Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:57 pm

Viscid wrote: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?"

No, it's simply educating people about a culture. If they are educated they can then make informed choices about what they do.
Viscid wrote:Getting people angry over misuse of religious iconography is not fine.

Who is getting people angry?

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

Postby Mr Man » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:55 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Who is getting people angry?

I don't know who is or who isn't getting angry and I don't much about the "Knowing Buddha organization" but I do know that reactionary and xenophobic forces are often at play in Thailand. Looking at the home page the http://www.knowingbuddha.org/, In my opinion I would say that it is a bit upside down.

The Brahma statue in vegas is a replica of the Brahma housed in the famus Erawan Shrine which was vandalized a few years back. The image was attacked by a mad man with a hammer. He was subsequntly beaten to death.
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby manas » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:06 am

Mr Man wrote:The Brahma statue in vegas is a replica of the Brahma housed in the famus Erawan Shrine which was vandalized a few years back. The image was attacked by a mad man with a hammer. He was subsequntly beaten to death.


I hope he was not beaten in retaliation for attacking the sculpture, because that would have been sadly ironic.

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby robertk » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:55 am

He was beaten to death on the spot, right in the center of Bangkok.
But the image was a hindu one and nothing to do with Buddhism. Still some Thai's think it has some special powers ..
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby gavesako » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:02 pm

If you want to know how the Thais generally relate to religious symbols and brahmanical-animist ceremonies which are believed to influence important national issues, see this article:
http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandal ... litics.pdf

The destruction of the Brahma shrine was put direct connection with some political events that occurred afterwards. It was a bad omen, in other words.
:thinking:
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:59 pm

Hmmm...
That is interesting, Bhante. It reminds me (somewhat) of the influence of the State, Sangha and the Laity in Burma.
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Mr Man » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:05 pm

gavesako wrote:If you want to know how the Thais generally relate to religious symbols and brahmanical-animist ceremonies which are believed to influence important national issues,
I'm not sure if it is "believed" or more of a combination of believed/used/manipulated.

The destruction of the Brahma shrine was put direct connection with some political events that occurred afterwards. It was a bad omen, in other words.

The destruction of the Brahma shrine was certainly used to gain power points but in Thailand it is not always easy to tell what comes first and what follows.

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Mr Man » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:00 am

robertk wrote:But the image was a hindu one and nothing to do with Buddhism.

The shrine is predominantly patronaged by Buddhists though.
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby gavesako » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:04 pm

It seems the KnowingBuddha group have started an educational campaign by leaving comments on websites which market products disrespectful of Buddhism, such as this "Buddha Chair":

http://www.damngeeky.com/2012/06/07/ser ... l-feeling/

http://www.pantip.com/cafe/religious/to ... 31746.html
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Viscid » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:17 am

gavesako wrote:It seems the KnowingBuddha group have started an educational campaign by leaving comments on websites which market products disrespectful of Buddhism, such as this "Buddha Chair":

http://www.damngeeky.com/2012/06/07/ser ... l-feeling/


Phawat_s wrote:Stop Disrespecting "Buddha"
Don't you have any brain left?
.... I D I O T...


On the Internet, the more you say that you're offended by someone doing something, the more people're going to do it to get a reaction out of you.
:popcorn:
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby gavesako » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:09 pm

Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera

Are Buddhists Idol Worshippers?
Buddhists are not idol worshippers but ideal worshippers.


"The Buddha images are nothing more than symbolic representations of His great qualities. It is not unnatural that the deep respect for the Buddha should be expressed in some of the finest and most beautiful forms of art and sculpture the world has ever known. It is difficult to understand why some people look down on those who pay respect to images which represent holy religious teachers.
The calm and serene image of the Buddha has been a common concept of ideal beauty. The Buddha's image is the most precious, common asset of Asian cultures. Without the image of the Buddha, where can we find a serene, radiant and spiritually emancipated personality?"

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/whatbudbeliev/209.htm

:buddha1:


Here is a nice visual presentation about the history of Buddha images in Thailand:

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/his ... aiart.html
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Mr Man » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:24 pm

gavesako wrote:It seems the KnowingBuddha group have started an educational campaign by leaving comments on websites which market products disrespectful of Buddhism, such as this "Buddha Chair":

http://www.damngeeky.com/2012/06/07/ser ... l-feeling/


Bhante, I don't really think leaving comments on websites constitutes an educational campaign and I'm also not sure if inanimate objects have the ability to be disrespectful.
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby gavesako » Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:27 am

Yes, it is the people who design and sell them who are now going to be targeted by the Knowing Buddha information campaign -- or perhaps we could call it a "public pressure" campaign. If lots of them leave comments (preferable polite, but there are bound to be some bad words mixed in as well) on the websites concerned, it might make the owners think twice about what they are doing.
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Mr Man » Sat Jul 07, 2012 11:11 am

gavesako wrote:Yes, it is the people who design and sell them who are now going to be targeted by the Knowing Buddha information campaign -- or perhaps we could call it a "public pressure" campaign. If lots of them leave comments (preferable polite, but there are bound to be some bad words mixed in as well) on the websites concerned, it might make the owners think twice about what they are doing.


