February 19, 2010

For Tiger Woods, why is the religion substitute — therapy — preferable to Buddhism?

I'm looking at the transcript of Tiger Woods's remarks:
My behaviour has caused considerable worry to my business partners, to every one involved in my foundation, including my staff, board of directors, sponsors -- and most importantly, the young students we've reached....
"Worry" = financial loss.
... I have made you question who I am and how I have done the things I did. I am embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry.
Yes! How?
... but there is one issue I really want to discuss. Some people have speculated that Elin either hurt or attacked me on Thanksgiving night. It angers me that people would fabricate a story like that. Elin never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage. Ever....
People weren't fabricating. They were looking at the evidence, which you brought out into the public sphere with that car wreck, and trying to figure out what it mean. That's not nasty prying. It's ordinary speculation about a mystery that's right in front of our faces.
The issue here was my repeated irresponsible behaviour. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame. I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in.

I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting; instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that married people should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them.
Okay. That's how. He thought he was special. (He was!) And he thought he could avoid the rules that applied to ordinary people.
I was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation, and kids all around the world who admired me.

I've had a lot of time to think about what I've done. My failures have made me look at myself in a way I never wanted to before. It's now up to me to make amends, and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I've made. It's up to me to start living a life of integrity.....

I owe it to my family to become a better person. I owe it to those closest to me to become a better man. That's where my focus will be. 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 practised 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.

As I move forward, I will continue to receive help, because I've learned that's how people really do change.

Starting tomorrow, I will leave for more treatment and more therapy.
So then, not Buddhism, but therapy. The problems will not be understood in terms of his traditional religion, but modern American addiction treatment. Why, exactly? Why is the religion substitute — therapy — preferable to Buddhism?
I would like to thank my friends at Accenture and the players in the field this week....
Did he just win an Oscar?
In therapy, I've learned the importance of looking at my spiritual life and keeping it in balance with my professional life. I need to regain my balance and be centered so I can save the things that are most important to me — my marriage and my children. 
Spiritual life, balance, centering... therapy displaces and partakes of religion.
I do plan to return to gold one day....
An amusing typo.
Finally, there are many people in this room and there are many people at home who believed in me. Today, I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.
Believe in him... The echoes of religion are everywhere.


Chennaul said...

It's a "new dawn" for Tiger.

Chennaul said...

Unity - The Dawn of Conscious Civilization
by Maitreya Ishwara

The book of the millennium for the buddhas of the new dawn


MadisonMan said...

Please, make him go away.

Chennaul said...

"buddhas of the new dawn"

excuse me while I go hurl-

ricpic said...

Why all the public confessing? Since Americans forgive a winner anything why not just say nothing and go back to winning golf tournaments?

SarcastiCarrie said...

"Today, I want to ask for your help. Please, stop having sex with me."

Brian said...

Maybe he just misunderstood the tenets of his religion. Or misunderstood the name; maybe he thought is was "booty-ism."

Michael said...

In "therapy" for less than a month and already he has learned balance between his spiritual life and his professional life. Outstanding progress report. Were he practicing zen buddhism he would still be getting whacked by the monk and being asked impossible to answer questions or koans. No wonder he chose therapy. Much quicker.

AllenS said...

"From now on, I promise you that I will take better care of my putter, and I'll wash my own balls". That's golf lingo.

George said...

I wish someday a guy in this situation would just come out and say something like:

"Yes, I slept around. In fact, you have no idea how much I slept around. And you know what--it's a hell of a lot of fun to be able to screw a new hot woman every day if I want to. So go ahead and make fun of me...but don't say you don't envy me."

former law student said...

If religion were all it took, no churchgoing, Bible-believing Christian would ever sin. Look at Jimmy Swaggart. Being a minister of the Gospel did not keep him from consorting with prostitutes.

He's doing a public mea culpa so he can get his endorsements back, just as Swaggart did a public mea culpa so he could get his ministry back.

Anonymous said...

Wow... Tiger's media-whoring abilities are right up there with Sarah Palin's. This wasn't an invocation of the God of Therapy, really, nor a public self-assessment in line with Buddhist Teachings. Instead, this was an offering the the God of Attention. And the God of Attention smiles on Tiger Woods, and approves.

Joe M. said...

