‘How Tiger gets his Mojo Back’
– The Mandate of Heaven –
I know there is a higher power and what I have to do to achieve what I am after.
Last November, after witnessing his final round beat-down at the hands of Phil Mickelson at the HSBC in Shanghai, it seemed clear to me Tiger had lost what Chinese call ‘Tien Ming ’, his ‘Heaven Luck‘, his Mojo. Over the previous six months I’d seen inauspicious omens. The first was Tiger missing a short uphill birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff at the 2009 Barclay’s. Then a few weeks later, Y.E. Yang leaped into the Zone with an eagle at 15 and exalted play down the stretch to catapult ahead and win the P.G.A. Yang stole lightning and thunder to out-tiger, Tiger. His final round collapse at the 2009 Tour Championship raised more concerns, but Tiger’s meltdown at Sheshan Golf confirmed it.
In 2004, I wrote in The Secret of the Inner-Swing: “In ancient China, the Emperor’s ‘Tien’ (Heaven) ‘Ming’ (Destiny) – his Mandate of Heaven and divine right to the Dragon Throne – depended upon correct, virtuous actions undertaken for the good of all.Many people, including me, believed that Tiger had a ‘Mandate of Heaven’ – a Spiritual Destiny. The first time I saw him play, I knew Tiger was the ‘Chosen One’. Earl repeatedly said: “Tiger was sent here for a specific purpose. The Man upstairs has chosen him“. I ended this chapter stating: “If the Emperor violated his sacred trust, Heaven removed its Mandate and the Dragon Throne passed to another…and likewise, as the ‘Chosen One’, Tiger Woods continued luck in golf and life are inextricably tied to his correct alignment with Heaven, Earth and Humanity.”
I didn’t know what Tiger had done to offend Heaven (the Celestials in the East, the Golf Gods in the West), but I knew it had to be something big. On November 9th, 2009, I emailed several friends predicting Tiger’s downfall. Then, two weeks later, his world exploded. And now, despite flashes of brilliance, Tiger no longer sustains play the Zone, or goes low. If Tiger’s lost his Mojo, one way to regain it is through Buddhist practices.
– Making Merit –
Buddhism plays a major role in giving me the clarity, inner peace, and calmness,
I probably would not have achieved at such a young age. I owe it to my Mom.
In his televised apology Tiger reclaimed his Buddhist roots. From a young age, he’s worn a Buddha amulet around his neck, and a threaded bracelet blessed by monks — a Dai Sai Sin — around his wrist. But few Westerners know that the form of Buddhism that is practiced in Thailand is Theravada, which is based upon the concept of ‘Boon‘ or ‘positive merit’, which also translates as ‘good karma’. A correct understanding of Boon, and the value of moral behavior and daily meditation from a Theravadic perspective may help Tiger regain his inner peace, redeem his life, restore his reputation, and regain the magical ability to play and live in the Zone.
Boon is spiritual currency. And Thai Buddhists know that the more Boon you have the more healthy, wealthy, happy, and lucky your life will be. Thai Buddhists know that we spend our Boon through the process of living our daily life, and they know we must continually replenish and re-accumulate Boon. They know that in order for a person to do great things they need a lot of Boon. They also know that Boon is transferred with us as we move from life, to life, to life though the process of reincarnation. So, the more Boon we have, the better our next life experience and situation will be. And if we can accumulate enough Boon, then we can perform all manner of miracles and wonders. So, for Tiger to redeem his life, restore his reputation, regain his ability to play in the Zone, get his Mojo back, and reclaim his Heavenly Mandate, then he must replenishing his Boon.
– Selfless Giving –
I believe in Buddhism. Not every aspect, but most of it.
In Theravada Buddhism there are three ways to accumulate Boon. The first of these is called Dana, (philanthropy, giving back). It is similar to tithing in Western religions). In Thailand, one example of Dana (merit making activity) is seen everywhere in the country at dawn as barefooted, saffron-robed monks and novices walk down every soi, street, road and thoroughfare reverently gathering alms. People make merit by offering food, cash donations, flowers, incense, robes, and medical supplies for the monks. Larger merit making ceremonies are held to allow people to give alms to up to ten thousand monks. Entire families take part, from young children to the most elderly. All dress in white as a sign of respect. Everyone meditates and chants together at sunrise before the procession of monks begins. People kneel in long lines stretching many city blocks, as barefoot monks pass by, one by one, briefly stopping to allow offerings to be placed in their alms bowls. A tremendous amount of Boon is created and accumulated. And the more you give, the more Boon you get.
Because the monks do the real spiritual practices –- teaching people about the Buddha Path, teaching people how to meditate, and taking care of the temple facilities — they don’t work to earn money. So when people give money to the temples, this allows the monks to do the real spiritual practices, which helps Buddhism to flourish. The monks, by maintaining the connection between Heaven, Earth and Humanity, do all the heavy lifting. The selfless generosity of all who donate earns Boon. And likewise, Tiger earns Boon and rebuilds his reputation by generous selfless giving.
