Thread: Disrespecting the image of the Buddha

  1. #1
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    Disrespecting the image of the Buddha

    Hello,

    I am particularly struggling with the idea of being offended by someone disrespecting Buddha's image and teachings and I thought I'd ask for some opinions on this matter.

    Today, I came across a picture posted online by a fashion blogger in which two Buddha statutes were shown with a shelf balancing on their heads (potentially acting as a table of some sort). I wasn't particularly offended, although it did bring me to think about how Western cultures, especially Eastern European ones which are almost entirely dedicated to Christianity, are unaware of the Buddha and his practices. My problem is mainly based around the fact that the person in question has thousands of followers and she is spreading a negative image of Buddha - more so using his name and image aesthetically, rather than spiritually.

    I wasn't sure whether to comment and inform the person in a reasonable manner about the issue in order to prevent this from happening in the future which could possibly make her aware of the bigger picture or whether I should leave it be and analyse this feeling that I am experiencing in order to let it go.

    There is certainly a thin line between getting attached to the Buddha's image and simply making someone aware of how it might make other people feel, right? What are your opinions on this?

    Many thanks in advance!
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    Forums Member daverupa's Avatar
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    This is certainly my upbringing and predilections coming into play... but honestly, why bother with such concerns at all? It's like getting offended because of the use of a wheel here:



    Neither this wheel, nor statues of buddhas, are in any way things to be revered. They're tools of remembrance, maybe, but turning them into objects of reverence that need protection and good treatment... this is very off-target, isn't it?

    Maybe the idea of a faith-follower, and cultural Buddhism in general, is at the root of these bhakti approaches to the Buddha.

  3. #3
    Welcome Andraraluca,

    The Buddha didn't tell his followers to make statues of him after his death, it was something that occured at a much later time. Its also worth remembering that the statues are idealised, vary from one culture to another and probably don't look much like the man who was the historical Buddha at all.

    Usually companies mass produce Buddha images, Buddha heads, Buddha ornaments and lamp stands etc because there's a popular market for them commercially. Non-Buddhists can find them attractive and trendy both as ornaments indoors or in their gardens. My local supermarket has one end of a shelf full of half-seated Buddhas with head resting on hands on one knee, as well as disembodied Buddha heads of varying sizes - and they're always popular in gardening shops alongside statues of rabbits and squirrels at this time of the year, as an alternative to the garden gnomes and fairies that used to be around in the past.

    I think its worth taking all of that into consideration and remembering that we can't control the actions of others but we can control the way we react to them.

    With kind wishes,

    Aloka

  4. #4
    Forums Member Neyya's Avatar
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    I recently saw during my trip to another state (in US) a "laughing Buddha beer" brand of beer. I was kind of upset at first but it passed. I know folks don't really know or care about how others may feel when it comes to these types of things. Daverupa and Aloka make good points and I agree. Thanks for sharing.

    Neyya

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