Author Topic: Criminalising anti-Buddhist acts is not very Buddhist  (Read 1092 times)

Offline Dharmakara

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4233
    • View Profile
Criminalising anti-Buddhist acts is not very Buddhist
« on: October 02, 2013, 03:27:44 am »
I came across the following article on the The Nation --- this is the official website of the group itself:

http://www.knowingbuddha.org/

Has anyone ever encountered this group?


Quote
Criminalising anti-Buddhist acts is not very Buddhist
by PRAVIT ROJANAPHRUK


Is "KNOWING BUDDHA"  -  a group of Thai Buddhists who are relentlessly tackling what they see as a disrespectful act against the image of Buddha  -  the new face of Thai Buddhism?

The year-old group has been battling manufacturers of all sorts of products around the world that exploit the image of the Buddha to make money. The goods range from skateboards, lampstands, armchairs and underwear to bars named after the historical Buddha such as the Buddha Bar in Paris and Buddha Tattoo.

While I sympathise with these Buddhists who feel deeply offended, I cannot condone their call to have a law enacted to make disrespectful acts or products against the Buddha a criminal offence. Do they really think the historical Buddha would have approved the jailing of people who express disrespect for him?

The group also tries to push Buddhism to become Thailand's official state religion, thus risking having religion becoming more influential in secular life and potentially alienating non-Buddhists in Thailand.

It is fine to proactively promote mutual religious respect and for this Knowing Buddha plans to distribute two million pamphlets at various spots for tourists entering the Kingdom. But calling for the jailing of "offenders" is just not Buddhist.

When the group hosted a seminar on the topic last week at the Senate, its chairwoman, Acharawadee Wongsakol, spoke with bitterness and anger. Anger and attachment are rather un-Buddhist, however.

The group needs to be reminded that the historical Buddha never approved the idea of making a statue in his liking for worship. Such a practice began with the Gandhara Buddha statues with classical Greek artistic influence in what is today's northwest Pakistan, after the lifetime of the Buddha.

What makes Buddhism unlike most other religions is that Buddha is not God, and perhaps this is why he was never supportive of the idea of having a statue made in his liking for worship. People can easily cling onto a Buddha statue instead of Buddhist teaching, which was originally more of a philosophy than a religion. And this is what groups like Knowing Buddha are clinging on to now - the image of the Buddha and the perceived disrespect done to it.

At the Senate last week I heard both Acharawadee and her colleagues speak with anger about the commercialisation of the Buddha image for foreign consumption. Surprisingly, however, nothing was mentioned about the gross commercialisation of Buddhist amulets among Thais.

As anyone who is familiar with Thailand knows, the trade in assorted Buddhist amulets is a big business here. Actually, it's not just a business, but a gross distortion of Buddhist teachings, as amulet owners believe that by owning, wearing and praying to these small images of the Lord Buddha, they will be blessed and protected and made rich, amorously attractive, popular and allegedly even bulletproof - subject to owning the right kind of genuine amulet.

Some of these popular amulets the size of a Bt10 coin and made of clay or metal could fetch Bt1 million or more and there are magazines entirely devoted to discerning the real item from the phoneys, and the facilitation of the trade.

It's ironic that a group calling itself Knowing Buddha is more concerned about what non-Buddhists in the West do to pseudo-Buddha images than what is happening to Thai Buddhists who have prioritised owning the right amulet over truly understanding and knowing Buddha and his teachings.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Criminalising-anti-Buddhist-acts-is-not-very-Buddh-30216101.html


Offline Lobster

  • Member
  • Posts: 1341
    • View Profile
Re: Criminalising anti-Buddhist acts is not very Buddhist
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2013, 05:18:11 am »
Would these be 'straw man Buddhists', building on a notion of dharma that they have created and then knocking down the heretics, blasphemers and other heretics? Maybe they are Don Quixote Buddhists, confusing windmills and giants . . .

What can we do to help them knock themselves out? Should we counter or even discuss the opposing factions which fuel their condition?  :)


Offline Infinity989

  • Member
  • Posts: 69
    • View Profile
Re: Criminalising anti-Buddhist acts is not very Buddhist
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2014, 02:12:26 am »
well, life is short.  time is short.  We don't have time for everything.  There is too much work in meditation to do.  And there is too much social service to the suffering to do.

So, I don't see that we really have time to engage these kinds of things.

However, fighting the commercialism and materialism that creeps into spirituality may be a valid choice. 

There are historical examples of masters fighting the worldly corruption around them.  It depends on what is necessary in the specific case.

I guess some work on controlling the way the image of Buddha and Buddhism is presented may be good work.  Depends on the intention and on the gentleness with which it is carried out.  If it is done with great care and kindness and compassion, some of it could be good work.  As long as it is not all consuming and the primary focus of those doing this is still on meditation, acts of kindness, etc. etc. etc.

As we see with the Westboro Baptist Church...hate is a seductive force.  We can be tempted off the path by constantly hating and criticizing all the problems of the world.  Again, never criticizing the problems of the world, can leave them to fester and grow and become bigger problems.  So, having a mind to putting a check on them is not always a bad idea.

Offline dyanaprajna2011

  • Member
  • Posts: 63
  • Zen is...
    • View Profile
Re: Criminalising anti-Buddhist acts is not very Buddhist
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2014, 07:50:32 am »
well, life is short.  time is short.  We don't have time for everything.  There is too much work in meditation to do.  And there is too much social service to the suffering to do.

So, I don't see that we really have time to engage these kinds of things.

However, fighting the commercialism and materialism that creeps into spirituality may be a valid choice. 

There are historical examples of masters fighting the worldly corruption around them.  It depends on what is necessary in the specific case.

I guess some work on controlling the way the image of Buddha and Buddhism is presented may be good work.  Depends on the intention and on the gentleness with which it is carried out.  If it is done with great care and kindness and compassion, some of it could be good work.  As long as it is not all consuming and the primary focus of those doing this is still on meditation, acts of kindness, etc. etc. etc.

As we see with the Westboro Baptist Church...hate is a seductive force.  We can be tempted off the path by constantly hating and criticizing all the problems of the world.  Again, never criticizing the problems of the world, can leave them to fester and grow and become bigger problems.  So, having a mind to putting a check on them is not always a bad idea.

This here.  Meditation and service are much more important, and most of us have home lives, jobs, and such that would keep us from much of anything else.  But if you have the time, and do it in a spirit of compassion and education, then I say go for it. 
"If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing." -Dogen

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal