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Thread: Offended Buddhists

  1. #1

    Offended Buddhists

    To me, it's an oxymoron, however it came to my attention today that there is a whole movement afoot trying to get people to stop using Buddha as a decoration.

    The general theme seems to be "Buddha is not for decoration respect is common sense" see knowingbuddha.org or 5000s.org. We had some discussion recently about cultural appropriation and apparently there are quite a few people ticked off by the fact that Buddha is used as a decoration or tattoos.. etc.

    I'm curious what people's thoughts here are about that. What do you feel is "appropriate" or "offensive"?

    Gassho

    Sat Today
    lah
    Grateful for your practice

  2. #2
    Even before I began my first steps with Buddhism, I found that simply walking through a temple or looking at a Buddha statue brought me a sense of tranquility.
    My wife is not Buddhist, religious or anything in between but she feels calmer in the same scenarios.
    Our eldest daughter doesn't practice Buddhism but her room is decorated with various Buddhas, lines of text etc and it brings her peace also.
    I can't imagine the Buddha being offended by this and as such why should we?
    This is my humble opinion only.
    Great topic for discussion btw.

    Gassho.
    Rob.
    ST

  3. #3
    I don't think this is an issue. The word "zen" has been applied to all sort of things, activities. Does the misuse of the word diminish our practice? Not really and in fact can in some cases open conversation. Does use of the Buddha's image for decoration or garden accents really diminish our practice? I don't think so. I have always felt when I come across an image of Buddha being used for decoration or sitting in a corner of a garden it is like running into an old friend. Thanks for being there on my journey.

    SAT TODAY
    Shozan

  4. #4
    Pfft.

    Gassho,

    Kirk
    I know nothing.

  5. #5
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
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    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Hi,

    My personal opinion is that if it isn't cause harm I should try to let any offense I have go. I'm very opinionated so its not easy but I think its the right way to do it. At the end of the day the image of the Buddha is just an image. I understand that seeing people using something that is sacred to me painful but if they aren't hurting others that pain is something that I have to deal with. Maybe that person is a Bodhisattva in disguise trying to provide an opportunity for practice . Basically, if something is sacred to me but not someone else what reason would I try to get them to stop except to alleviate my pain.

    I just wanted to add that I think these kinds of discussions are useful because get us thinking about how to live with the precepts. I'm glad Kokuu posted about cultural appropriation. It highlights was in which we might hurt people without realizing it.

    Gassho
    Sattoday/lah
    Hoseki

  6. #6
    I noticed this in my Facebook feed from the Thich Nhat Hanh group. If you haven't seen it there is an ongoing discussion there.

    We sort of touched on this issue in another thread earlier this year.

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...h-tiny-Buddhas

    In that thread I wrote this

    My take on this is that object is not sacred in and of itself - it is our interaction with the object that makes it sacred or secular. So the whole world can be (is) sacred if we view it that way and it can be secular at the same time - depending on how we engage with it.

    So, for me, I don't get upset by people who do things like put Buddha statues in their car or house as long as they aren't malicious in their intent. If someone is using a religious symbol as a way of expressing hate or intolerance that is something completely different.

    It can be an opportunity for a little education, or to open a dialogue with that person about what Buddhism meas to you.

    And maybe having the Buddha around will make them feel a little better. Or maybe even spark in interest in learning more about Buddhism.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  7. #7
    Folks who are respectful or honor Buddha can have a problem with some things like the following. That includes some Zen folks. Many Asian folks take this question seriously, as if l put your kids or spouse on a bathroom wall.

    Personally, l don't because l am a "Buddha is everywhere, and all, beyond clean or dirty" kind of guy.





    However, l also was one of the few people to thank the Taliban for blowing up the two big Buddhas in Afghanistan, thus confirming that all composite things are truly impermanent. So, l am kind of a overly accepting even for a Buddhist maybe.



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Thanks for this discussion: I got nothing more to add, and thank you Jundo for your teachings. The part about the Buddhist statues made me laugh really hard. It is a valuable lesson though.

    Gassho,
    Jack
    Sattoday/lah

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
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    It does not personally bother me. Shozan made a good point about how it doesn't diminish our practice, and I agree. However. If I was in a country or temple where it was offensive, I would not wear a Buddha!

    Images are just images. Depending on where they are, they mean different things. It's all transient.