Two things:

(1) I've never heard Tiger Woods speak. About halfway through this post, I realized that I was reading the speech to myself with Obama's voice and inflections. I was just waiting for a Let me be clear...

(2) lol : http://www.theonion.com/content/news/tiger_woods_announces_return_to

Joe M. said...

That Onion link.

John Stodder said...

He's doing a public mea culpa so he can get his endorsements back, just as Swaggart did a public mea culpa so he could get his ministry back.

Except that's not going to happen til he starts playing golf again.

On his long list of people whose lives he damaged, did he happen to mention the other golfers on the tour? His absence is damaging the sport and thus damaging them.

I think I'm in a minority on this, but I think Tiger should get his ass back to work. He doesn't need to be home full time to work on his marriage or practice Buddhism. If he feels the need to bring a chaperone, fine, he can certainly afford it. But the whole golf industry, real people who have jobs and need jobs, most of whom are not making millions or anything close to it, need him. Think of those people, Tiger.

The fact is, I don't think his life is all that great. People on tour are often miserable much of the time, even if they are highly compensated and flattered to the skies at every stop. An acceptance of the trade-offs that come with his life, and everyone else's, would be the most healing thing he could do.

Geoff Matthews said...

"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."

So is he giving back his endorsement deals then?

There there's this:


kjbe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joaquin said...

What's the difference between Tiger and John Edwards?
Elin doesn't have cancer.

Geoffrey Britain said...

Wow Althouse is this an example of "Cruel neutrality"?

It's certainly an example of cruel but far from neutral. That lack of 'neutrality' is obvious in your responses to Wood's statement. You parse the statement and consistently choose the most negative interpretation possible.

I suspect that your own outrage as a woman toward betrayal in marriage is coloring your perceptions.

And btw, I'm neither a fan of Woods nor of golf.

Yes, what he did to his wife and family is reprehensible, stupid and appallingly cruel and selfish. That said, "let he without sin cast the first stone"...applies as well.

Just too illustrate my point, look at your first judgment rendered from on high; "Worry" = Financial loss.

Acknowledging the natural anguish or 'worry' (poor word choice) that other people's livelihood has been directly impacted by his actions is not necessarily motivated by selfishness, yet you and many of the commenters presume that self absorption is his motivation.

Woods is also referring to a charitable foundation and expresses his concern over the negative impact it will have upon everyone connected to that foundation and it's students. What is self-serving about that?

He takes full responsibility. Indicates that Buddhism's lessons complement the therapy which has allowed him to see that the source of his behavior was his selfish assumption that normal rules didn't apply to him (not unique among celebrities folks) and rationalized that these 'perks' were due him because of his hard work (sacrificing a normal adolescence) and his fame and fortune. He staes that he shall turn back to Buddhism and return to therapy, implicitly acknowledging that he needs to do more soul searching.

Cut the guy some slack people, he's not perfect, he has admitted that he f**ked up and taken full responsibility and he's lost his reputation, which is no small thing.

Just for a moment, consider what Abraham Lincoln had to say on the matter:
"If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem."

"He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help."

Unknown said...

Therapy and religion go hand in hand. Good therapy includes religion/spiritualty. There's no need to choose one or the other.

There is no good way for Tiger Woods to apologize that will satisfy a pathetic public who distracts themselves from their own depravity by dissecting every move Tiger makes.

Bender said...

It is rather amazing the extent to which people presume to be Tiger's judge.

Thankfully for them, they are not public figures. Hence, they can confess their grievous sins in private, either in the confessional or otherwise, rather than have to make public confession and public contrition, where bloodthirsty hypocrites are all too eager to gleefully grab rocks to stone him with.

traditionalguy said...

Could it be that Tiger is growing up with the help of therapists that are implanting into his mind (teaching) the tools of boundaries in personal relationships? As long as it deals with persons in relationships it is at its base from a Judeo/Christian world view and not a Buddhist world view. Buddhists deny that persons should assert their needs and respect other's needs as a legitimate part of relating to the vast semi-physical and mostly spiritual realm we inhabit. But Judeo/Christian "sin" as a concept is also the recognition of our personal existence in relationship to other persons and to the Person who is love and light that calls himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob...a list of problematic persons if ever there was one. The Buddhist view of us as a Nothingness results in the farthest thing from a relationship among persons who have boundaries...why relate to and love a nothing? Why not ignore it, or enslave it, or let it suffer on its own? Karma is a bitch in which there is no Savior.

