Personally I don't care too much about the whole Tiger Woods "scandal" except how Buddhism fits into it. I'm not one of these people who feels that Tiger Woods personally owes me an apology or any kind of explanation of what he's dealing with. He's apologized to the public and yet that's not enough for some people. They want their pound of flesh. Why do some people live through the lives of celebrities like they are apart of their lives to where they'd deserve an apology? Just leave him and his family alone to deal with their issues. The media is asking, was his apology enough to gain the forgiveness of the public?" As if we all are apart of his personal life!!
This obsession we have in America of worshiping celebrities and then tearing them down when they show that they're human, (just like us) is a highly corrosive aspect to our society. It is escapism to live vicariously through other people, so that we don't have to face our own struggles, obstacles and weaknesses. So, when these celebrities inevitably miss the mark of perfection we feel let personally let down because we have this delusion that our happiness is somehow tied up into how they live their lives. Personally, I think that this incident is between him and his wife but he said in his public statement that Buddhism is helping him deal with his sexual attachments and that's what I'd most like to focus on in this post. Woods said:
"I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it. Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don't realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught."James: Buddhism is a compassionate religion, which I think demands that we give people a second chance because who amongst us hasn't needed one ourselves? I think we should be supporting him whole-heartedly in his pursuit to free himself from samsara. It is quite common for humans to turn to spirituality in times of need and suffering. In that sense perhaps something good can come out of the ashes of Tiger's previous life. In some ways our suffering does us a favor in channeling us toward a path to free ourselves from that misery but you can't force that path onto someone who isn't ready. I think that is in part why we Buddhists don't do much proselytizing. Buddhism doesn't come to you, you have to come to it. Because proselytizing often involves using coercion and fear, which causes suffering. So you're basically causing people suffering to get them to overcome their suffering!! It's a futile exercise. Once Tiger was ready, the teacher arrived to help him blaze a new trail, and I for one wish him the best and support his recovery and dedication to living a life with less suffering.
Perhaps in a strange way to others, Tiger Woods is a role model again in drawing attention to how much attachments can make us suffer and how one can go about alleviating it. So says renowned Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, "The fact that people could see this kind of behavior causes suffering is an incredibly important message for all kinds of people who respect Woods." If someone with such a high profile as Woods can inspire others to deal with their own toxic suffering then this whole situation will have been positive overall. That is where he'll find redemption. He has the potential in this moment to inspire countless people to excel at more than golf. Besides working through this with his family, I can't think of a better way for him to find the redemption he seeks. The compassion in Buddhism is seen in part how each moment we can start a new. May Tiger, his family and his ex-lovers find the peace and happiness that all sentient beings deserve.
~Peace to all beings~