    Gassho

    Sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  10. #10
    I dont understand -like in jundos post- both, the folks that feel offended by stuff like that, but also i dont get why i should print buddha on several things. I do not have any aversion nor attraction towards that.

    I have some buddha statues in my flat as a reminder, i have a little stop and stand still for few seconds e.g. when i recognize them when i come home or leave to work..

    i think buddha became a symbol for many people (like the taoist yin/yang symbol), filled with lots of ideas that are beyond buddhism or worshipping..so, i have seen a buddha in a house of a non buddhist muslim, i have seen a buddha statue in the house of a materialist person that is chasing after money, or other people that dont affiliate with buddhism.. so what? At least theres buddha in every flat house, corner, street, forest, lake, stone, cell, atom :-)

    Gassho
    Stlah,
    Ben

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by hishiryo View Post
    I dont understand -like in jundos post- both, the folks that feel offended by stuff like that, but also i dont get why i should print buddha on several things. I do not have any aversion nor attraction towards that.

    I have some buddha statues in my flat as a reminder, i have a little stop and stand still for few seconds e.g. when i recognize them when i come home or leave to work..

    i think buddha became a symbol for many people (like the taoist yin/yang symbol), filled with lots of ideas that are beyond buddhism or worshipping..so, i have seen a buddha in a house of a non buddhist muslim, i have seen a buddha statue in the house of a materialist person that is chasing after money, or other people that dont affiliate with buddhism.. so what? At least theres buddha in every flat house, corner, street, forest, lake, stone, cell, atom :-)

    Gassho
    Stlah,
    Ben

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk
    I was actually quite amused when an old friend of mine posted on Facebook a photo of a huge statue he had acquired for thousands of dollars on his travel overseas, and proclaimed that she was a goddess of protection for his opulent dwelling. It was actually a standing Buddha, almost as tall as a person. I find the thought of the Buddha complacently present amidst his greed and garishly excessive, self-centered lifestyle (he is rather proud of being such, I'm not saying anything he would dispute) to be somehow perfect.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  12. #12
    I agree with Kirk.
    Pfft.

    gassho
    Anne
    ~lahst~

  13. #13
    Thanks all for your thoughts and comments. This group which seems to be largely Thai, from my perspective seems to be missing my view of what Buddha is and is not. Getting "triggered", as my kids would put it, about people adopting images of Buddha reflects a certain kind of diety worship/view of the Buddha outside one"self". I am with Jundo on this one and I do not recall the entirety of the tale which ends with.. "Where isn't Buddha?"

    Gassho
    Ishin

    Sat today-lah
    Grateful for your practice

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishin View Post
    Thanks all for your thoughts and comments. This group which seems to be largely Thai, from my perspective seems to be missing my view of what Buddha is and is not. Getting "triggered", as my kids would put it, about people adopting images of Buddha reflects a certain kind of diety worship/view of the Buddha outside one"self". I am with Jundo on this one and I do not recall the entirety of the tale which ends with.. "Where isn't Buddha?"
    Yes, but let the Thai people be the Thai people. And you know what? That view has probably been the overwhelmingly majority view for 2500 years (maybe even back to the time when the Buddha was alive himself).

    I even read a recent Buddhist discussion about the famous Koan where Master Danxia Tianran burned the Buddha Statue on a cold night, and it was thought by a scholar that even then he would have bowed first, then before burning briefly "deconsecrated" the statue (literally, Buddha Statues have ceremonies in Zen temples in which "life" is put into them by painting in the eyes with an ink brush). Here is one such "Eye Opening" Ceremony for Soto group in the USA.



    A more elaborate Korean version. I believe the string circulates the power among all participants.



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-19-2019 at 01:05 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    PS - By the way, no place else worth sticking this ... so will drop it here. Apparently from a couple of years ago, I never knew! I wonder how Martians treat their Buddhas?



    I think it is like finding Jesus in burned toast.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/arielknutso...-in-their-food
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    PS - By the way, no place else worth sticking this ... so will drop it here. Apparently from a couple of years ago, I never knew! I wonder how Martians treat their Buddhas?



    I think it is like finding Jesus in burned toast.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/arielknutso...-in-their-food
    n.jpg
    Sorry, Jundo Sensei. It was the first thing that I thought and I couldn't help myself...

    Gassho.
    Rob.

