Tiger Woods: Sprituality will bring healing

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Today, Tiger Woods gave a statement regarding his recent behavior of infidelity to his wife. During his statement, he reported that he was raised Buddhist, and has drifted away from that belief in recent years. What does the Buddhist religion teach about caring for your health?

Buddhism is a religion or philosophy to about 300 million people around the world, according to Buddhanet. The word comes from “budhi”, which means to awaken. The Buddhist path is described as leading a moral life, being mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and to develop wisdom and understanding.

Despite some beliefs, people who follow Buddhism do not believe the Buddha, or the originator of the religion Siddhartha Gotama, are Gods or idols of worship. Buddhism is more of a way of life or path for achieving enlightenment and compassion. Buddhism is also a belief system which is tolerant of all other beliefs and religions, believing in morality teachings and not “labels”.

As it has been widely reported, Tiger has been in therapy for sex addiction and what he calls the “inability to refrain from impulses.” Many prominent psychologists today are looking to the wisdom of Buddhist followers because of its focus on natural therapies. Karma, for example, is the law that every cause has an effect, or that actions have results. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on changing behaviors to positively affect future health.

The preamble to the World Health Organization charter reads: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Buddhism has a similar belief of good health, emphasizing that there is a balanced interaction between the mind and body, as well as between life and its environment. The optimal condition of health is achieved when the mind and body are functioning together and interacting as one.

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In Buddhism, the first Noble Truth explains that life has suffering – from pain, disease, getting old, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering such as loneliness, frustration, and fear. Buddhism offers hope for avoiding suffering by regaining balance. Part of avoiding suffering is taking care of the physical body through a healthy diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices.

The Second Noble Truth is that suffering is caused by craving and aversion. Buddhism believes that we will also suffer if we always expect to ge4t what we want. Tiger Woods directly addressed this when he spoke of drifting away from his beliefs and caving into impulses. Wanting deprives us of contentment and happiness.

The Third Noble Truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained. Living each day at a time is a primary component of many addiction programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous. This is crucial to improving both physical and mental health. Focus on the efforts made today as it relates to achieving a better future to avoid further suffering.

The Fourth Noble Truth leads a believer to something called an 8-Fold Path. This path focuses on being moral – being aware of thoughts and actions and to develop wisdom from them. It also delivers a message about compassion to others. Health and healing comes from a sense of purpose or mission and compassionate actions for others.

Another prominent tenet of Buddhism is called the 5 Precepts. The moral code of the precepts instructs a follower to not take the life of anything living, not to take anything not freely given, to abstain from sexual misconduct and sensual overindulgence, to refrain from untrue speech, and to avoid intoxication. Obviously Tiger will likely focus on the 5 Precepts during the further therapy he said that he would be undergoing in the next few months.

Tiger is a role model to many, especially children who look up to him for his spectacular achievements in golf. He says he now recognizes that and hopes just to be a better man – someone to truly look up to for both his personal achievements as a moral human as well as his sports ability.

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Comments

CBT only points out flaws in belief systems, but does not advocate specific replacements for them.