– Moral Virtue –
I like Buddhism, because it’s a whole way of being and living. It’s based on discipline, respect, and personal responsibility.
Sila refers to what Theravada Buddhist’s call The 5 Precepts. These 5 Precepts are the strict moral code of behavior for lay people – like the 10 Commandments in the West. The first Precept is ‘No Killing’. The second is ‘No Stealing’. The third is ‘No Sexual Misconduct’. The fourth Precept is ‘No Lying’. And the fifth Precept is ‘No Intoxication’. Monks have 227 Precepts. Lay people who do Buddhist spiritual practice have 8 Precepts. The monks teach us that Sila (following the 5 Precepts) attracts to us health, luck, happiness, material wealth, and all types of good fortune. Each day that we uphold a Precept we accumulate Boon. Each time we break a Precept we earn negative merit, or Bop. The monks teach that each Precept we follow and adhere to is considered 20% of truly being human. By following all 5 Precepts we are fully 100% human. If, for example, we lie, engage in adultery (sexual misconduct) and intoxication (with alcohol or drugs) –- as Tiger has done — we are only 40% human and create a huge amount of negative merit, Bop. Rather than accumulate Boon (spiritual capital) in our luck account, we deplete it and become spiritually bankrupt. If this happens our health, fortunes, prosperity, and happiness will be negatively affected and diminished.
Tiger cannot clean his bad karma, but he can dissolve it, especially if his associates practice right livelihood. Practicing The 5 Precepts is like adding the sweetest and purest crystal clear spring water (Boon) to a glass filled with salt (Bop, bad karma). Eventually the salt (Bop, bad karma) will dissolve and the glass (his life) will only be filled with the sweetest and purest crystal clear spring water (Boon). The salt is still there but it’s so diluted that all he will taste is the sweet Boon. And Bop (bad karma) can’t easily follow him to negatively affect his life. The monks teach us no one is perfect, and the things we have done that are wrong were done out of ignorance. For Tiger, the way to make it better is to forget the things he has done wrong and to create a new life by giving to others selflessly, and judiciously keeping the 5 Precepts.
– Daily Meditation –
In Buddhism, if you want to achieve enlightenment,
you have to do it through meditation and self-improvement through the mind.
Theravada Buddhism teaches that the way to accumulate the greatest amount of Boon is through meditation, Bhavana. The practice of meditation develops the skills of energy circulation and energy cultivation. Meditation teaches you how to draw energy in, how to circulate it, exchange and intermingle it with nature and the Cosmos.
When a person does not practice the 5 Precepts all the bad things they have done get regurgitated when they try to go within and meditate. So, it’s hard to still the mind. And if the mind can’t be stilled, Nirvana can’t be achieved, and Boon can’t be accumulated. This is why Tiger’s putting, in particular, has suffered. The monks also teach us that following The 5 Precepts (Sila) draws us to Nirvana (Enlightenment), and that the way to Nirvana is through meditation. If we break any of these 5 Precepts we create inner turbulence rather than inner peace, so we can’t meditate. Daily meditation creates the strongest and greatest amount of Boon. And if we can’t meditate, we don’t gather Boon, and lose inner peace and power. Meditation allows the mind to abide in its natural state of tranquility, silence, and stillness. In meditation the mind does not move, and its power, when at standstill, is without limit. When Tiger’s mind is still, he can traverse higher dimensions and unleash his Qi; his energetic powers; his Mojo.
– Spiritual Alignment –
Meditation and Buddhist training by Tiger’s mother Kultida instilled in Tiger
a deep, intuitive sense of the spiritual-energetic dimensions of life.
As a Green Beret, Earl trained Tiger in mental warfare so he could dominate and succeed in the ultra-competitive Western golf arena. But Western golf has been corrupted by its focus on winning at all costs and by measuring success by the amount of victories, and prize money won. Golf is not about warfare, aggression, or negative emotions. And its not about making the course a battleground instead of a Garden of Eden. Golf is a Spiritual Game, not a Mental Game. The real game is about creating inner peace and healing by experiencing the fullness of our Creative Spiritual Nature. Golf’s higher purpose, and Tiger’s Mandate, is to inspire, heal, and uplift.
When Tiger plays the game from its natural place he connects Earth and Heaven in full circulation, he connects with his ancestor energy, his Earth consciousness and historical roots to play the way he was born to. For Tiger, living with ethics, morality, honesty, and righteousness, will instill the virtue and spiritual power to do great things. If Tiger lives his life so he cultivates Boon through daily meditation (Bhavana), keeping the 5 Precepts (Sila), and generous giving (Dana), his success is assured. If Tiger fulfills the ideals of what a ‘Chosen One’ is supposed to be — and how he is supposed to spiritually relate to himself, his family, his community, history, the game of golf, the Earth, and the Universe — he will traverse the Zone, scale the heights, regain his Mandate, and soar…