    ST

  17. #17
    Hello,

    once a week, on my long running trail through the fields, I come across a house in a small village.
    In the middle of the driveway, between some artificial coloured pebbles, there sits a large Buddha, offering a one handed gassho.
    It's all arranged in a quite cold 'lifestyle' setting, that leads to the thought that this Buddha is there just for ornamental reasons.
    Every time I come by, I stop for a moment, wait for my heart rate to come down a bit. Offer a deep sincere gassho and continue on my trail.
    The first months, the owner looked obviously angry at me, when seeing me interacting with her property.
    Some weeks ago, she started smiling at me, greeting with a small nod.

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  18. #18
    Member Sterculia's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Gordonvale, Far North Queensland, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishin View Post
    To me, it's an oxymoron, however it came to my attention today that there is a whole movement afoot trying to get people to stop using Buddha as a decoration.

    The general theme seems to be "Buddha is not for decoration respect is common sense" see knowingbuddha.org or 5000s.org. We had some discussion recently about cultural appropriation and apparently there are quite a few people ticked off by the fact that Buddha is used as a decoration or tattoos.. etc.

    I'm curious what people's thoughts here are about that. What do you feel is "appropriate" or "offensive"?

    Gassho

    Sat Today
    lah
    Here's a very large billboard in Bangkok from the organisation you refer to. From my understanding there is a law in Thailand about disrespecting the Buddha.

    Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    It is nice that people who are not Buddhist like Buddha.

    Gassho/SatToday
    流道
    Ryū Dou

  20. #20
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Our house is full of various sized Buddha statues which my wife started collection many years ago. The garden also ! And this started even before my Martial Arts journey started drawing me towards Zen 20 odd years ago. She is not a practising Buddhist but appreciates the concepts and supports my practice but maybe not so much non-attachment .
    She recently reorganised our entrance hall, replacing a collection of "Wedgwood" crockery, with a white and gold set that she bought aeons ago. The other week a new "gold" Buddha arrived to take centre stage on the dresser.

    So I am comfortable with the Buddha image being appreciated by all, practitioners or not. As Jundo says, let the Thais be the Thais, as I am also with the "Buddha is everywhere" brigade, literally in this household.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    I even read a recent Buddhist discussion about the famous Koan where Master Danxia Tianran burned the Buddha Statue on a cold night, and it was thought by a scholar that even then he would have bowed first, then before burning briefly "deconsecrated" the statue (literally, Buddha Statues have ceremonies in Zen temples in which "life" is put into them by painting in the eyes with an ink brush). Here is one such "Eye Opening" Ceremony for Soto group in the USA.



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Yes, that was the story! I could not recall. I am posting it here in it's entirety so people can read it.

    Once, Ikkyu was staying in a temple. The night was cold and there were three wooden Buddhas in the temple, so he burned one Buddha to warm himself.

    The priest in charge of the temple woke up and noticed something was going on, so he looked to see what Ikkyu was doing.

    The Buddha statue was burning and Ikkyu was sitting there warming his hands over the fire.

    The priest got angry. He said, “What are you doing? Are you a madman?—and I thought you to be a Buddhist monk, that’s why I allowed you to stay in the temple. This is profane.”

    Ikkyu said, “But the Buddha within me was feeling very cold. So it was a question whether to sacrifice the living Buddha to the wooden one, or to sacrifice the wooden one to the living one. And I decided for life.”

    The priest was so angry that he couldn’t listen. He said, “You are a madman. You simply get out of here! You have burned Buddha.”

    So Ikkyu started to poke the burned Buddha with a stick. There were ashes; the Buddha was almost consumed by the fire.

    The priest asked, “What are you doing?”

    Ikkyu said, “I am trying to find the bones of Buddha.”

    So the priest laughed and said, “You are either a fool or a madman. And you are absolutely mad! You cannot find bones there, because it is just a wooden Buddha.”

    Ikkyu laughed. He said, “Then bring the other two. The night is still very cold. I haven’t burned the Buddha. I’ve burned a wooden statue. And you called me the crazy one.”


    Gassho
    Sat today lah
    Grateful for your practice

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishin View Post
    Yes, that was the story! I could not recall. I am posting it here in it's entirety so people can read it.

    Once, Ikkyu was staying in a temple. The night was cold and there were three wooden Buddhas in the temple, so he burned one Buddha to warm himself.

