Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Thaibebop » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:03 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:I am relaying on my memory but I believe there is a allegory in Buddhist literature about luring children out of a burning house who refuse to leave. The parent offers them toys, I think, even though there are none and that tricks them out of the house.
That would be the Lotus Sutra.

Ah, thank you. :namaste:

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Thaibebop » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:13 pm

gavesako wrote:Buddhists March in Bangkok to Speak Out to the World to Stop Disrespecting Buddha
The KnowingBuddha Foundation is preparing a major march in Bangkok on 30 June, to show their respect for Buddha and to show how so many are disrespecting Buddha.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012 ... 635673.htm

There is something about this that worries me. While Buddhism is vastly different form Abrahamic religions many of the more militant forms of these religions have their foundation in a belief that their faith is under attack and being disrespected. This foundation seems to be starting down this road. Who will hear of their movement? Why should they care about their desires? Trying to control what other people do goes against everything I have learned from Buddhism, so why are they bothering. Also, if no one listens, what then? It seems better to simply teach those closer to their community these values and let the rest of the world come around in time. With so many people witnessing religious violence and hatred from the Abrahamic religions many are tried and looking for other sources of strength. Wouldn't Buddhism be one of those that they turn to?

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby cooran » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:59 pm

Buddhists March in Bangkok to Speak Out to the World to Stop Disrespecting Buddha
The KnowingBuddha Foundation is preparing a major march in Bangkok on 30 June, to show their respect for Buddha and to show how so many are disrespecting Buddha.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012 ... 635673.htm


I think this is very likely to cause mainly negative, not positive, reactions in for those reading about or seeing the ''parade'' - and turn away from Buddhism those who had been interested in learning more about it.

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby reflection » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:03 pm


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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Sylvester » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:35 am

gavesako wrote:That is simple: The four-faced Brahma is a symbol of good luck and prosperity on the worldly level. Nothing to do with Buddhism particularly.


That may be true, Bhante, but practically all the Thai Buddhists I am acquainted with, know how to distinguish this particular Buddhist Brahma from the Puranic Brahma. Granted that the Thai Buddhists I know are more well read, and they identify this Brahma as Sahampati (well documented in the Vinaya and SN). Still, the distinction does exist, and it does not serve any purpose to paper over the Thai Buddhist belief that devas and brahmas from the Pali Canon do fulfill a supplicatory role in worldly matters. And unless one argues that the Pancabali Sutta were a spurious addition into the AN by back-sliding Buddhists/Hindu infiltrators, the Pali Canon does have teachings for lay people who are not very into Nirodha.

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Sylvester » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:46 am

cooran wrote:
Buddhists March in Bangkok to Speak Out to the World to Stop Disrespecting Buddha
The KnowingBuddha Foundation is preparing a major march in Bangkok on 30 June, to show their respect for Buddha and to show how so many are disrespecting Buddha.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012 ... 635673.htm


I think this is very likely to cause mainly negative, not positive, reactions in for those reading about or seeing the ''parade'' - and turn away from Buddhism those who had been interested in learning more about it.

with metta
Chris


I agree. Parading "Buddhist" patighanusaya for the heathens is a sure-fire way to turn them away.

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Viscid » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:59 am

Buddhists March in Bangkok to Speak Out to the World to Stop Disrespecting Buddha
The KnowingBuddha Foundation is preparing a major march in Bangkok on 30 June, to show their respect for Buddha and to show how so many are disrespecting Buddha.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012 ... 635673.htm


Geez, this sounds like Buddhist extremism. Scary stuff. Buddhists shouldn't be enforcing their religious views on non-Buddhists.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby gavesako » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:08 am

In Thailand there is a law preventing people from "tarnishing Buddhism". Recently this case of a rogue iconoclastic monk was in the news:

THAILAND - Phetchabun's Lom Sak Court yesterday read an Appeals Court decision sentencing Phra Kasem Ajinasilo of Nam Nao district's Wat Sam Yaek monastery to a suspended two year jail term and a Bt20,000 (S$822) fine for tarnishing Buddhism.

In November 2008, the Phetchabun Buddhism Office filed a lawsuit against Phra Kasem, whose civilian name is Duangphaeng Duanmak.

It accused him of stepping on the base of a Buddha statue, slapping the statue's face and putting a sign on the brass statue urging people not to worship it because it wasn't Lord Buddha.

The lower court dismissed the case on March 17, 2009.

Phra Kasem appeared in a YouTube clip and a TV news report behaving in an allegedly inappropriate manner, leading the Royal Forestry Department to probe his monastery's use of forestland.

The department decided not to let him use the location any longer, while the Sangha of Udon Thani, where the monk was originally ordained, last October ordered him to leave the monkhood.

