Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

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Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Ben » Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:15 pm

Hi all

On another thread, I mused recently about how the Buddha, Buddhism, and I guess Buddhists, seem to be the targets of dispariagement by way of jokes, novelty items or as a form of prosetylization by christian zealots. The comment I made was in response to an episode ;ast Sunday of Rove, a variety program in Australia, which when portrayed a comedy sketch on the topic of karma, made a dispariaging remark about the Buddha. This evening, I found this news item: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009 ... ion=justin

The plastic figurine of the seated, grinning Buddha had upset monks from an eighth century temple in the ancient capital of Nara.
They complained that the statuette had an inappropriately large bulge between its legs.
The brief story goes on to say that the figurine was pulled from sale.

A couple of years ago, I remember reading about a clothing manufacturer who made ladies thong underwear with a Buddha printed on it and an Australian beer manufacturer who bottled their beer in Buddha (Hotei) shaped bottles.

I sometimes think that it an artefact of living in samsara, the profound and the profane changing places. But I wonder why the same people don't have the balls to make underwear with the veiled image of Mohammad printed on the front or statuetes of mohammad with a hard-on.
Maybe I'm just overly sensitive, cranky or both.
What do you think?

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:20 pm

I think these things are unavoidable now in our present age with free speech and free expression etc. In relation to these things I think we should just keep in mind the Buddhas adivce not to get angry or sad when people make fun or criticise him or the Dhamma the same way we shouldnt be delighted when people praise him or the Dhamma


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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Prasadachitta » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:44 pm

Hi Ben,

I think it is a positive sign that there are those who feel its no problem to create disrespectful images of the Buddha. Do you think that it is unlikely we will find a Mohammad with an erection because of the wide spread reverence people have for him or because they fear the scorn and possible retribution that will result. I think people at some level know that Buddhist strive to cultivate a peaceful and tolerant attitude and so they are not as concerned about offending us.


Metta

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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Guy » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:50 pm

If anyone wants to disparage the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha that is their problem. They have to deal with the consequences of expressing their disrespect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. If we, identifying ourselves as Buddhists, get offended and angry at their remarks then that is our problem.

Why get upset? Why make problems?

With Metta,

Guy
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1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Jechbi » Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:39 pm

Hi Ben,
Ben wrote:Maybe I'm just overly sensitive, cranky or both.
What do you think?

I think it's a matter of appropriate sensitivity, and I suspect that's where you're coming from. The folks who make and/or sell those kinds of products apparently are not taking into consideration the religious sensitivities of those who might revere the Buddha in a possessive kind of way. That sort of reverence is going to occur, even if it's not the ideal. So why create a product to egg them on and make things worse?

The issue here is strangers communicating with each other, sending potentially powerful messages to others without knowing the effect of that communication. In a way, this merchandise is like a journalism product, broadcasting a message of jocularity about the Buddha. Some Buddhists won't be offended, some will. Of course the problem is not with the merchandise itself, but with the relationship between the retailer and the consumer. They don't necessarily know each other personally, so they make all kinds of potentially wrong assumptions about each other. We can't really know the retailer's intent. We can assume it's infused with ignorance, in the same way that we all continue to suffer under the yoke of ignorance.

If you ever have an opportunity to get to know one of the retailers personally, that might be a chance to bridge the gap and explain why production and sale of merchandise like that could have an unintended harmful effect. I don't think there's anything wrong with making an informed, polite protest. In any circumstance, though, equanimity is called for. In my opinion.

Metta
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby genkaku » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:31 pm

Hi Ben -- I think your practice is important.
I think your opinions, like mine, are less important.

Whether people run around turning a shard of bone into an object of veneration or a pair of underpants an object of dismay; whether they call their views the one true way or disparage the views of others as heretical or apostate ... when has it ever been different? Veneration is bound to generate disagreement.

Best to leave veneration and disagreement to others and just keep up your own good practice. As Gautama allegedly said, "It is not what others do and do not do that is my concern. It is what I do and do not do -- that is my concern."