    The priest in charge of the temple woke up and noticed something was going on, so he looked to see what Ikkyu was doing.

    The Buddha statue was burning and Ikkyu was sitting there warming his hands over the fire.

    The priest got angry. He said, “What are you doing? Are you a madman?—and I thought you to be a Buddhist monk, that’s why I allowed you to stay in the temple. This is profane.”

    Ikkyu said, “But the Buddha within me was feeling very cold. So it was a question whether to sacrifice the living Buddha to the wooden one, or to sacrifice the wooden one to the living one. And I decided for life.”

    The priest was so angry that he couldn’t listen. He said, “You are a madman. You simply get out of here! You have burned Buddha.”

    So Ikkyu started to poke the burned Buddha with a stick. There were ashes; the Buddha was almost consumed by the fire.

    The priest asked, “What are you doing?”

    Ikkyu said, “I am trying to find the bones of Buddha.”

    So the priest laughed and said, “You are either a fool or a madman. And you are absolutely mad! You cannot find bones there, because it is just a wooden Buddha.”

    Ikkyu laughed. He said, “Then bring the other two. The night is still very cold. I haven’t burned the Buddha. I’ve burned a wooden statue. And you called me the crazy one.”


    Gassho
    Sat today lah
    Thank you for sharing this, Ishin

    Gassho
    Washin
    sat/lah
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  23. #23
    Hi guys,

    I think this is a very interesting topic. I understand why some would be offended on the wrong use of the Buddha. I myself try to be as respectful as I can and never use his image as decoration.

    But I also understand that at least here in the Spanish Speaking world, people is not educated on Buddhism and they use whatever evokes peace and spirituality.

    With the local sangha I encourage people to be respectful to the Buddha, but not to be attached to images since the Buddha is beyond material stuff.

    I have to admit that some Buddha decorations are nice

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishin View Post
    To me, it's an oxymoron, however it came to my attention today that there is a whole movement afoot trying to get people to stop using Buddha as a decoration.

    The general theme seems to be "Buddha is not for decoration respect is common sense" see knowingbuddha.org or 5000s.org. We had some discussion recently about cultural appropriation and apparently there are quite a few people ticked off by the fact that Buddha is used as a decoration or tattoos.. etc.

    I'm curious what people's thoughts here are about that. What do you feel is "appropriate" or "offensive"?

    Gassho

    Sat Today
    lah
    There is nothing difficult about the Great Way,
    But, avoid choosing!
    Only when you neither love nor hate,
    Does it appear in all clarity.

    - Hsin Hsin Ming

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

    PS:. And to borrow a saying from another tradition:

    "What would Buddha say?" or "what would Buddha do?"
    Last edited by Jishin; 07-19-2019 at 05:21 PM.

  25. #25
    What happens when Buddha decides to go for a ride?



    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  26. #26
    Statues are irrelevant to me, but I am quite passionate about respecting others' beliefs. So if I find out that something I am doing publicly is offensive to others, I try to correct it and learn more about it. If it's on my private property and they're complaining -- that's another matter.

    I don't intentionally do anything harmful or wrong. However, my Pema Chodron calendar may cross the line, even as it is calming when dealing with executive functioning stress.

    This illustrates to me how something can be both religious and cultural, and not just with Buddhism. Fascinating study in behavioral psychology. Thanks for posting.

    Gassho
    Kim
    St lh

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
    i speak from my own practice only. i am not an expert. gassho.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishin View Post
    Yes, that was the story! I could not recall. I am posting it here in it's entirety so people can read it.

    Once, Ikkyu was staying in a temple. The night was cold and there were three wooden Buddhas in the temple, so he burned one Buddha to warm himself.
    Small History Wonk Footnote ... not Ikkyu, and this is a very fictionalized version of the traditional Koan. The original is Master Danxia Tianran (different guy, Chinese and centuries earlier, except of course, that everybody is everybody).

    https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/danxia.html

    I believe in being respectful both to Buddha and to the stories of old dead Zen guys.

    Anyway, Ikkyu was too drunk and hanging out with the girls in the brothel.