Phra Kasem, however, continued to practice as a monk.

http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BN ... 33368.html



Here is the video clip showing inappropriate behaviour of Luang Por Kasem:

หลวงพ่อ เกษม อยากดังหรืออยากดับ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UL4FnquxesA

It seems that he got a suspended sentence in the end.
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby piotr » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:21 am

Hi Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:And unless one argues that the Pancabali Sutta were a spurious addition into the AN by back-sliding Buddhists/Hindu infiltrators, the Pali Canon does have teachings for lay people who are not very into Nirodha.


Could you provide a number of this sutta (or PTS page number)? It's unknow to me. Thanks.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:11 pm

gavesako wrote:It seems that he got a suspended sentence in the end.


Hi Bhante,

Yes, that was very disrespectful, but it was more than that. It was violent; kicking the table with alms food on it, slapping his foot on the table, kicking the table some more, kicking a chair and at one point kicking the chair over -- this is violence, imo, not just disrespect.

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby gavesako » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:43 pm

One more opinion on the showing of respect:

Don’t put your Buddha statue in the toilet. Amazing Thailand and Buddhism


http://isaan-life.blogspot.co.uk/2012/0 ... oilet.html
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Alobha » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:03 pm

gavesako wrote:
Here is the video clip showing inappropriate behaviour of Luang Por Kasem:

หลวงพ่อ เกษม อยากดังหรืออยากดับ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UL4FnquxesA

It seems that he got a suspended sentence in the end.


Seeing a case like this, maybe i wouldn't be the worst monk once i fulfull the requirements for ordination in a few years *phew!*
I just looked up the Buddha Bhikkini thing and i can understand the problem. Raising awareness for the do's and don't seems plausible but one shouldn't expect to stop these things from happening. The Buddha Bhikkini is just a piece of cloth. The real downfall, the real damage starts when people get angry over just a piece of cloth and shout or attack each other. When people let their kindness and calmness be destroyed by these things, that's when it starts to really go wrong.

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:11 am

piotr wrote:Hi Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:And unless one argues that the Pancabali Sutta were a spurious addition into the AN by back-sliding Buddhists/Hindu infiltrators, the Pali Canon does have teachings for lay people who are not very into Nirodha.


Could you provide a number of this sutta (or PTS page number)? It's unknow to me. Thanks.


Hi piotr

Apologies. In my haste, I misnamed the Sutta. The pancabali are discussed in the Pattakamma Sutta, AN 4.61/AN 4.2.2.1. It is also discussed in the Adiya Sutta, AN 5.1.5.1. Among the pancabali is the devatabali - offerings to devas.

The first sutta mentions this in the context of a layman's practice for the sake of cattāro dhammā iṭṭhā kantā manāpā dullabhā lokasmiṃ, the 4 worldly pleasures of wealth, fame, long life and a heavenly rebirth.

While it's not extraordinary as a standard Buddhist message to lay-people, what's unusual is the fact that the sutta is addressed to Anathapindika, plus the pancabali is said to be of an ariyasavaka's practice. However, it is not altogether clear if the pancabali is the way to the attainment of the 4 worldly pleasures, since the passage follows the section on the 4 conducive practices. That section might simply be descriptive, rather than prescriptive.

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:05 am

Hi Sylvester,

Thanks. Here are some links:
Sylvester wrote:The pancabali are discussed in the Pattakamma Sutta, AN 4.61/AN 4.2.2.1.

First Sutta on this page: http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html
Sylvester wrote: It is also discussed in the Adiya Sutta, AN 5.1.5.1. Among the pancabali is the devatabali - offerings to devas.

I guess you mean AN 5.41: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:anjali:
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:31 am

Thanks Mike! Didn't realise that it was available on ATI.

Yet more secular teachings from the Buddha can be found in the Sarandada Sutta, AN 7.1.3.1. Among the 7 practices taught to promote the longevity of the Vajjian republic, offerings (bali) to their cetiyas was practice #6. A corresponding passage to the Sarandada Sutta can be found in DN 16.

Hmm, I wonder if that is the reason why veneration of the lak-meung (indakhīla/city post) figures in some aspects of Thai Buddhist practice... :stirthepot:

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby gavesako » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:25 am

The word "bali" (offerings) also occurs at the beginning of the Ratana Sutta:

1. "Whatever beings (non-humans) are assembled here, terrestrial or celestial, may they all have peace of mind, and may they listen attentively to these words:
2. "O beings, listen closely. May you all radiate loving-kindness to those human beings who, by day and night, bring offerings to you (offer merit to you). Wherefore, protect them with diligence.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html


As for the offerings to the city pillar (lak meuang) in Thailand, that is more connected with Brahmanism: they actually used to slaughter an animal and make a blood-offering once a year at the city pillar. :o
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby gavesako » Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:45 pm

The Knowing Buddha organization have held their march to raise awareness about improper use of Buddhist symbols:

Last Saturday, 30 of June, Knowingbuddha organization had a Dhamma campaign to stop people disrespecting Buddha at JJ weekend market and Khaosan Road.

