Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha TheraAre 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
Here is a nice visual presentation about the history of Buddha images in Thailand:http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/his ... aiart.html