Bender said...

By the way, since we are on the subject, for those who live in the D.C. area, the Diocese of Arlington is partnering with the Archdiocese of Washington in an initiative called "The Light is On For You." In addition to regularly scheduled Confessions, every Catholic Church in the Diocese of Arlington and the Archdiocese of Washington will be open during the Wednesdays of Lent from 6:30 to 8 p.m. for the Sacrament of Confession and quiet prayer. Many places also offer Confession every day.

Cassie said...

Call me a cynic, but I'm not comfortable with this very public apology. It's my understanding of 'modern American addiction treatment' or 12-step programs, that amends are to be made directly (with the exception of causing harm to that person). With his handlers history, I question the motivation behind it. It was nothing short of a media circus. This should be a private matter. I fear it may have caused more harm than good. Time will tell.

And I question, whether or not Tiger was/is yet ready to be making any amends. It's not that he didn't sound contrite, but he doesn't sound like he yet has the insight into his own addiction. Until he understands his own motivations for doing what he did, will he be able to work on a way out. There was no rush, from a recovery standpoint, to do this.

The Crack Emcee said...

Reaching Out to a "Higher" Power Don't Work.

knox said...

You should combine two of those tags into one called "lightweight marriage."

Please, make him go away.


Geoffrey Britain said...

Cassie, I suspect many of us share your concerns to one degree or another. That said, how can we know he hasn't made personal amends to everyone who would accept it?

And he has, from the start, requested and tried to keep this private.

His public notoriety however has clearly made that impossible. Many people have complained that he's taken too long to publicly address this issue. Clearly a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Nothing he can do will satisfy everyone because some demand nothing less than that he commit sepuku...and even then, they would demand that it be televised.

Mark O said...

Tiger is nothing if not calculating. This staged and scripted event was nothing if not manipulative.

Other than to begin the process of public redemption and to let everyone know that (1)Elin did NOT break his face requiring him to slip off to Arizona and (2) he has NEVER used HGH, what was the point?

Let's see if our intrepid media can find someone in Phoenix who is not under a confidentiality agreement or someone else who is among those to whom he bragged about HGH. Were those statements to be challenged sucessfully, Tiger would be finished. But, I think he knows that and, thus, the challenge. Didn't it sound a bit like "Follow me around?"

Well, only the HGH can destroy his career. After all, he didn't take the drug, he only sent away for the person who distributes it.

Ralph L said...

He might be going back to treatment because the wife doesn't want him at home, and he doesn't want to be seen to be separated.

John said...

I would have so much more respect for Tiger Woods if he would just tell people it is none of their business and to pound sand. The groveling is just pathetic.

First, Tiger Woods is not a sex addict. He is a famous man who wasn't mature enough or interested enough to give up the perks of fame when he got married. How many women has someone like Mick Jagger slept with? A lot more the Tiger. Is he a sex addict? Should people stop listening to the Rolling Stones because he cheated on Jerry Hall?

Second, Tiger is not sorry for what he did. He is sorry he got caught. There are two ways that you can tell that someone is really sorry. The first way is if the act is something that is a one off accident. For example, I am sure that Dante Stallworth is sorry that he ran over that man in Florida. I have no doubt he didn't plan to do that. It really did just happen due to a one time lapse of judgment. In contrast, whenever someone does something multiple times with deliberate planning the way Woods did with his girl friends, they are not sorry for doing it. If they were, they would have never done it in the first place. The only way you can take their apology as legitimate is if they stop of their own volition and apologize before they got caught. If they apologize after they get caught, they are just sorry they got caught.

Third, Tiger doesn't owe anyone other than his wife and family any explanation for this. He is not my husband. It is none of my business how he treats his wife. As a spectator my only business with Tiger is how he plays golf. If he had been caught using steroids or throwing matches or doing something that related to my relationship with him as a fan, he would absolutely owe me and every other fan an explanation and an apology. But he didn't do that. He ran around on his wife. And he owes her and his children an explanation and an apology not me or anyone else.

Lastly, can't for once someone be a man and accept the consequences of their actions? The fact is that Tiger Woods thought banging random women than he did of the feelings of his wife and kids. That is it. There is nothing else to say or do. It is what it is. He is going to lose his wife. But he is losing her because his choices. So I wish he would just shut up with the pathetic "I am in rehap I am so sorry crap." It is just pathetic.