Yeah, we all get cranky from time to time. Nothing saying we can't or won't ... sometimes it's downright fun...or anyway I think so. But also ... just keep up the good practice.
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:45 pm

Bhikkhu Bodhi talks about tolerance and specifically about the cartoon depictions of Muhammad in this video:



In the video (not that long) he makes the point that people should be tolerant and accepting of the adherent's of other religions wishes. Muslims do not like any images of Muhammad, period. Those wishes should be accepted by others. But he also makes the point that some adherents can be too sensitive and can sometimes over-react and certainly violence is not an appropriate response to a cartoon.

I personally don't mind the depictions of Buddha images in restaurants and clubs or in advertising, but the bulge between the legs would be going too far.
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Individual » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:30 pm

Ben wrote:Hi all

On another thread, I mused recently about how the Buddha, Buddhism, and I guess Buddhists, seem to be the targets of dispariagement by way of jokes, novelty items or as a form of prosetylization by christian zealots. The comment I made was in response to an episode ;ast Sunday of Rove, a variety program in Australia, which when portrayed a comedy sketch on the topic of karma, made a dispariaging remark about the Buddha. This evening, I found this news item: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009 ... ion=justin

The plastic figurine of the seated, grinning Buddha had upset monks from an eighth century temple in the ancient capital of Nara.
They complained that the statuette had an inappropriately large bulge between its legs.
The brief story goes on to say that the figurine was pulled from sale.

A couple of years ago, I remember reading about a clothing manufacturer who made ladies thong underwear with a Buddha printed on it and an Australian beer manufacturer who bottled their beer in Buddha (Hotei) shaped bottles.

I sometimes think that it an artefact of living in samsara, the profound and the profane changing places. But I wonder why the same people don't have the balls to make underwear with the veiled image of Mohammad printed on the front or statuetes of mohammad with a hard-on.
Maybe I'm just overly sensitive, cranky or both.
What do you think?

Ben

Considering that the Buddha didn't propose making any figures of him, i think he would be indifferent to these thngs.

Like Retrofuturist said in another thread, we wouldn't start a jihad against it. Nor should we.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Thaibebop » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:18 pm

Ben wrote:Hi all

On another thread, I mused recently about how the Buddha, Buddhism, and I guess Buddhists, seem to be the targets of dispariagement by way of jokes, novelty items or as a form of prosetylization by christian zealots. The comment I made was in response to an episode ;ast Sunday of Rove, a variety program in Australia, which when portrayed a comedy sketch on the topic of karma, made a dispariaging remark about the Buddha. This evening, I found this news item: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009 ... ion=justin

The plastic figurine of the seated, grinning Buddha had upset monks from an eighth century temple in the ancient capital of Nara.
They complained that the statuette had an inappropriately large bulge between its legs.
The brief story goes on to say that the figurine was pulled from sale.

A couple of years ago, I remember reading about a clothing manufacturer who made ladies thong underwear with a Buddha printed on it and an Australian beer manufacturer who bottled their beer in Buddha (Hotei) shaped bottles.

I sometimes think that it an artefact of living in samsara, the profound and the profane changing places. But I wonder why the same people don't have the balls to make underwear with the veiled image of Mohammad printed on the front or statuetes of mohammad with a hard-on.
Maybe I'm just overly sensitive, cranky or both.
What do you think?

Ben

I have these same feelings when I see a head of a Buddha placed on the end of stick and called a bookend, or that lovely hang out place the Buddha Bar with all these pictures of monks and a Buddha that people can get drunk next to and grind against each other, Great!!

My wife is equally upset but she lets it go and says it's their karma they will have to deal with later which means that there will be more poeple seeking the Dhamma in the future. :meditate:
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby BlackBird » Fri Jun 26, 2009 12:17 am

I too, used to get upset by these things. But a world without disrespect is a world where everyone's a Noble One.
As long as one percieves the problem to be external, then one will suffer as a result. You can't change these things - But you can change yourself.

