Tiger Woods today stated Buddhism is part of his recovery path: 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.
Hopefully, in addition to be beneficial to him and his beloved ones, this choice will also bring some discussion about what Buddhism means. Buddhism is to value the Three Jewels: buddha, dharma, sangha, to value them in an active way and behave accordingly. Is this explanation so easy? Let’s start from the fact that Buddhism, in reality, should be called Dharmanity, because practitioners live according to the Dharma laws. We can also add that, in addition to the historic Buddha, several other buddhas lived before and after Sakyamuni. The dynamics within the sangha changed a lot over time. The concept of “enlightenment” has been mistreated a lot, as the one of “previous lives”. The word “awakening” is more appropriate to Buddhism than the word “enlightenment”. Buddhism is about awakening, opening our eyes, and see the world as it is. Awakening is here and now, not a mysterious knowledge to crave for; awakening here and now is what Tiger and his family needs.
The Buddhist community (sangha) is forgiving and helpful; at the end the responsibility of one’s rightful living rest on oneself. Buddhism requires a person to be honest, to oneself and the world; to understand it is normal to feel pain, while suffering is constructed by an unskilled mind; to understand it is normal to feel pleasure, while attachment is constructed by an unskilled mind. Tiger Woods, and everyone else who honestly decided to be a better person in a better world, can find in Buddhism an approach to act properly, towards all. We wish him all the best, and think that maybe the time for scoops is over. People who watched him playing, did so to see great golf; the implications of his ethical choices are now a matter of private life between him and his family.