He needs to go out and go back to work, take his lumps and tell the media to get bent. What is done is done. I am so sick of the "you can do anything just go and cry about it on Oprah" culture we have.

AllenS said...

He would have been better off if he just said, "I'll be back playing on ......." If he thinks that it's a private matter, then don't talk about it.

John said...

"If he thinks that it's a private matter, then don't talk about it."

Exactly. I want my privacy and to be left alone. Now let me spend 20 minutes groveling about all this stuff I just said was none of your business.

AllenS said...

John, you used the long form to say what I did.

Cassie said...

That said, how can we know he hasn't made personal amends to everyone who would accept it?

I’ll try to answer, but I’m not sure I’m clear on the question – my point was, that each amend should be private and direct, as much as is possible and that we don’t need to know who he’s making them to or whether or not they’ve been accepted. If he chooses to make an amend to ‘X’, that’s between him and ‘X’. And it’s X’s prerogative whether or not to accept. To me, the main point of the amends is not to get forgiveness, but to understand what you did and to take steps to behave differently. If you can honestly say you’re clean with it. You’re clean with it. If you’re forgiven – that’s gravy.

As far as him having to bow to public notoriety, I think that’s a bit red herring. I suppose there could have been some sort of public statement, as an amends, to the general public, but something considerably shorter and to the point. Yes, damn trying to satisfy everyone – his own recovery should be his only concern. Everything else will follow.

Ray said...

Ah, the ritual act of contrition. As Gearge said above, just once I'd like a public figure caught in something embarassing to say something like "Yeah, I did it. And since it's loads of fun I'm going to keep doing it. I'll do it in a less public manner, but I've got metric shi'tons of money, so let's be honest folks, the risk/reward is completely different for me than it is for most of you poor bastards. Tiger, out."

What's the difference between Tiger and John Edwards?
Elin doesn't have cancer.

Well, there's also the fact that Tiger Woods never held public office, attempted to become the leader of the free world, lectured the rest of us on what's wrong with the country, or attempted to make any public moral stance (that I know of) other than trying to convince you to buy Buick and/or Nike products.

I've had a hard time with this whole thing in that anyone who's last name isn't Woods thinks their opinion matters on this. We intrude into politicians lives in the interest of knowing whether or not we can trust that person with power (or at least that's how we rationalize it). But this is a guy that hits a ball around a field for a living. He does it very well, but we've got zero business gawking, or judging. I have zero investment in whether Tiger Woods is faithful to his wife, or if they swing, or if he's the most miserable SOB who ever walked the face of the earth. I'm not going out for beers with the guy. He's a guy that hits a ball around a field for a living. That implies nothing, requires nothing of his character. And as long as he hits that ball in an entertaining fashion, he's fulfilled the only obligation he's made to all but a handful of people.

And yet, with two wars going on, a dubious financial recovery, and people flying into buildings, this is national news.

Unknown said...

because his wife made him go to therapy, and because many christians in america wouldnt take him seriously if he said he was going on a buddhist retreat. just ask brit hume.

AllenS said...

What the fuck is sex therapy? I don't understand the concept.

former law student said...

Elin Woods is still smokin' hot.

One of the reason women liked John Edwards rev. 2004 is because he stayed with Elizabeth after she porked up.

AllenS said...

Yeah, right. Kinda like Bill staying with Hillary.

traditionalguy said...

Confessing to failures/sins and making a public statement that he will not do them again is all a big plus. If he half believes it, then he is headed in the right direction by exercising his will. Getting free from a habit that pumps out hormones like drugs is an intense struggle. God have mercy on him. it will be interesting to see how he relates to the other competing golfers. Will he show kindness that a broken man usually learns to show?

Ray said...

What the fuck is sex therapy? I don't understand the concept.

"Generally speaking, however, it is used to characterize the works of satisfaction imposed or recommended by the priest on or to the penitent. Traditionally, penance has been viewed as a punishment (the Latin poena, the root of pen(it)ance, means "punishment"), and varying with the character and heinousness of the offences committed. In the feudal era "doing penance" often involved severe, often public, discipline, which could be both harsh and humiliating but was considered edifying."

Now, substitute "Access Hollywood" for "priest".

AllenS said...