Buddhists from both Bangkok and other provinces came to join the Dhamma march, which aimed to encourage both Buddhist and non-Buddhist to beware of how to act to the Buddha both his name and his symbols properly and to emphasized that the Buddha is the father religion.

JJ market is known as the popular place where the head of the Buddha image and others of his symbols are sold as the furniture or decoration. The campaign could draw the attention of the vendors and the foreigners a lot. Some vendors who sell things near a Buddha furniture shops said out loud to admire the campaign and they also helped hand out the brochures while many Thais who came for shopping seemed ignorant and were not much eager and interested in the activity even brochures.

At Kaosan Road was more successful because many tourists were very interested in the campaign. They took photos, made a video record and joined the procession and many were eager to seriously read the brochures.

From the survey, more than 95 % agreed with our campaign. One of the tourists really agreed that the Buddha statues should not be used as furniture, on shirts, decoration especially tattoo.

The vendors along the road gave us good support; they turned down the music in order to not disturb the speech of the campaign. A Chinese tourist guy after finished reading a brochure, showed his respect by Wai (way of paying respect by putting hands together and bend head down a bit)along the march. The issue of disrespecting Buddha was spread out immediately. One of the tourists said about the procession that “ They looked so peaceful !!”

Many tourists and the news reporters said the same thing that “This campaign is a very wonderful and real Buddhist path and it is very different from others.”

Our news has been interested by several overseas media such as Reuters, AP, CNN and Wall Street Journal. They said that they had never heard about this issue before. CNN’s reporter asked why no one does such a disrespecting act to other religions in return.

Master Acharawadee Wongsakon said “If someone did so they might have no place to live because people in other religion have a strong consciousness”.

Knowing Buddha Organization is successful at the first step in encouraging people and tourists to consider the proper act to the Buddha. However, we noticed that the major of those who agree and support our idea are foreigners while most Buddhists ignore and just pray at home.

“If Buddhists still neglect like this, it might be difficult to solve this problem” said the President of the organization.

Knowing Buddha appreciated and want to express our sincere thanks to those who participated and support our march especially, those who devoted their time to help us speak out and show the gratitude to the world.

May all your spirit being recalled forever and wish you a successful live.

:buddha2:

-----

It was reported by some international media:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012 ... 661093.htm

http://uk.reuters.com/video/2012/06/30/ ... oChannel=1

http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogall ... for-Buddha
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Viscid » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:57 pm

Thanks for the updates. It will be interesting to watch whether this grows into a wider movement.

The quote in the press release captures my concern: "The French would never allow this for another prophet."

I would hate to see the Buddha's image become a political concern for Buddhists in the same way as the Prophet Muhammad's is for Muslims.
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:53 pm

Hi Viscid,
Viscid wrote:The quote in the press release captures my concern: "The French would never allow this for another prophet."

I think it's a good sign that it is raising people's awareness of what the Buddha represents to followers of the Dhamma. If people understand the significance, then choose to use the iconography for other purposes, at least they are then making an informed choice.

To me the issue is similar to the use of flags, indigenous iconography/dance, etc. Clearly one would not object to making serious statements with those icons, such as Picasso's use of primitive art in Les Demoiselles d'Avignon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Demoiselles_d%27Avignon, or various art works that make use of flags:
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/10/us-flag-as-art.html
http://www.tjcenter.org/ArtOnTrial/flag.html
And here is a use of New Zealand Maori iconography, juxtaposed with Disney:
http://blog.humuhumu.com/2006/03/14/dic ... ki-tu-meke
Image

The point is that those art works play on the meanings of the iconography. Even if they are shocking, I think that's OK if they are done with an understanding of what they are doing. However, if they display a crass ignorance about a culture I think it is worth pointing that out.

:anjali:
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Viscid » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:25 pm

mikenz66 wrote:However, if they display a crass ignorance about a culture I think it is worth pointing that out.

:anjali:
Mike


I agree with you.

But isn't saying
"Using the Buddha's image in this way is bad." also saying
"People who use the Buddha's image in this way are bad?"

How are the retailers at chatuchak, who are catering to demand, going to be perceived after this organization says that they're capitalizing on insulting The Buddha? How will such a movement change Thai perceptions of ignorant westerners?

Educating ignorant Westerners on how to not offend Thai people through misuse of their religious iconography is fine. Getting people angry over misuse of religious iconography is not fine.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James


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