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Buddhism in the News


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tiger Woods Credits Buddhism in Helping Him Deal with Cravings.

(PHOTO: [Getty images] Tiger Wood's embraces his mother who is a devout Buddhist)

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~

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Ambud said...

well said James. I think sometimes that we, the public make situations worse for celebrities.
Celebrities ar human too!
I wish Tiger well on his journey.


Keri said...

I don't care about Tiger Woods and his wandering lusts. I just care that your art is fantastic.

Celestial Horizon said...

Nice blog, how do I "follow" your blog - I don't see any "Follow" button.

I can't care less about Tiger Woods either but I'm wondering why didn't himself about his affairs earlier...14 affairs is a considerable number.

Bonnie said...

Very well said, James.

Amaro said...

Not that i want to glorify any person, or justify any behavior, but this post reminds me of the Buddha's teaching occasioned by Angulimala, the finger-collecting killer. The teaching is about STOPPING - sincere, resolute stopping of habitual actions in order to change direction. This is when one begins one's path of transformation and realization. Sure, the fruits of past actions (which people may justifiably condemn) will "catch up" with one sooner or later, but as a Dharma practitioner, one embraces such karmic fruits with courage and openness, and mindfully choose one's new actions in response to them. It is this-moment karma that really makes a difference.

Meetu2nyte said...

This whole Tiger Woods affair never seems to end. Everyone has something to say about it. I always enjoy listening to Rolonda Watts- her perspective on affairs is actually really thought provoking-

They call him James Ure said...


Well said. We follow them around, harass them and send mixed messages. We celebrate their over the top lives but also want to see them fail to make ourselves feel better about our lives.


THANKS!! I'm so happy to hear when people like my art. You are so nice.

Celestial Horizon:

Do you know about blog readers? Like through Google? You can click on your, "bookmarks" tab at the top of your tool bar. Then select "Subscribe to this page." That will lead you to a reader page to be able to follow all my posts.

I will though try to get a "follow me" set-up.

They call him James Ure said...

Celestial Horizon:

I just put up the "follow me" button.

Jeremy said...

The Tiger Woods affair crap is getting old. The real people that should be concerned are his family and the women he slept with. Unless golf becomes a pornographic in the near future, I don't think people should worry about who he is screwing.
The Atheist Perspective

Review said...

he has let a lot of people down but we have to look at him as just another man and not a star or hero

SUMAZLA/சுமஜ்லா said...

Is Tiger Woods good at writing too?

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