So you go to the sex therapist doctor, and he says: "take two of these and call me in the morning." You get home and the label on the container says: sansViagra?

Cassie said...

Not to nitpick, but I haven’t heard Tiger say he’s a sex addict. It’s not so much the ‘what’ or the ‘how much’ that you’re doing, it’s the why. He claimed today that he’s caused himself and those close to him (or rely on him) a great deal of pain. We don’t know the extent to which he’s committed to this or that he’s only doing this because he got caught. He may not know that. But, he’s getting help and I’m sure he’s free to leave if he wants.
Why not just let him try and figure this out for himself (maybe he tried your way and it didn’t work for him).

Will he show kindness that a broken man usually learns to show?
That's the key question, isn't it?

AllenS said...

sex addict

That's another concept I can't understand.

Anonymous said...

sex addict

That's another concept I can't understand.

Nor do I want to!

WV: Bootedly <--Wow!

William said...

I am grateful to the 13,725 women who refused to be enablers of my sex addiction. And, of course, special thanks to all those porn stars who declined to have a threesome with me in a luxury suite in Las Vegas. Who knows what levels of debasement my addiction would have reached were it not for the high character of the waitresses at Hooters?

TMink said...

I thought this was textbook on how to take responsibility for your actions and appologize to those you hurt.

wv = dedlyho, but I will not go there

Fred4Pres said...

I feel bad for Tiger and his wife and family. I hope he works this out. I think he recognizes the problem, let's see if he is sincere by his actions.

I feel nothing but contempt and loathing for John Edwards.

Bender said...

I thought this was textbook on how to take responsibility for your actions and apologize to those you hurt.

It struck me as a sincere confession of fault and public contrition.

PatCA said...

Returning to Buddhism? Is he having an affair with Goldie Hawn, too?

I really lost respect for him for abasing himself for money. Doesn't he have enough? The only excuse I can think of is that his partners threatened to sue him if he didn't try to repair things--I don't know if that's a cause of action, but o/w I think the statement stinks.

knox said...

What the fuck is sex therapy


Methadras said...

Did he just win an Oscar?

A lot of people think he did with this little performance. This is all a PR stunt. He didn't have to say a word about any of this, but to save his endorsement deals to keep his standard of living to what it needs to be Elin more or less told him to get his shit straight or he will lose it all, mostly to her. This is purely money driven and you can see he's a caged lion in a corner. He has literally fucked himself into this mess and he didn't want it to end, but now it has to and it pisses him off deep down in his core. He wants it all, the girls, the special treatment, the parties, the wife, the money, the endorsements, the whole thing and he's pissed that he has to give it all up for the public show being contrite, apologetic, and nearly weepy about the whole thing.

This is awesome golf drama, people today were even gabbing about it in a meeting I had. It nearly ate up the purpose we had to have a meeting about in the first place. Here is to another week or two of this. Best thing to happen to golf. Cheers.

Methadras said...

Tiger, next time you want to fuck around, go to the high paid professionals who will keep their mouths shut for the right price. You screwed up when you trolled below your station to the low hanging fruit.

HT said...

"I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in."

Bullshit. The whole thing is bullshit. Anyone who's ever done the most superficial reading on him, knows that he has always been an insensitive cad. I mean, gross and just...yuck.

It's not that he went off the rails, he was never on them. I couldn't watch, fearing he'd use the word "faith," and I'd be instantly disgusted. I think he did use that word - heard it waiting in line at the bank and the TV was on.

Linus said...

"Everyone, I was a selfish, egotistical jerk for years and years. I mean, who wouldn't be, if you had my kind of talent. And I used my fame and money to have sex with as many women as I could. I did this not only for years before I was married, but also for years after I pretended to make solemn promises to Elin. And yet, in the short space of three months I have, by my own free choice, made a totally sincere, and not-calculated-for-profit repudiation of all that behavior which is off-putting to the American consumer, er, uh, I mean, that behavior which was wrong and bad and stuff. Sorry."

The Dude said...

He looked terrible. Very pale. Maybe that's what happens when he goes 3 months without sex.

I heard he's going to end up on Oprah.

WV - rherpa - seriously!

kentuckyliz said...

Oh how precious--the British spelling of behaviour. How colourful.

Is that you AA, or is it Tiger, or his British PR speechwriter?

That's something my overly Anglophile brother would do.