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Thread: Selling Buddha

  1. #1

    Selling Buddha

    I just had my birthday and one of the gifts I got was a little basket with some candles potpouri and a seagreen buddha. The person who gave this to me is unaware of my path and is not religious herself.
    It struck me how many shops sell buddha in statues paintings etc. Someone posted an ad on freecycle the other day saying s/he collected buddha statues if anyone had any going spare.
    It just got me wondering why? why is it ok for buddha to be made an item on storeshelves if you did the same with Jezus I'm pretty sure the Christians would be up in arms about it same for Allah or Muhammed etc. But then the same seems to happen to other Asian religious deities.

    This has been going around in my head for a few days now just wanted to read other peoples takes on it

  2. #2
    Myoshin
    Guest

    Re: Selling Buddha

    Hi Vera,

    To be perfectly honest I really do not see much wrong with it. In fact I have seen statues or depictions of Jesus being sold everywhere around here. The way I look at it is that a statue is just a statue. A figure just a figure. If someone enjoys looking at a statue of Buddha then that is fine, but they could just easily look at a tree, rock, a pile of trash, a crying baby, or a mirror to see Buddha too.

    Just my thoughts.

    Gassho,
    Kyle

  3. #3
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Selling Buddha

    The difference seems that buddhas get sold as a novelty item, whereas selling anything Christian is considered a religious object. I don't know, do Buddhists buy crucfixes as novelties? Maybe so. But I think Christians would be very upset if they thought people were buying crucifuxes as objects stripped of their religious significance. Buddhists, being buddhas, don't seem to care as much about this. Of course, Christians are buddhas, too, but their orientation to the world and items associated with their religion is different.

  4. #4

    Re: Selling Buddha

    I suppose is has something to do with where you stand ...

    Of course, here in Japan ... and in much of the rest of Asia ... many folks do buy pseudo-Christian and Jewish objects (crucifix pendants, Jewish Star of David earings) because they are considered fashion or trendy (not for any religious meaning).

    Our town has several faux-churches which are wedding halls ("Christian" weddings are trendy ... although the people are not interested in the religious meaning at all ... they just like the image of a "church wedding"), staffed by fake "priests" ... here is a guy who seems to be running a seminar for foreigners who want to break into the wedding business ...

    http://wedding-minister-japan.marinerblue.com/

    And, also, there are any number of products here that seem to take "The Lord's Name in Vain" ...

    Like these diet pills ...



    And (introduced once before here) ... the God-Jesus Robot windup toy ...


  5. #5

    Re: Selling Buddha

    I should add that many Japanese were up in arms, and had pulled from the shelves, a chocolate candy sold here ... called "Buddha Snot" ...

    The package says ":Boogers from the nose of the Lord Buddha", and it was apparently sold at the gift shops near one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Japan.

    The Telegraph reports that priests at one of Japan's most famous temples have taken steps to block the sale of a sweet marketed as the "Snot from the nose of the Great Buddha". They have prevented the name being registered as a trade mark office, but have been unable to stop vendors selling the sweets to hordes of tourists who flock to see the giant Buddha in the ancient capital, Nara, in western Japan. Yamamoto Bussan, the company that launched the sweet three years ago, has said that in a recession a product name needs to make a strong impact. A spokesman said some employees had doubts about the name, so it was decided to attach the ultra-polite suffix sama to Buddha's name. But the sweet's packaging shows an irreverent picture of Buddha picking his nose.


  6. #6

    Re: Selling Buddha

    A little more on the "God-Jesus" robot ... it apparently is a fortune telling toy ...

    Here is a translation of the side of the box ...



    and some information on it ...

    The God-Jesus was a toy made by large famous Japanese toy manufacturer Bandai and was released in 1985 when the future and Robots were the coolest topic around. However, one can but wonder what made the Japanese designers name it "God-Jesus" and stick a cross in its hand.

    The toy is little of a rarity but not impossible to get your hands on (as proven by me) since it does show up from time to time on Japanese auction sites for reasonable sums of money (around US$30). You know you want one!

