I just heard Tiger's press conference and am impressed. But how does he think Buddhism can cure his sex addiction?
—ForNay, via the Answer B!tch inbox
Well, he didn't exactly say that. What this morning's very deflated version of Tiger Woods did say about his religion—and what it means—is this...
During Woods's closely controlled speech—can't call it a press conference if you don't take questions—he said the following:
"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."
How might all this apply to his continued work at a rehab facility, reportedly for sex addiction? Well, that restraint thing, for one.
"Restraint is something that the Buddha teaches right at the beginning," says Vivian-Lee Nyitray, associate professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at University of California, Riverside.
"If a little child is looking at an image of the Buddha, they'll be told to see the way the body is held so still, the way the eyes are mostly closed off but still open. That's how they learn to restrain the body and not run wild, and to be mostly aware of the world, but to show restraint so that you're not distracted by everything."
Buddhism also encourages practitioners to examine whether their actions are harming others and to concentrate on improving their own behavior instead of chasing sensory pleasures.
"Buddhism discusses an idea best translated as 'attachment,'" Nyitray says. "The idea that we hold onto things too much and that to look for answers beyond oneself is pointless. Buddhism teaches you to start with yourself."
One other point worth mentioning.
In certain traditions, particularly the Thai tradition that likely influenced Woods, "a very early meditation taught is called friendliness meditation," Nyitray tells me, "being friendly to yourself, acknowledging your flaws, giving yourself a break and not punishing yourself by doing destructive things."
Sounds oddly fitting...
Remember: This is really all about cocktail waitresses and porn stars.