Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby Thaibebop » Fri Jun 26, 2009 2:59 pm

Ben wrote: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

I agree, yet I find it best to defend only when it will educate, when the person is receptive to what you have to say. Otherwise, I stay silent so as not to create negative karma for myself by pushing too much, or mouthing off at someone even if they deserve it.
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby James N. Dawson » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:18 am

Following are a series of e-mails germaine to the issue I wrote ca. 2006. I believe the protest was over "washing the baby Buddha" performed in Mahayana countries at the Mahabodhi temple:

Dear Venerable Ananda, Ken and Visakha:

I did go ahead and politely e-mail the officials you
requested us to, encouraging them to cancel said
celebrations, even though for various reasons I've
been hesitant to really involve myself in such issues
for many years.

As you can see from the attachment to this letter, the
issue is complex. If Buddhagaya and the Mahabodhi
Temple is for ALL the world's Buddhists, certainly it
is for the Zen Buddhists. And if it's for the Zen
Buddhists, it must be for those among them for whom
"iconoclasm" and "inappropriate behavior" is an
important expression of their mode of
Dhamma-understanding.

Anway, I'll leave you with the attachment to further
explain my point.

I hope the situation resolves itself to the
satisfaction of all parties.

Respectfully in the Dhamma,

James N. Dawson

Attached:

"(Mr.) T.A.BURGESS"

{ I sent this email by but it was returned to me so I am trying another email address.)

Dear James,

I am filing a complaint about a high profile business in Melbourne which uses the trading name "Chocolate Buddha" Basically , I am objecting because such a name is a serious trivialization of the Buddha and by implication ,his Teachings.We have plenty of prejudice here in Australia against Buddhism ,by the way. I am not opposed to the use of the word "Buddha" by businesses per se, but I do object to the name being linked to inappropriate adjectives or attributes.

Thus I have no problem with Golden Buddha / Radiant Buddha etc.etc.I am definitely NOT judgmental in my complaint about the use of Chocolate Buddha as a trading name- my objection is solely based on the conviction that such a name tends to disparage the Buddha and his Teachings and will tend to bolster prejudice and encourage the dismissal of the Buddhas' Teachings as a viable and wise guide to life.

If you are interested in this matter then , I certainly would appreciate your input. I need to prepare a response in about a fortnight and am working on it already and have made considerable progress as the reply to my initial formal complaint to the equal opportunity commission here is very weak and subjective.

By " high profile" I mean really high profile.This Cafe Chocolate Buddha is situated in the new Federation Square Complex in central Melbourne.Millions a have been poured into developing it without restraint. The buildings are of a stunning, very hi-tech design and the whole Complex is seen as Melbourne's answer to the Sydney Opera house! The context here is traditional rivalry between Australia's two largest cities !
I close now. Take care of yourself and I look forward to hearing from you. TERRY

Forwarded Message: Re: Chocolate Buddha
Re: Chocolate BuddhaFriday, February 28, 2003 4:43 PM
From: "James Dawson" <jamesndawson@yahoo.com>To: "(Mr.) T.A.BURGESS" <tburgess@dodo.com.au>Dear Terry:

I distinctly remember your writing me about this and my sending you reply, but I can't find the latter in my "sent file".

Terry, I hope you won't be put off with me, but in accordance with my libertarian principles, as distasteful, insensitive and disrespectful as this company's abuse of the Buddha's name is, and indeed it is all of these, I don't believe in a government commision to forbid it. It's one of those perhaps unpleasant stands I have to take as a libertarian and advocate of free speech, even when stupid and offensive.

However, this trivilization problem also part of a larger issue. Many Zen practicioners, both Asian traditionalists and Western, also practice this sort of "irreverence" as a matter of principle. For instance, there was a Korean Zen master by the name of So An Sim (I'm not sure about the spelling), who wrote a book called "Dropping Ashes on the Buddha", and in whose meditation center it was made a practice to take Dhamma books into the bathroom. It was all part of a deliberate "iconoclasm". Similarly, there were a couple books by Westerners several decades ago, one called "If You Meet the Buddha by the Roadside, Kill Him", and "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", the latter of which, might be regarded as something of a trivialization. Certainly this company could point to such practices of many Buddhists themselves as a justification for their own choice of their restaurant's name. Further, is there a consensus among the larger Buddhist community in Australia against this company using the name of the Enlightened One in this way?