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post243222

    Please now return to what you were doing.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-19-2019 at 10:48 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  28. #28
    I’m going to be the voice of dissent in this conversation. I will start by saying that I do agree with what everyone is saying. For me, just little old me sitting here in myself, I don’t really care if Buddha is printed on a bikini bottom or someone gets a Buddha tattoo. I’m much more concerned with how people actually behave than about symbols.

    But let’s look at some examples, and see if we can understand why people might be offended by the use of the Buddha.

    Have you had your Enlightenment Beer today?

    Buddha Beer.jpg

    This is Lucky Buddha beer, which is called “Enlightenment Beer”. From their marketing they say, “The “Laughing Buddha” depicted on Lucky Buddha beer is actually not THE Buddha and therefore is not religious but cultural.”

    They go on to use an Ancient Taoist saying, “If you think that enlightenment is separate from the drinking of beer you have not yet understood.”

    What do you think… is this a good use of the symbol?


    Case number 2: ZenDesk

    ZenDesk Logo.png

    I will note that this is their old logo, and was probably changed due to pressure from groups who were offended by the use.

    But can you see how people would be upset to see a symbol of their religion being used to represent a customer service company?

    Final example,

    This is the opposite of the others, but I’ll give an example from my life that helps me to put into perspective why some Buddhists are upset of the use of the Buddha as decoration, beer bottles, etc.

    My grandmother was a Catholic and was very devoted to praying the rosary. One summer when I stayed with her; she would take me to church and teach me about different aspects of Catholicism. One of those items was the rosary. She taught me how to pray the rosary and how to show it respect. She said it was not jewelry, and not something to be shown off. It was a practice, an item to help you say the prayer. And when it wasn’t being used for that, it should be stored with care.

    Over the years, I watched my grandmother pray the rosary more times than I can remember. Someone was sick, she would pray. Someone had passed away and she would pray. Over the years through seeing her faith and respect for the item, I grow to hold it with respect. I remembered what she had taught me when I was young, and the rosary she gave me was always storage with care and not shown off.

    Recently I have started to see rosaries used as imagines on printed t-shirts so it looks like you are wearing it. And often I see people who have them draped around their rearview mirrors. When I see those things there is a small part of me that goes, “ugh… that’s not right.”

    I let it go, but that little momentary “ugh” is where being offended starts.

    Think about feeling that walking in a grocery store to see something scared to you on a beer bottle or being used to represent “happy” customer service.

    Perhaps there is a cherished “scared” item in your family or life that you can apply this to. Would you care if someone printed it on a t-shirt or used it as decoration?

    So while I don’t personally care what people do with the imagine of the Buddha, I do respect the fact that there are an estimated 500 million people who practice Buddhism around the world, and some of them might feel like the imagine of the Buddha should be respected and not used in some ways. Perhaps they had a grandma like mine, who engrained in them a sense of respect for certain items related to their religious practice.

    I’m like Jundo, I’m overly accepting, do what you want with the imagine and it does't bother me personally. But I understand and respect those who aren’t. And because of this I don’t decorate with the Buddha. I have one Buddha statue that sits on an altar at home. The altar and statue have moved over the years from being in the living room, where they were more a part of decorations of the house to now being in the office where they are clearly on an altar for the purpose of spiritual practice.

    On occasion when work is really bad, I think it would be nice to have a small Buddha at work on my desk to help remind me of practice; but I don’t want it to appear like a decoration. So instead I’ll get a rock or twig from outside and set it on my desk instead. For me it is just as much a representation of the Buddha as anything else and doing so also respects those who feel like the Buddha shouldn't be used as decoration.

    Gassho,

    Shoka
    sattoday
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  29. #29
    This appeared at my work today


    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  30. #30
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
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    Virginia, USA
    As with everything we encounter in this life, whenever "appropriate" and "offensive" arise, they are a good opportunity to practice.

    For 20 years we heated our house with wood in the winter. Taking the wood of a living tree and placing it in a stove releases the sunlight of 40, 50, or 100 summers, mixed with CO2 and particulate matter. Seen from the perspective of a tree or a bird (even sometimes as a human), perhaps it was a deeply "offensive" act. Seen from the perspective of my cold wife or child, it was a deeply "compassionate" act. One-sided views abound.

