Sherlock wrote:I don't think the third point there makes much sense. Looking at the examples of religious groups (e.g. Evangelical Protestant Churches) who have tried to do that, it ends up as just commodifying and diluting the teachings if it is even successful (in other cases, like Japanese temples using anime, it fails and is rather "try-hard").
Yeah, I've seen that in Japan as well. One even hired a girl to act as a cosplay representative for their temple.
While they don't go the anime route, some Chinese organizations produce products other than icons and books. There are the typical malas and so on, but you also see what I outlined above: mugs, clothing, edibles, etc...
I believe the idea behind it is that they are skilfully engaging in mainstream culture and providing potentially beneficial alternatives (like detergent that is maybe eco-friendly and has some pretty calligraphy on the side of the bottle).
I've never seen such things in India or Nepal, perhaps because monasteries are poor and/or don't feel it necessary to hire people specifically to design and market Buddhist themed products. Big temples in Japan sometimes have giftshops, but they're pretty low-key all things considered, even in touristy places like Kyoto and Nara.
I think it's undeniable that historically, Buddhism has mostly prospered with either state support or financial support of wealthy patrons.
That's true, but they didn't get their big financing from people buying Buddhisty knick-knacks and so on. I think this is still true today for the most part. I don't think Buddhist themed kids clothes will compete with, say, Disney characters.
For Buddhism (or Buddhist groups) to survive economic contraction in the decades ahead, it should try to avoid mass commercialization projects and to advocate a lifestyle not dependent on globalization.
I agree, but unfortunately not everyone has such ideas. The idea of permanent economic contraction is largely unheard of here in Taiwan for example (and much of Asia likewise hasn't seem to caught on to the trends). There is still a lot of expansionism both locally and abroad (building universities, giant memorial halls, large temples, etc...) in this part of the world. It is all quite capital intensive and no doubt depends on capitalist-industrialism, which is not exactly sustainable or good for the planet.