  7. #7
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Selling Buddha

    You can pick your nose, and you can pick your buddha, but can you pick your buddha's nose? :lol:

    I would rather eat Buddha's snot than my own. Well, now that I think about it, maybe not :roll:

    The god-jesus robot? Wow, too funny! So is that like the magic 8-ball? :twisted:

    I learned something today, something completely unexpected :shock:

  8. #8

    Re: Selling Buddha

    You know, I was going to be all "Zen" and quote the Shobogenzo Zuimonki:

    One day Dogen said,
    In the Zoku-kosoden there’s a story about a monk in the assembly of a certain Zen master. The monk worshipped a golden image of the Buddha as well as the relics of the Buddha. Even in the dormitory, he constantly burned incense and prostrated himself before them, honoring and making offerings.
    One day, the master said to the monk, “The image and relics of the Buddha which you worship will eventually be harmful to you.”
    But the God-Jesus robot is SO much cooler...


    Gassho and thanks for the chuckle,
    -K2

  9. #9
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Selling Buddha

    Gives new meaning to the words 'Mind-Share'.

    Chet

  10. #10

    Re: Selling Buddha

    When I see Buddha statues for sale, it makes me laugh a little inside. I think, "that's not Buddha", "that's not my Buddha (as if I could have one!)" but others may think the opposites. Buddhism cannot be created nor destroyed. It's always been there and won't abandon anyone. I think it's best to brush aside those that slander you or things that "belong" to you. Although I come to this website and I meditate regularly, I also leave "Buddhism" behind and just live my life. So, when I see a representation of Buddha in whatever way it is being treated, it makes me laugh a little inside. Buddha is in you, at the core radiating outward... (well that's how I view it, when i view it). Everyone has it and material representations cannot even come close to touching it. So, I guess there are billions of Buddha's walking about, perhaps we should worry more about the living ones than the manufactured ones. I will say (have said?) that these statues, pictures, etc. have a good side, no matter how they are used. First, they are a quick and effective means to bring Buddha into the mind of whoever perceives such a thing. It's possibly a tiny, tiny, tiny beginning of something great. Second, they can remind us (just me? OMG :lol: ) that superficial things, whatever, should not be overvalued and should be abandoned when the show is over.

    Yeah it's cool, it's funny, "That's a Buddha? Who's Buddha?", but hey, what's next?

    Cam

  11. #11

    Re: Selling Buddha

    I suddenly remember seeing this article a couple of months ago:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Shop ... 703382.cms

    In Switzerland there was a shop with a Buddha statue outside (see picture below).
    Apparently a vacationing family from India got really bent out of shape because the store owner hung a pair of shoes around Buddha's neck.
    (It was a shoe store...)

    For whatever it's worth, the "garlanding of shoes" is a way of publicly shaming someone in India.
    (Similar to a "scarlet letter" or a dunce cap)

    When we respond in anger to the "desecration" of an idol, facsimile or effigy are we really following the Buddha's way?


  12. #12

    Re: Selling Buddha

    Interesting. In Japan, the shoes of Buddha can be sacred ... BIG too ...



    In their way, these are sacred too ...


  13. #13

    Re: Selling Buddha

    Is it strange that I would love to own that pair of adidas??

    Will Dover

  14. #14

    Re: Selling Buddha

    thanks for all the replies.
    So many things I didn't realise and the god jezus robots are just weird!
    Its strange how religions can become such a fashionstatement....

  15. #15

    Re: Selling Buddha

    how does a buddha smell if he doesn't pick his nose?

  16. #16

    Re: Selling Buddha

    I went in to a furniture store the other day and saw a whole wall of wooden crosses of different sizes and colors. Apparently, according to the salesperson, crosses are in vogue in decorating homes these days (Christian or not).

    Last December, I think the talking Jesus doll was all the craze: http://money.cnn.com/2005/04/12/news/mi ... sus_dolls/ and http://videogum.com/archives/animals-on ... 64781.html. I even got one as a Christmas gift from my brother.

    -Fr. James (currently selling a talking Jesus doll).

  17. #17

    Re: Selling Buddha

    Of course, you can't sell Buddha, you can onlys sell an object.

    There is a famous old Chinese story about two zen students who were having a friendly contest about understanding. One student wrote "buddha" on a large stone and won the contest when the other student hesitated before sitting on the stone. I think this might be in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones but I am not sure.