Stay well friends
Jack.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby AdvaitaJ » Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:42 am

The issue for me isn't being upset by the disrespect so much as irritation with their ignorance. If these people knew how immediately helpful and significant the Buddha's teachings were, they'd probably never do such things. :cookoo:

Regards: AdvaitaJ
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:49 am

The offending "statue":

http://news.3yen.com/2009-06-25/buddhas ... ls-busted/

Even without a bulge, it is rather nasty.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Thaibebop » Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:17 am

tiltbillings wrote:The offending "statue":

http://news.3yen.com/2009-06-25/buddhas ... ls-busted/

Even without a bulge, it is rather nasty.

That's just stupid looking.
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:56 am

Hi all

I want to thank you all for your kind responses. And I agree with the majority of sentiments expressed. As I said on another thread, I think that it is our collective equanimity in the face of such ignorance, which is our strength. I also agree with Genkaku, our practice is most important.

I hope you don't mind if I explore another aspect to this discussion. While I was reading your responses, the thought occured to me that if we don't show respect for the triple gem, do we become complicit in the excesses of others, be it stupid remarks by way of a charactature, or some of the other examples I mentioned above? While I agree that we honor the Buddha by walking on the path, it has to be acknowledged that most of us live in highly secularised western societies where appearances are all important. If we do not defend the Buddhadhamma, do we become complicit in someone dispariaging the Buddhadhamma, thus creating a barrier for them in encountering the Dhamma?

Thanks for your kind consideration - I look forward to reading your responses.
Metta

Ben
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Jechbi » Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:02 am

Ben wrote:If we do not defend the Buddhadhamma, do we become complicit in someone dispariaging the Buddhadhamma, thus creating a barrier for them in encountering the Dhamma?

Yes, I think so.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:28 am

Hi jechbi

If you've got the time and inclination, I would appreciate it if you could expand on your comment.
Kind regards

Ben
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Jechbi » Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:18 am

Thanks for asking, Ben.

I don't expect everyone to agree, but I think we participate in any situation in which we find ourselves, and so we bear some responsibility if, through inaction, we allow something to occur even though we see how we might be able to make a difference and create a better situation.

What we choose to do and how we choose to act will always depend on the circumstances. But stupid remarks or caricatures almost by their nature are likely to convey an incorrect and counterproductive message that is unhelpful to those who hear it in ignorance. So why not address the ignorance in a caring way? No need to be overbearing, but maybe through humor or a friendly remark, it would be possible to awaken a sense of closer examination of what's going on.

On the other hand if we stand idly by while someone actually disparages the Buddhadhamma, then by default we're sending the message that there's nothing wrong with what's being said or done. Defending the Buddhadhamma doesn't mean being a jerk or declaring jihad or anything like that. But I do think that inaction does not equate to no kamma if we hear or see something occuring that would tend to fuel greed, hate or delusion, and we decide to try to stay out of it. Because we're already in it. That is our kamma.
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Guy » Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:04 am

I think there are other dimensions to consider before writing off inaction as unskilful, at least in some situations. Maybe there are some more extreme situations where I would agree that responsive action is necessary.

1) Generally speaking, not that I hold this as absolutey true, I believe that it's reasonable to assume that people who are coming from a position of intentionally making fun of the Buddha/Dhamma/Sangha (whether or not they are aware of the ramifications of doing so) will not care about us speaking out against their disrespectful behaviour. If they are ignorant and arrogant enough to make fun of something they don't fully understand to begin with, what makes us think that we have the means to change such a persons mind? In my experience, such ignorant/arrogant people are impossible to talk any sense into and are not worth the time.

