Viscid wrote:Buddha statues are sometimes idols, sometimes just statues.
Children in Buddhist countries will see their parents bow and pay great respect to statues and grow up to believe that The Buddha and statues of him have some sort of inherent magical sacredness. That's idolatry, and it's not commonly overcome. Most native Buddhists are indeed just idol-worshippers.
I disagree with the statement and believe that the logic for this statement is flawed or at least based on limited information.
In traditional households in Thailand children grow up seeing their parents show respect to the grandparents by use of wai and other conduct. This is consistent with the culture and the dhamma – what does the Buddha say we owe our parents?
Thai kids are taught to respect and show respect to teacher by wai and other conduct – what is the Buddha if not the best and most respected teacher.
Thai kids are brought up seeing their parents, grand parents pay respect to the Buddha and the other Monks by wai and other conduct. Naturally you should show respect to those who are respected by those you respect.
My adopted thai kids (along with my wife) wash my feet the first time that I enter the house to say welcome to a most respected and welcome person. When the village marriage happens the same thing happens to me after I have got through the three gates. This means the same thing as before but because of the nature and formality of the occasion it gives me recognition that I am their father. However that recognition and me accepting that means that I have accepted the family role and owe the appropriate obligations as the house holder as stated in the Pali Cannon.
If my daughter had her way she would wash my dam feet every time I come back into the house – inconvenient is a polite description that could be used. Her view is that she is showing respect and recognition for my role and what she thinks I bring to her life. So we compromise and it is only if I have been away for a while that she does it. i normally let her wai to me; however if I tell her that I do not want her to pay me respect then that is a very effective way of showing disapproval for an action and would result in her going to her room and crying.
So can someone please tell this poor Asian born not convert person what I or the family is doing to teach the kids idol worship by bowing to a representation of the Buddha out of respect for the Buddha and Dhamma