To many Westerners, Buddhism is Zen, and Zen is iconoclasm and irreverence. I don't share this attitude, but in situations like this one, I feel you might be fighting a lonely battle.

Please don't take this as criticism or dissuasion from your efforts. I respect and share your feelings on the matter. If the EOC fails to take action, what about getting a petition requesting a name change, getting as many Buddhist signatures as possible, and presenting it to this company.

Whatever course you think is best, good luck, and I hope you'll understand my position.

Your Dhamma friend,

James
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:48 am

James N. Dawson wrote:Following are a series of e-mails germaine to the issue I wrote ca. 2006. I believe the protest was over "washing the baby Buddha" performed in Mahayana countries at the Mahabodhi temple: ...

I'm not sure why you mention specifically Zen iconoclasticism. Washing the Buddha seems to be a popular activity in various non-iconoclastic Mahayana circles.

Besides, splashing water on Buddha Rupa is very popular in Thailand at Songkran...

Mike
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:52 am

Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:Besides, splashing water on Buddha Rupa is very popular in Thailand at Songkran...


Reading through Piyadassi's translation of the Book Of Protection, I see the utilisation of water in ceremonies where the protective verses are chanted, such as the opening of a new monestary etc.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby appicchato » Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:35 am

Slightly off topic here, sorry...

In Thailand water is used in virtually every ceremony (involving lay people) going...


:focus:
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby James N. Dawson » Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:17 am

I'm not sure why you mention specifically Zen iconoclasticism. Washing the Buddha seems to be a popular activity in various non-iconoclastic Mahayana circles.

Besides, splashing water on Buddha Rupa is very popular in Thailand at Songkran...
My apologies. It wasn't about washing the baby Buddha. It was about Japanese Buddhists bringing in amplified music (rock?) into Mahabodhi to celebrate the Buddha's birthday on April 8. Very different situation.

Why do I mention Zen iconoclasm? I'm not attacking Zen. I'm just saying "irreverence" is very much a part of Zen, Zen is a school of Buddhism, and many people therefore may think it's okay to be "irreverent" toward Buddhism. It's part of the popular conception of what Buddhism is or should be to many people, and *some* Buddhists have fostered it. Again, no attack, just an observation. It's one reason I tend to not want to say anything about the disrespect, because I'm never sure if I'd have much support if did. Also, non-Buddhists really have no obligation to respect what we do. What I find awkward is when we as Buddhists are expected to laugh WITH them, or we're looked at as humorlous sticks in the mud if we don't. I won't condemn or even comment on disrespect, but I won't go along with it either. I find it almost impossible to even call the Kurt Cobain grunge band by it's name. The mere thought makes me very uncomfortable.
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:42 am

Hi James,
James N. Dawson wrote:My apologies. It wasn't about washing the baby Buddha. It was about Japanese Buddhists bringing in amplified music (rock?) into Mahabodhi to celebrate the Buddha's birthday on April 8. Very different situation.

OK, thanks for the clarification. However, I would point out that you get loud amplified music at Thai Wats as well...

Mike
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby christopher::: » Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:53 pm

Hi all,

Concerning Zen "irreverence" my understanding is that its purpose is to remind practitioners that "objectification" is a false view. If you Meet Buddha on the Road kill him is meant as a metaphor for "if during the course of your practice you come to believe you are a Buddha- a fully enlightened being - banish that thought, kill it."

A story was just told about this over at ZFI, though i couldnt just now find it. A woman builds a hut for a monk to live in and meditate. He stays there for years. She sends her daughter over as a test to seduce him. He responds "I am beyond that, all desires have died, I am no longer touched by this world."

Hearing about this, the woman is disgusted and has the hut burned down.

:stirthepot:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:12 pm

I think there are several issues here- to be effective externally and effective internally are two different things

you might raise a quiet petition

..bearing in mind that the buddha asked us to let go of attachment to the path itself (similie of the raft)
all suffering arises because we are attached -similarly we can easily become attached to the buddha's image
we take it as 'mine' and link it in with something which defines myself
then when someone desecrates it we fall into suffering

all of this easier said than done..

restraunt opened near to me called the 'Buddha'- probalby sells alcohol- should I complain? will it have any effect? am i giving rise to dfilements in the process? will they change the name? - or does all those buddha heads used for aesthetic beauty actually instill a sense of peace in those who view it and form positive links with buddhism in their minds?

does any of it ultiamtely matter?

:jedi: or :meditate: ?
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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