2) If the Buddha was fully enlightened, if he taught the good and true teaching, if there are disciples to this day who practice as the Buddha taught and have attained various stages of enlightenment then how do the actions of some ignorant people take anything away from the Buddha/Dhamma/Sangha? Surely the only people who have anything to lose are the disrespectful people themselves. These people are robbing themselves. If we have faith in Buddha/Dhamma/Sangha then it is impossible for them to rob us.

3) Our resources could be put to better uses than trying to make everyone respectful and politically correct because it makes us uncomfortable. It would be much more skilful, imo, to focus on the subject of the discomfort we feel (ie. how the discomfort manifests itself in our own body and mind) than focusing on the object of our discomfort (ie. the people that we find offensive). If we go around trying to solve every injustice in the world and trying to make the external world perfect then we will have no resources left to focus on the inner world. As I understand the Buddha's teachings, it is because there are always going to be such problems as injustice, disrespect, people saying and doing things offensive that we need to sort these issues out in our own mind's rather than trying to change everyone else's mind.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Dhammabodhi » Fri Jun 26, 2009 12:46 pm

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I came across this news story:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Indi ... 703382.cms

I think what the girl did and what the newspaper is doing is commendable.
However, I do believe that up to a certain level we have to accept such ignorance and move on. Come to think of it, even more sinister forms of ignorance were present(and still are) both in the temporal and spacial vicinity of the Buddha himself! But he only preached to those who were willing to listen, and even then some people were not convinced! Ignorance is the greatest tragedy of mankind.

Metta,
Dhammabodhi
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby thornbush » Fri Jun 26, 2009 2:03 pm

I sometimes think that it an artefact of living in samsara, the profound and the profane changing places. But I wonder why the same people don't have the balls to make underwear with the veiled image of Mohammad printed on the front or statuetes of mohammad with a hard-on.
Maybe I'm just overly sensitive, cranky or both. What do you think?

Hi Ben,
I must say that for you to feel something about this case and the rest who make a parody of Buddhism or that of any systems of belief is applaudable. I never thought that there would those who will feel this way in this Dhamma Ending Age anymore.
I suppose the reason why they wouldn't dare do that to the Muslims is because they are known to take things seriously and consequences are 'real' when that line has been crossed, right or wrong. They are willing to give their lives for what they believe in and have demonstrated it and any right minded individual, company or country wouldn't want to risk that stake.
And as for Buddhism and Buddhists? We are seen as some kind of a door mat...anytime, anything, anywhere..."whatever will be will be" as the old tune goes...
Heck, some of us can't even decide if it is ok for one who has taken the Refuge/Precepts commitments to take commitments of other religions/faith systems at the same time. What more, when there is a need to defend the Proper Dhamma that is constantly either made into another $9.99 book in a New Age store or as how this thread has shown us an example. Now do you wonder anymore why you saw what you saw and heard what you heard on how/what many in history have done this 'disservice'?
Other parallels:
I remember once when I came across a video "Mr Gautama". It featured a Vesak event. I felt that addressing the Founder in such a casual manner was unbefitting as how He Himself had admonished:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/buddha.html
"So I said to them, 'Don't address the Tathagata by name and as "friend."