How about "Knowing Buddha" spreading information about right speech? The Buddha chair etc are certainly insensitive (unintentionally?) but I'm not sure what actually puts the Buddhist religion in a worse light? Have you read the comments in Thai? Perhaps the people leaving the coments and "Knowing Buddha" need to think twice?
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby gavesako » Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:37 pm

This is certainly an interesting case of observing cross-cultural misunderstandings and preconceptions/prejudices. On the Western side, there is quite a bit of cultural arrogance and insensitivity (towards any culture that is regarded as "less developed" and "not ours") which has historical roots. But even among Westerners sympathetic towards other cultures, and admiring other cultures for being more spiritual, there is a lack of basic knowledge concerning etiquette and body language (as we can often see when they visit a country like Thailand and behave in temples in ways that go against Thai cultural norms -- although if they read the travel guides carefully they should know better).
On the Thai side, and in the current political climate, there is also a sense of pride and anti-foreign sentiment which is now probably being directed against such perceived offensive acts by "ignorant Farangs". The comments range from fairly well-presented polite pleas to angry nationalist rants. Often their knowledge of English and their spelling is not very good.

Respect is common sense. Would you sit on a chair that have a photo of your parent's head? Common Sense. ค่ะ

Stop done thing this!

Shocking... why would they do this?

really stupid


But some of the Thai comments also urge the others to have a more open mind and simply accept that cultures are not the same and that there a different cultural perceptions of what is appropriate and what not. The Knowing Buddha organizers also urge people to use polite language, but unfortunately the English language skills of some of the Thai commentators are limited to a few rude words...

They have received an apology from the American company which makes the Buddha head furniture:

Apology from 21st-living design, The truth that hurts Buddhist hearts.

คำขอโทษ และที่มาที่น่าเจ็บปวด

"Words from 21st living design"

The starting product research emerged that nowadays you can find in the world market many locations (e.g. the Buddha Bars) and a wide variety of objects (pillows, bikinis, slippers, carpets,sneakers, water closets, bier bottles etc.) that represent images of the Buddha.
For these reasons, we thought it appropriate to proceed in making these objects, with an attitude of absolute respect and good faith.

We are sorry for having aroused feelings of disapproval, and we hope that these explanations can eliminate any negative sentiment.

21st living design

.................
They didn't say they will stop producing these product line.
Please help write to them at E: info@21st-design.com

We admit that the growth of Buddha Bar has led the world of business that disrespects Buddha even more immensely. Buddhists have been too quite on this matter. Even though we've started quite late but it's better than never. We'd like to ask Buddhists and supporters, to please help us ban this company and help us stop all of these disrespectful acts towards Buddha.

We ,Buddhists really have to fix these issues at its core by giving proper knowledge. - Knowing Buddha Organization.
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Zach » Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:04 pm

Whoever see's the Image of a Buddha or a Stupa will have an indestructible potential for accomplishing enlightenment. The use of them in pop culture is a good thing ! :woohoo:
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Mr Man » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:29 pm

Bhante, cultural arrogance and insensitivity is shared by all.

The Thai language comments on the "damngeeky" page are most probebly some of the most profane so we can't really use language skills as an excuse.

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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby Viscid » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:40 pm

gavesako wrote:On the Thai side, and in the current political climate, there is also a sense of pride and anti-foreign sentiment which is now probably being directed against such perceived offensive acts by "ignorant Farangs".


I wonder if Ajahn Brahmavamso's Bhikkhuni ordinations had some influence on this shift in sentiment.. I hear it's actually more difficult for Westerners to ordain because of those bhikkhuni ordinations, so perhaps Thais see Western influence as an attack on their traditions, and are becoming defensive..
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby gavesako » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:46 pm

Perhaps this article explaining the Thai tendency to tribalism or "Whose group do you belong to?" might also throw some light on this topic:

http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opin ... your-daddy

And another article from the same author mentions:

I read that the Republican Party of Texas called for a ban on teaching critical thinking skills in the state's schools because of its "focus on behaviour modification" that has "the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority". ...
In an article on what Thailand thinks, the report stated ''the conservative Thai establishment has grown increasingly hostile to the 'Western' values symbolised by America, partly in response to growing pressure from ordinary people for greater democracy and freedom of speech.''


http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opin ... e-restless
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Re: Respect for Buddha images and offensive use of symbols

Postby cooran » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:53 am

Hello Ajahn,

This picture seems appropriate for your thread:
https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#! ... =1&theater

with metta and respect,
Chris
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