    I am reminded of a great moment I had when an acquaintance said "ain't got no use for Buddha" (she was a Stoic) and I got to say "that's good, Buddhists ain't got no use for Buddha either".

    gassho,
    rowan/jinho

  18. #18

    Re: Selling Buddha

    The Mormon church has conferences twice a year where the leaders of the church give talks in five two-hour sessions over the course of two days. Invariably, in recent years, outside the conference center here in Salt Lake City, protesters can be seen desecrating what Mormon's consider to be sacred garments (basically underwear, but with religious significance of the highest and most sacred kind).

    In my opinion, while such desecration is incredibly rude and offensive (which, I'm sure, is why the protesters do it), the garments are just bits of fabric. They become sacred not because of what they are, but because of what believing people bring to them. The same is true with other religious symbols. I grew up Roman Catholic, and we genuflected before a crucifix each time we went into church, preferably with a bit of holy water on our fingers. But, is the crucifix sacred, in and of itself? No. If you were to see one burning in a bonfire, would it be Christ himself burning? No. It's a statement of someone's beliefs, but there's nothing sacred about the object, per se.

    This idea is common in Buddhism, where worship or reverence or attachment to a Buddha statue, or to the idea of the Buddha, at some point will become a hindrance. Same with flag-burning. It's considered bad form to let the US flag touch the ground, but apparently not considered bad form to let any other flag touch the ground. Burning flags is illegal, isn't it? These are really statements about how people are expected to feel about some idea (God, country, religion, etc), not about the significance of any particular object. If I were freezing, I would burn a wooden Buddha statue (or crucifix or set of garments) in a heartbeat. If I had just crawled in from the desert, I'd drink the whole bowl of holy water. Then, after I'd saved myself from freezing or dehydration, I'd probably be killed by all the religious adherents I'd just offended...

    Gassho,
    Kevin

  19. #19

    Re: Selling Buddha

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    The Mormon church has conferences twice a year where the leaders of the church give talks in five two-hour sessions over the course of two days. Invariably, in recent years, outside the conference center here in Salt Lake City, protesters can be seen desecrating what Mormon's consider to be sacred garments (basically underwear, but with religious significance of the highest and most sacred kind).

    This idea is common in Buddhism, where worship or reverence or attachment to a Buddha statue, or to the idea of the Buddha, at some point will become a hindrance. Same with flag-burning.
    Gassho,
    Kevin
    Hi Kevin,

    First off, there are very good reasons to protest the Mormon Church (which, of course is correctly called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). They no longer discriminate against African Americans but do still discriminate against women and gay people. They actively campaign against equal rights for gay people (never mind if the gay people are Mormon or not).

    In Zen Buddhism there is no worship or reverence to either Buddha or a statue of Buddha. Bowing is specifically a sign of gratitude to someone who passed on great teachings, but he is dead, he is not supernatural and in fact there are many zen/chan stories of such reverence being evidence of the monk/student being still in delusion.

    Flag burning is also an important expression of protest.

    gASSHO,
    ROWAN

  20. #20

    Re: Selling Buddha

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinho
    First off, there are very good reasons to protest the Mormon Church
    While I don't necessarily place any inherent significance on objects, symbolic or otherwise, I don't think it's a productive form of protest to desecrate an object that others consider sacred. I wouldn't deny or impinge on the right of anyone to do so, but if protestors of the LDS church really wish to engage in a dialogue that could lead to positive change, starting off by deeply offending LDS practitioners seems to me to be an odd tactic.

    Gassho,
    Kevin

  21. #21

    Re: Selling Buddha

    There was a story of a fundamentalist church that placed a big cross on a monastery yard. The monks just moved it.

    Everybody's got a story. It's too bad that someone cares that much about something, but the question is "Watcha gonna do?" I don't think anyone is ready to start a holy war. The teaching that Jinho stated about not worshiping a specific thing is an important point.

    Don't make standards of your own. That's what those people were doing when placing the cross on the yard "Creating standards". That is not necessary. Buddhism is so each person can go their own way.

    Btw unrelated, I just got a thermometer for the H1N1 flu here in China. Everyone in the building got one. Have to check every day.

    W

  22. #22

    Re: Selling Buddha

    Quote Originally Posted by RDavid
    how does a buddha smell if he doesn't pick his nose?
    buddhas smell like bananas whether they pick their nose or not.

    gassho
    tobi

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