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Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Three Poisons

Tiger Woods, the man, the image, and the scandal, demonstrate the three poisons the Buddha cautioned us about: Greed, delusion, and hatred. Woods returned from a 5 month competitive golf hiatus to the Masters and placed in a tie for 4th. Not bad considering, right? You wouldn’t know it from his post-round interview. No acknowledgement of that accomplishment on deriding himself for not having played better. His response seemed to defy gravity — the way we expect objects to behave — when we drop them they fall to the ground. This man will not fall to the ground, will not be humbled, will not come to ground in humility (think humus). This seems to be a continuation of pride, a form of delusion. Once about 1/2 billion dollars into his earning career he talked about needing to earn more money to secure the financial future for his family. Really? Woods apparently started to believe in his image, the image that earned him $100 million dollars a year in endorsement revenue. This image had a reality of its own and operated by its own set of rules. Greed or desire is plain enough to see in his sexual seeking with the backdrop of ever mounting endorsement revenue. Delusion or ignorance is plain enough to see in his misapprehension of the consequences of his actions and his belief that TW was a real entity and not a process engaged in an inter-connected world with others, with everyone: his family, his friends, his sponsors, the PGA Tour and the golfing public and everyone else interested in prurient scandal (I think that pretty much covers everyone). Hatred or aversion is plain enough to see in his contempt for being a normal human being. He created his own set of rules and designed his life to support these rules. Even in his public apology this contempt was evident. He chose to make his plea in the midst of the tournament sponsored by his former endorser, Accenture. Many players and the press considered his timing inappropriate and calculated as a message to Accenture. He then exerted control over who was in attendance and no questions were allowed. He needs to become a human being but he has yet to do so. A recent Golf Magazine article captures the tragic irony that appears to be Tiger Woods, “Here he was  apologizing for playing by his own rules while playing by his own rules; then telling us, in painstakingly enunciated words, that his words don’t really matter.” Woods has re-avowed his Buddhist roots and he have to start with looking at these three poisons and how they still rule his life. I was struck by the condescending, petulant, and solipsistic response to placing 4th at the Masters. Where was the, “Wow, it was great to be out here” … “I feel so thankful to have had the opportunity to play this great event, to receive the support of the fans” … “Well I didn’t win as I set out to do, but I made a good showing.” After all, the world was watching and we’re not idiots.

  • theresa

    Well said, Dr. Kozak. I never have been a Tiger Woods fan, am not a golf fan, and did not follow the Masters. I do, however, agree with Buddha and the three poisons. Turn and face your master, Tiger. Thanks Arnie for framing the lesson so brilliantly. I am grateful for your blog article becaus it reminded me about how hard it is to accept my own humanity.

  • William

    Compassion.

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