And so I posted a comment on that video with a gentle reminder with this quote on not simply addressing the Buddha nor any Founder of any faith systems in a casual manner. What I got? A scathing private message telling me that, that was his/her way of 'devotion' to the Buddha and I was manifesting an attachment to 'worldly titles' and 'over scrupulous' and further deleted my comment and disable the comment function for that video. What did I do? I sent back a reply thanking him/her for his/her comment and wished that person a Blessed Vesak 2009.
Now, compare this to what I had observed in numerous temples:
eating while a Dhamma Ceremony is going on, answering calls or letting their handphones ring during Dhamma assemblies or talks, parents allowing their children to go wild on temple grounds, answering a call right in front of the Bhante while he is doing a blessing and so forth.
Now...contrast this to what you have raised in this thread....do you see a pattern? There is some kind of 'de-sensitization' that is going on. As the old saying goes....'Familiarity breeds contempt'. Some are so numbed to the point that when the Proper Dhamma is being subverted in direct and indirect ways, it is taken as "what can one do?', 'so what?', 'stop being a tart' and so on...
I support what the elders of that temple had done. They stood up for the Dhamma and that has set a kind of precedent that in our practice of Dhamma, that as a Dhamma Ambassador, an Ambassador defends and cherishes what the Dhamma is.
See this parallel admonishment by the late Ven Master Hsuan Hua:
http://www.dharmaradio.org/chanting/Shu ... 8Lines.htm
After they graduated from the Summer Shurangama Study and Cultivation Session, five Americans left the home-life.
I sent them to Hai Hui (Sea-like Assembly) Monastery in Taiwan to receive the precepts.
The Good and Wise Advisors in Taiwan told them,
"The present time is the Dharma-ending Age. No one cultivates anymore. You’re still eating one meal a day? You’ve been cheated by your teacher."
When my American disciples heard this, they thought, "Oh, so we’ve been cheated by our teacher. What should we do?"
The Good and Wise Advisors said, "Well, go ahead and eat. Drink wine and eat meat."
The five people started to have doubts about Buddhism. "Why did our teacher teach us to eat one meal a day, and now they tell us we should eat in the morning and evening as well? What’s going on? There must be something wrong here."
Their minds were swayed and they wanted to start eating more meals, but they had a meeting and decided to go back and make sure before they did that. They also told the Good and Wise Advisors in Taiwan that they slept sitting up. Some people in Taiwan told them, "You sleep sitting up? People did that when the Buddha was in the world. Now the Buddha isn’t around anymore, so why do you do it? It’s really a case of Americans being cheated by the Chinese."
What happened then? When they returned, they got mischievous.
They said, "In Taiwan, everyone eats three meals a day. We shouldn’t eat just one meal."
They acted naughty with me. They said more, but I don’t remember that much.
It took more than three months before their doubts were resolved.
At that time, some people in Taiwan would say,
"Dharma Master Hsuan Hua has taken some hippies as disciples in America.
There are many hippies hanging out in Golden Gate Park, and Dharma Master Hsuan Hua goes there to meditate.
When the hippies see him meditating, they’re curious and go up to talk to him.
Then Dharma Master Hsuan Hua tells them to go visit the temple.
They go to the temple and find that the life-style there is pretty similar to their hippie life-style, so they all leave the home-life."
There is another rumor in Taiwan: "You know what? Dharma Master Hsuan Hua takes drugs with the hippies in America. The hippies take LSD and marijuana. They can get high on just one capsule of LSD and feel as carefree as if they were in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. But Dharma Master Hsuan Hua can take more than ten capsules without being affected in the least. He doesn’t get high or feel as carefree as if he were in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. That’s why all those hippies admire him and left the home-life under him. Don’t believe in him."

You can talk back and forth, but whether they are hippies or not does not matter. He who works hard in cultivation is good. He who does not work hard in cultivation is not good. If he is not a hippie, but he does not cultivate, that’s not good. If he is a hippie and he cultivates, that’s just as good.
Therefore, in Buddhism, mere talking about cultivation doesn’t count. There must be real practice and real benefit. Don’t just say, "I have concentration. I have this samadhi or that samadhi." And another person also comes up with another kind of samadhi.
Now I will tell everyone about some lines that I thought of:
Paying lip service to samadhi,
They say, "I am right and you are wrong."
In time, their original appearance is revealed,
And they are covered with offenses.

This is saying that people just pay lip service to Buddhism and treat it as child’s play.
They talk carelessly without taking responsibility for cause and effect.
Who will fall into the Hell of Ripping Out Tongues? Precisely that kind of person.
When they get there, their tongues will be ripped out and they won’t be able to talk anymore.
In their minds they will think, "What a mess I’m in. If I knew this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have fooled around like that."

Perhaps...we do what we can but beyond that, perhaps a more capable teacher will have to take over, kamma.
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