Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jonny: I went a bit barmy... but I'm Buddha now

WORLD Cup winning rugby star Jonny Wilkinson has become a Buddhist — and grown his hair long.

Hair we go ... Jonny Wilkinson now

Jonny turned to the religion after suffering from obsessions and a morbid fear of death.

Now the 13st Newcastle Falcons and England ace — used to flattening burly opponents — is a peace-loving hippy.

Jonny, 29, used to spend hours practising his kicking, and was horrified if he missed even one. But he said he has broken his obsession through the teachings of pacifist the Dalai Lama.The star added his fear of failure on the pitch stemmed from a morbid fear of death. He said: “I couldn’t figure out how to avoid death. It was like a game I could not win.

“The closer I got to family and friends and the better things got, the more I had to lose. But my faith has given me a handle on it, based around the ideas of rebirth and karma.

“I spent my time in fear of not achieving goals.

“Failing at something is one thing, but Buddhism tells us it is up to us how we interpret that failure.” Jonhny, whose drop goal won the World Cup for England in 2003, said: “My obsessiveness is, in some ways, one of my biggest strengths. “But it’s not good if you don’t control it. Now I can step back after practice and say ‘are you sure you want to do more?’

“Even if things haven’t gone perfectly I can flick the switch and go home and enjoy my weekend.”

The fly half now sports a shoulder-length blonde locks. He said: “The new hairstyle represents the new me. But don’t assume I’ve gone back to my old ways if I decide to cut it.”

Other celebs who have adopted the religion, include Hollywood actors Richard Gere and Orlando Bloom and golf ace Tiger Woods.

Report from: The Sun

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