    That said, my dear mother-in-law recently offered me a life-sized teal ceramic Buddha head. She purchased it some time ago at a thrift store and was hoping I would put it in the practice space in our new home. What arose more or less simultaneously was gratitude for her kindness (for both respecting my chosen path and thinking of me in the moment she saw it), and revulsion at what the "Buddha head statue" represented to me (colonial trinket hunters decapitating ancient statues to sell, religious intolerance and strife, etc.).

    I thanked her for her kindness in thinking of me, and offered that we could place it anywhere in our home, but not in the practice space, and tried to explain why. It was an honest response, but I have found myself coming back to it periodically over the past few months and wondering what one of our ancient ancestors would have done without "picking and choosing".

    Gassho,
    Sekishi
    #sat #headattached
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  31. #31
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    What happens when Buddha decides to go for a ride?



    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    He wanted to go for a stroll!

    Gassho

    Sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  32. #32
    Dear Sekishi sliding off the subject a bit, I was really taken by your pattern of thought regarding staying warm with wood from the living forest. I almost bet you are a reader of Aldo Leopold. My favorite of Leopold quotes is from his Thinking Like a Mountain which reflects your thoughts on the firewood.
    Thinking Like a Mountain
    We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes - something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view...I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades. So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf's job of trimming the herd to fit the range. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.
    ” So while our cultural prejudices may guide our response on images of the Buddha their may be more basic realities we are missing in the dust storm of thought.

    SAT TODAY
    Last edited by lorax; 07-20-2019 at 02:42 AM.
    Shozan

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Small History Wonk Footnote ... not Ikkyu, and this is a very fictionalized version of the traditional Koan. The original is Master Danxia Tianran (different guy, Chinese and centuries earlier, except of course, that everybody is everybody).

    https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/danxia.html

    I believe in being respectful both to Buddha and to the stories of old dead Zen guys.

    Anyway, Ikkyu was too drunk and hanging out with the girls in the brothel.

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post243222

    Please now return to what you were doing.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    I am glad you posted this. I too am a wonk for history and accuracy. Interesting to know. Thanks!
    Gassho

    Sat Today LAH
    Grateful for your practice

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    This appeared at my work today


    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Not even sure where to begin with this.. reverse cultural appropriation?

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat Today LAH
    Grateful for your practice

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Shoka View Post
    I’m going to be the voice of dissent in this conversation. I will start by saying that I do agree with what everyone is saying. For me, just little old me sitting here in myself, I don’t really care if Buddha is printed on a bikini bottom or someone gets a Buddha tattoo. I’m much more concerned with how people actually behave than about symbols.

    But let’s look at some examples, and see if we can understand why people might be offended by the use of the Buddha.

    Have you had your Enlightenment Beer today?

    Buddha Beer.jpg

    This is Lucky Buddha beer, which is called “Enlightenment Beer”. From their marketing they say, “The “Laughing Buddha” depicted on Lucky Buddha beer is actually not THE Buddha and therefore is not religious but cultural.”

    They go on to use an Ancient Taoist saying, “If you think that enlightenment is separate from the drinking of beer you have not yet understood.”

    What do you think… is this a good use of the symbol?


    Case number 2: ZenDesk

    ZenDesk Logo.png

    I will note that this is their old logo, and was probably changed due to pressure from groups who were offended by the use.

    But can you see how people would be upset to see a symbol of their religion being used to represent a customer service company?

    Final example,

    This is the opposite of the others, but I’ll give an example from my life that helps me to put into perspective why some Buddhists are upset of the use of the Buddha as decoration, beer bottles, etc.

    My grandmother was a Catholic and was very devoted to praying the rosary. One summer when I stayed with her; she would take me to church and teach me about different aspects of Catholicism. One of those items was the rosary. She taught me how to pray the rosary and how to show it respect. She said it was not jewelry, and not something to be shown off. It was a practice, an item to help you say the prayer. And when it wasn’t being used for that, it should be stored with care.

    Over the years, I watched my grandmother pray the rosary more times than I can remember. Someone was sick, she would pray. Someone had passed away and she would pray. Over the years through seeing her faith and respect for the item, I grow to hold it with respect. I remembered what she had taught me when I was young, and the rosary she gave me was always storage with care and not shown off.

    Recently I have started to see rosaries used as imagines on printed t-shirts so it looks like you are wearing it. And often I see people who have them draped around their rearview mirrors. When I see those things there is a small part of me that goes, “ugh… that’s not right.”

    I let it go, but that little momentary “ugh” is where being offended starts.

