a different life, one where we are famous, beautiful and/or rich. Anything but our "ordinary selves."

The world of celebrity looks glamorous and ideal but it's a facade for fellow, flawed humans who are just as miserable as anyone else in this sea of samsara. Because when we peel back the layer of glitz, glamour, make-up and good acting skills we see that they live very flawed lives of sex, drug and money addictions amongst many other chains of suffering that bind them. Our obsession is a form of escapism in a desperate but futile search for happiness in the material world. Yet once we return from the movie or finish reading the celebrity magazine we must face our lives again. The waves of reality come washing back in like a tidal wave to inundate and knock us over with the suffering that we tried to ignore.

This is why, like the Dalai Lama, I generally am not very interested in the lives of celebrities. I appreciate their art but I don't see them as examples of how to live a life with less suffering. One of the only "celebrities" that I think does that is the Dalai Lama himself.

~Peace to all beings~

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turquoisemoon said...

very good...
I'd like to add the news media...I believe it causes frenzy and doesn't appear to simply report news any longer. Before I became a Buddhist, I used to give up any form of news for the 40 days of Lent. And, besides the obsession with celebrities and the frenzy driven news media...I would like to add the advertising industry to the list.

They call him James Ure said...

Turquoise Moon:

Yes, the media and the advertising industry fuel this celebrity obsessed culture. The media has ceased being straight news and seems to have become like the tabloids more and more.

The media and advertising tell us we need MORE--we need the latest gadget that will simply be obsolete in a year. So they hook people into getting the UPGRADED model and on and on.

turquoisemoon said...

You are so right! BTW...luv your posts!

Devin said...

I also have no hate towards celebrities and realize I have feet of clay as they do - but I will never understand how people in the USA and perhaps other nations too get so wrapped up in their lives to the point they don't seem to live in their own world and try to see through this veil of illusion we all live under -well of course some can see through it much better than others!
Great post - all the best to you!!

Jayarava said...

Hey James,

I gather Tiger Woods is good at golf, a game in which I have no interest at all. I've no idea why his private life, or his religion, is interesting to anyone, let alone national "news" media except that scandal and disaster make up the bulk of media content that isn't outright porn.

I agree with Turquoisemoon but think perhaps we should go further and avoid advertising as much as possible at all times - always actively look away from it, turn it down, tune it out; and complain about it to the authorities whenever possible. Advertising is totally about stimulating desire.

Media = Māra;
Advertising = Māra's daughters!

(Devin - given that desire fuels becoming in saṃsāra, is it that big a surprise that we all get caught up in the media and cult's of personality?)

I appear to be becoming more curmudgeonly with each passing day :-)


The Rambling Taoist said...

I'm vaguely interested in the lives of celebrities only because it reinforces the idea that I don't desire to be one!! While it may sound appealing to some to be surrounded by sycophants, me thinks that would be an ugly existence.

nihonshukyo said...

Had to agree with you 100% on this one. I thought it was amusing that the Dalai Lama didn't know who Woods was, and that shows just how unimportant the world of celebrity gossip is, regardless of religion. Celebrity Buddhism is a phenomenon where the wealthy and elite get to dabble in things wihtout making hard choices, so it's a lousy example of Buddhism in real-life, but media is what media is.

As for me, I turned off TV a while ago after my little one was born, and haven't missed it.

Jeremy said...

The Dalai Lama is probably the coolest person in the world.
The Atheist Perspective

kloncke said...

I don't know, y'all...arguably, Tiger Woods is historically important for reasons other than being the world's best athlete in a particular sport: namely, that he was basically the first person of color to establish a phenomenal career in this extremely white field. Even though the media obsession and commodification around him have been extreme and unsettling, I think he certainly has more claim to being an historic figure than, say, Paris Hilton or Britney Spears. Especially for folks of color.

Not saying that His Holiness was somehow wrong for not knowing who Tiger is, but, you's not as if he's a complete fabrication of the celebrity media.

They call him James Ure said...


Yes, I don't understand it either. I posted this in hopes of taking a different angle in hoping that he finds help and hope in Buddhism.


I'm not into golf either. I just wanted to speak about the Buddhist angle to his life. I don't want to get into the lurid details and you're right about most advertising.

Rambling Taoist:

I don't think that'd be a very peaceful life either.


That's exactly the point I was trying to make with the DL's lack of knowledge. That sport and movies are still enjoyable but way to worshiped and attached to.


He is just so honest, common sense and open. How can a person not like him??? The Chinese government is obsessed with him and not in a good way. I think they are so obsessed that they really think they can bully the world to their desires. That's suffering for sure!! They should let go of the DL crusade if only to ease their own suffering!!


I agree that Woods is an amazing figure and transcends racial stereotypes and for that I applaud him. And his golf skills can't be tarnished. I agree with you that this isn't like Paris Hilton.

Riverwolf, said...

I guess I'm a little surprised the he didn't know about Tiger Woods, but it's also quite refreshing. I've been very saddened by how some people are manipulating Tiger's troubles for their own gain. A local radio station here just won't stop with the Tiger jokes and the fake Tiger cell phone calls to mistresses. It really isn't funny, so I change the station.

They call him James Ure said...


Yeah, some people will do anything for a cheap laugh. It really is a very personal issue and shouldn't take away from his golf skills. Would people want to be fired from their job for having an affair?

I'm not saying affairs are good but it's sad to see people feel like it's their business. As if they are in Tiger's family or something. I don't understand people who THRIVE off of drama and scandal.

Buddhist_philosopher said...


"Media = Māra;
Advertising = Māra's daughters!"

Love it - so true (a proud fan of NPR/PBS, the 'good' media, hehe).

They call him James Ure said...

NPR and PBS are great. I like them too. I get most of my "real" news from them too and from online sources. The tee vee is a terrible place to get news now-a-days. Except maybe the exception of the major outlets of ABC, CBS and NBC but even they are getting bad.

G said...

Dalai who? ;-)

Great post, James. (In truth, I'm a bit of a fan of Tenzin Gyatso myself, even if he can't tell the Woods from the trees!)

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