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March 16th, 2010
07:18 PM ET

How does Buddhism help Tiger Woods?

AC360°

On February 19, 2010, Tiger Woods made a statement about his infidelity, and talked about a plan to heal his marriage and restore his fans' faith. While we don't know the specifics about the therapy he received, we do know that he is returning to a lifestyle that includes an observance of Buddhism. Here is what he said:

"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 and 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."

With his past of stardom, wealth, success, and glory, can Woods commit to the principles of Buddhism? Will it help put his family and career back on track? Let us know what you think, and tune in at 10pm ET for more on his return to golf.

Core Buddhism beliefs

Buddha is Not a God

The Buddha was an ordinary man, who 2,500 years ago saw clearly into the true nature of reality. As such, Buddha’s teachings are not set rules to follow, nor the only wisdom in the world. Rather, they should be seen as advice to consider, from someone who has ‘gone beyond’ everyday views, ideas, and conceptions. Many have also become ‘enlightened’ before Buddha, have since the Buddha, and will in the future.

Sex is Neither Bad nor Good

In Buddhism, it is less the act of sex, or when or with whom it is performed that is important. More important is the motivation, attachment, and consequences of any act.

The Afterlife

Buddhism teaches that in an interconnected world, all actions have consequences (karma). The consequences of acts undertaken in this and earlier lifetimes will be felt in a next one, in a process known as reincarnation. It is a Buddhist aim to educate oneself and meditate in order to escape from this cycle of rebirth, to enter Nirvana.

Healing

Buddhism believes that our external situation is created by our internal minds. This is equally true for our health and the state of our bodies. Many Buddhists use meditation, mantras, and prayers alongside medicines to help heal themselves – see HealingMeditation.net for more information on how this is done.

It’s Good to Be Good

Buddhists believe in the idea of karma (a logical extension from everything being interconnected). What we do to others will ultimately affect ourselves.

Hence Buddhism advocates doing good deeds, but not just the following strict rules. It is up to the individual to consider the wisest course of action for their future long term happiness. Five precepts, or ‘guides’, are often given as advice as to actions that will often most lead to beneficial outcomes. They are: not to lie, steal or defraud, kill or injure others, hurt via sexual relationships, and to not further cloud your mind with too many intoxicants.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.

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Filed under: Religion • Tiger Woods
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Sam Quang

    Sure buddhism can help tiger, but that only tiger willing to listen and learn.

    March 17, 2010 at 5:53 am |
  2. Vatch

    The Buddha said,'overcoming desire is happiness.'
    'Be mindful before and when facing any craving.'
    'Craving brings suffering, sadness, worry, doubt, yearning, excitement, possessiveness, etc.'
    I am Buddhist and practice the five precepts. Meditation helps with inner calm and clarity. Tiger Wood understood his actions, and the price of his actions. More of what Buddha's words,'have loving kindness toward all living beings.' Now, leave Tiger alone, nobody's perfect. That including 'you' who pass judgment.

    March 17, 2010 at 3:41 am |
  3. Dr Sailendra Narayan Tripathy

    Tiger Woods will learn greater control if he pursues Buddhism.....

    March 17, 2010 at 3:40 am |
  4. Kathe

    I am very tired of hearing about the personal lives of celebrities...however, am heartened that Tiger has spoken about his Buddhist practice...truly, a spiritual practice is the basis for a happy human being...
    i have been a Buddhist for over 30 years....a form of buddhism that many in this country don't know about...and it has transformed my life...and iI do believe that ultimately a happy and mentally healthy person takes responsibility for ones' life and actions...which creates good 'karma' and an unheatlhy person makes himself and those around him, or her, unhappy and creates negative "karma" which will result in suffering. ...Buddhism is about 'enlightening our negative tendancies ..and a practice such as the buddhist practice involves striving to become more enlightened and aware..in order to .create a peaceful and aware world....so i wish Tiger and his family all the best and hope that his buddhist practice will serve him and his family well.......

    March 17, 2010 at 2:55 am |
  5. Shaun

    Let he who has not sinned, cast the first stone.

    Tiger will find his way back to the path that leads to true happiness.

    March 16, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  6. Tom

    We all fall down. Let's wish him well as he gets back up. If his religion helps all the better.

    March 16, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  7. Shira

    Buddhists do not believe that "it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." The original followers of the Buddha included wealthy and poor people, high-caste people and untouchables, even women and slaves. Anyone, of any station, can commit to the principles of Buddhism and put them into practice.

    March 16, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  8. Annie - Boulder, Colorado

    Leave Tiger alone. Anyone thrust into the limelight with so much wealth and power has to deal with their demons, because they will emerge. So now he can work with them... in front of everyone. As for the take on Buddhism. Accurate, but pedestrian.

    March 16, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  9. Allison M

    I have a far different perspective from those here. I actually thought your question was rhetorical. I am not writing to pass judgment on another person...that is easy. Simply put, golf (like many sports) requires an intense ability to focus...to be calm and approach the moment with ease. That is just one benefit of most spiritual practices, esp meditation. If Woods was raised with that kind of practice, and the ethics flowing from any such awareness...he clearly has lost much of his connection with them. But, I would say that he certainly benefited early on from that level of awareness. If he wants to pick up that lost thread and try to make his life work...I for one hope he can do that – for his family and for himself.

    March 16, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  10. Larry

    What does his admitted, run thru the wringer all over the world, got to do with golf? I'm not perfect, guess Tiger & I are the only ones.

    March 16, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  11. Annie Kate

    If Buddhism is what brings things together for him, then I'm certainly glad he found it. However, living here in the Bible Belt I don't think it will buy him many "points" with the fans. He just needs to get back out on the course and win a few and the fans will flock back.

    March 16, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
  12. Carol B.

    This is SO lame. He's an adulterer and it seems as thought his gold-digging wife beat him with a club. NO . You're not a "sex addict" which is what cheaters claim to get out of trouble. You're just a PIG X 12 +, and your "wife" is staying w/ you for your financial potential. After all, YOUR face is ONLY one your mother could love. Trust.

    March 16, 2010 at 8:33 pm |