    Think about feeling that walking in a grocery store to see something scared to you on a beer bottle or being used to represent “happy” customer service.

    Perhaps there is a cherished “scared” item in your family or life that you can apply this to. Would you care if someone printed it on a t-shirt or used it as decoration?

    So while I don’t personally care what people do with the imagine of the Buddha, I do respect the fact that there are an estimated 500 million people who practice Buddhism around the world, and some of them might feel like the imagine of the Buddha should be respected and not used in some ways. Perhaps they had a grandma like mine, who engrained in them a sense of respect for certain items related to their religious practice.

    I’m like Jundo, I’m overly accepting, do what you want with the imagine and it does't bother me personally. But I understand and respect those who aren’t. And because of this I don’t decorate with the Buddha. I have one Buddha statue that sits on an altar at home. The altar and statue have moved over the years from being in the living room, where they were more a part of decorations of the house to now being in the office where they are clearly on an altar for the purpose of spiritual practice.

    On occasion when work is really bad, I think it would be nice to have a small Buddha at work on my desk to help remind me of practice; but I don’t want it to appear like a decoration. So instead I’ll get a rock or twig from outside and set it on my desk instead. For me it is just as much a representation of the Buddha as anything else and doing so also respects those who feel like the Buddha shouldn't be used as decoration.

    Gassho,

    Shoka
    sattoday
    These are relevant thoughts, Shoka, thanks for sharing. I think the context is important too. But following this lead; I don't find myself getting bothered by people who decorate their homes with crucifixes, or have Christian tattoos. If that has a deep meaning for them then I think it's fine. Many people put statues of saints in their gardens too. I believe what matters is intent. If someone has a Buddha statue in their garden because it brings a sense of peace to them or they are somehow inspired by it, why not? But, bringing home a life sized Buddha statue, just to impress others with your wealth, or to sell beer might not be the right intent.

    Incidentally, I have this beer because someone bought it for me, more as a joke I think. It's not very good.

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat Today/LAH
    Grateful for your practice

  36. #36
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    San Diego County, California
    I have mentioned the beer before in a different thread, I think. Nasty marketing tactic, but they are quite lovely strung up as green lights. Transform it into something good, I guess? But even strong up as lanterns could potentially bother somebody. If they were to bother someone that entered my home, I might've taken them down, however. I guess it is all about context in the ten million moments... and mindfulness of others' potential suffering.

    Gassho

    Sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  37. #37
    This conversation reminds me of a podcast episode about the Buddha of Oakland. Apparently this guy (not a Buddhist) was having trouble in his neighborhood with crime, drug dealing, and illegal dumping, so he got the idea to go down to the hardware store and buy a concrete Buddha garden statue. Then he covertly installed it in a public area where people were throwing large trash items. Over time, people starting coming to the Buddha to worship, and take care of the area, and turn it into a little garden area. Crime started going down, too. It's a fascinating story. Here's a link: https://thisiscriminal.com/episode-1...ral-7-19-2019/

    Gassho

    Jen

    ST/LAH

  38. #38
    Hi Jen

    That story sounded so fantastical I assumed it was mostly apocryphal but a web search turned up this complete with pictures. https://www.odditycentral.com/travel...own-by-82.html

    In the local park near me, someone has placed a small stone buddha under a tree by the walking path. It has been there for several years and as far as I can’t tell hasn’t been bothered with by anyone. Someone obviously cares for it though. The area is weeded and occasionally flowers are left there.

    Thank you for sharing this story. It was lovely.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Nenka View Post
    This conversation reminds me of a podcast episode about the Buddha of Oakland. Apparently this guy (not a Buddhist) was having trouble in his neighborhood with crime, drug dealing, and illegal dumping, so he got the idea to go down to the hardware store and buy a concrete Buddha garden statue. Then he covertly installed it in a public area where people were throwing large trash items. Over time, people starting coming to the Buddha to worship, and take care of the area, and turn it into a little garden area. Crime started going down, too. It's a fascinating story. Here's a link: https://thisiscriminal.com/episode-1...ral-7-19-2019/

    Gassho

    Jen

    ST/LAH
    Thank you Nenka (and Tairin!) for sharing the story. It is amazing.

    Gassho
    Washin
    sat/lah
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Nenka View Post
    This conversation reminds me of a podcast episode about the Buddha of Oakland. Apparently this guy (not a Buddhist) was having trouble in his neighborhood with crime, drug dealing, and illegal dumping, so he got the idea to go down to the hardware store and buy a concrete Buddha garden statue. Then he covertly installed it in a public area where people were throwing large trash items. Over time, people starting coming to the Buddha to worship, and take care of the area, and turn it into a little garden area. Crime started going down, too. It's a fascinating story. Here's a link: https://thisiscriminal.com/episode-1...ral-7-19-2019/

    Gassho

    Jen

    ST/LAH
    Thank you Nenka,
    This is heartwarming.

    Gassho/SatToday
    流道
    Ryū Dou

  41. #41
    Hi guys,

    This weekend I attended an event with different sanghas here in Mexico and I realized how easy people get offended.

    There was this person who was wearing a t-shirt with a Buddha saying something like "don't give a f%"!" and a Tibetan monk asked him to leave. After that the mood was very tense.

    I try never to use the Buddha as decoration, but I also understand that not all people know or understand and I am fine with that. I also don't understand anything about Christianity. The point is to know that we have to be open and try to respect everyone, specially when it comes to religion.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  42. #42
    A few days after I posted this thread, I noticed something else relating to this topic. I get, and see all kinds of spiritual memes on FB where Buddhist iconography, or images of Buddha are added and they have absolutely nothing to do with what Buddha taught. I don't think most people who post or share this are doing from a malicious intent, however I would say they are doing so in ignorance. It's really kind of like " if it seems spiritual then Buddha must have said it" attitude. I don't know I would go so far as to say I am "Offended" by this behavior, but I do not like Buddha being used to advance abundance metaphysics either.

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat Today/Lah
    Grateful for your practice

  43. #43

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    This is what I wear daily:



    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__LRM_EXPORT_703845814877443_20190723_184612750.jpg
    Yes, one can see the bottomless cave at the bottom from which he emerged, and the swelling Himalayas at the top. Looks like Buddha has recently put on a couple of pounds, by the way.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-24-2019 at 12:33 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  45. #45
    Worry about Buddha's ankle in the picture Jishin posted. Hope it is not early CHF.

    SAT TODAY
    Shozan

  46. #46
    I personally follow Thai customs for showing respect, but I don't think the particulars of how respect is shown is as important as the attitude that is cultivated. Learning is almost impossible without an attitude of respect for Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. This is taught using proscribed words and ritual actions in various cultures.

    On the one hand,

    "The profound Dharma without attachment of the Tathagata is beyond the range of words and letters, free from gaining even a single thing. But because of the need to benefit those beings who can be taught, it is necessary to create various forms and words so that teachable beings can encounter those forms and become respectful, listen to the Dharma and become clear. But when they have wisdom, even abiding in words are far from words, abiding in names but are far from names, knowing that gaining is really no gaining, knowing that speaking is not speaking, they have realized the ultimate truth."

    In the West, symbols such as Buddha images, lotus flowers, or the word "Zen" get used as a symbol of calm, peace, well being, non-attachment. That doesn't strike me as malicious. If anything, it's a good sign that such ideas are gaining prominence. People are encountering forms and beginning to have an appreciation for them at the level of materialism. This is one of many factors that may draw people to the Dharma.

    But, on the cultural side, such mis-usage is ignorant of many Eastern cultures. I think is presumptuous to say that Buddhists being offended is an oxymoron. Buddhists aren't perfect. Being born into an Asian Buddhist family or taking refuge don't free a person from greed, anger, or ignorance - although hopefully it will help! We live in an increasingly multi-cultural connected world, and avoiding what is offensive to other cultures is important. Asking for Buddha imagery to be regarded as objects of veneration as opposed to decoration is quite reasonable.

    That being said, I don't police strangers about such things - I don't have enough tact to tell people such things in a way that they will respond to positively. The only people around here who don't respect Buddhist imagery are the occasional foreign tourists anyways.

    Nanrin (Southern Forest)

    Sat today

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes, one can see the bottomless cave at the bottom from which he emerged, and the swelling Himalayas at the top. Looks like Buddha has recently put on a couple of pounds, by the way.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    I would say Buddha looks quite good for his age. Here he is with his kids at Sea world.
    Last edited by Jishin; 07-24-2019 at 07:46 AM.

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