Buddha as a commercial logo...

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Buddha as a commercial logo...

Postby thornbush » Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:01 am

Dear All,

Its the Ven S. Dhammika.....again :tongue:

The Buddha Logo by Ven. Shravasti Dhammika
http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 29,0,0,1,0

The call.... :popcorn:
Singapore -- Some months back I got a telephone call from an American woman who was in Singapore on business. Our conversation went something like this.

Her: Good morning. I'm ringing to try to get some information about Buddhism (cheerful).
Me: Yes. How can I help you?
Her: We're launching a new line of clothing, T shirts and the like. And the logo for the line is a picture of the Buddha holding a cup of tea. I'm sure Buddhists wouldn’t be offended by this. What would you think about this?
Me: A picture of the Buddha holding a cup of tea?
Her: Yep.
Me:: As a logo on T shirts?
Her: Yes. That's right.
Me: Look, I'm just a simple monk so you explain for me. What's the connection between the Buddha and clothing? And why the cup of tea?
Her: Well, you know. The Buddha is associated with, you know, spirituality, the infinite and all that. And the cup of tea suggests, you know, casualness, easygoingness, you know.
Me:: Mmm. Actually I don't know. But you would like my opinion about this. Is that right?
Her: Yes.
Me: Well, I don't think this is very offensive and I don't think the average Buddhist would be offended by it either. I don't think they are going to throw rocks through you window, threaten to kill you or burn down your factory. But I do think that a logo like this belittles Buddhism and I think most Buddhists would agree with me. They would probably be more sad than angry that an images which is particularly meaningful to them was being used so frivolously. And also that it is being used for a commercial goal.

And the PLOT thickens :tongue:
Her: But I'm a Buddhist myself. I would never belittle the Buddha.
Me: You're a Buddhist?
Her: Absolutely! I respect the Buddha and Buddhism (defensive).
Me:What are the Four Noble Truths?
Her: Er!..Um…Um. Er! The Four Noble Truths? (very hesitant)
Me: Yes, the Four Noble Truths. What are the Four Noble Truths?
Her: Er! D…D…D…Dalka?
Me: Mm. Am I right in saying that you are reading that from a book in front of you?
Her: I feel like I'm being interrogated here (slightly annoyed).
Me: Well. You told me you were a Buddhist. I asked you a pretty basic question about the Buddha's teachings and you didn't know it. The proper pronunciation is dukkha. I suspect that like a lot of people you mistake 'respect' for Buddhism, for liking it from a distance, while knowing very little about it and not practicing the parts that don't suit you.
Her: No! I really respect Buddhism.

The finale... :rolleye:
Me: Well, to get back to your question. You asked me for my opinion about your logo and I told you what I think. I think it belittles and diminishes a noble man and a noble philosophy of life and I think it is an unfortunate choice. I think to use a sacred image for commercial purposes in insensitive to the feelings of others and inappropriate. It's on a par with getting an image of the Buddha, drilling a hole in the top of its head and sticking a lamp shade in it. I don't think I can say anything else.
Her: Well, thank you (irritated).
Me: Be well and happy

Should sacred Buddhist iconography be used for trivial/commercial purposes? What do you think? Opinions?

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Buddha as a commercial logo...

Postby thecap » Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:26 pm

Hi thornbush

I don't know, but shouldn't the question rather be: Are graphical icons holy/sacred?

Afterall, Buddhist iconography is a later development.

Gautama Buddha said: When you see the Buddha you see the Dharma, when you see the Dharma you see the Buddha.

Just an opinion.
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Re: Buddha as a commercial logo...

Postby thornbush » Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:15 pm

Valid idea thecap, however, after many centuries of development, iconography, Buddhist one that is, was developed and as some humans are, they do have a tendency of placing alongside the Dharma, other representations of the Triple Gem, as worthy of 'veneration' and thus 'sacredness' was ascribed to both as having a 'religious' value and have been made into a commonly/peculiarly adapted symbol of solidarity amongst some Buddhist communities in this world...

Undeniably, what the early Buddhists used as representation of the Dharma/Triple Gem is no less/more authentic than the ones used today...and it must have been regarded then as 'sacred' in the sense that it was reserved for the representation of the movement/faith rather than for mundane purposes...more so if it was used for 'commercial' reasons...as exemplified in the Venerable's conversation.

Just my take... :popcorn:
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Re: Buddha as a commercial logo...

Postby termite » Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:21 pm

Where can I get me one of them there T-shirts? ;)
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Re: Buddha as a commercial logo...

Postby genkaku » Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:08 pm

For some Christians, a cross is a symbol of their religion. It has holy implications.

For others, a cross is a symbol of man's inhumanity to man -- an earlier version of an electric chair.

For some, a Buddha statue in a temple is a great encouragement for a great goal.

For others, it is a fabrication that completely subverts the greatness of Buddhism.

Naturally, we may all do our best not to offend others, but the likelihood is that whatever we do and however good we imagine it to be, we are bound to irritate someone. If Buddha stickers really had much to do with Buddhism, what would that imply about Buddhism? And if stickers offended a "Buddhist," what sort of Buddhist might that be?
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Re: Buddha as a commercial logo...

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:52 am

I may be in the minority (I don't know), but I happen to like the use of the Buddha as a logo. There is a saying, "any kind of publicity is good publicity." I know of some people who happened to see a Buddha logo, got interested and started reading more about the Buddha and then eventually stumbled upon the Dharma.

Also, I agree it would not be very "Buddhist" to be offended by the use of the logo. It is used quite often in Las Vegas:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Las_Vegas
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Re: Buddha as a commercial logo...

Postby thornbush » Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:43 am

Also, I agree it would not be very "Buddhist" to be offended by the use of the logo.

And if stickers offended a "Buddhist," what sort of Buddhist might that be?


Another related example too is the Buddha Bar opening issue in Indonesia where the Buddhists there were offended by the chain's attempt to use Buddhist iconography to promote their own commercial interests.
Buddhist students seal Buddha-Bar
Asia's first Buddha Bar under attack in Indonesia
Buddha Bar asked to close down
i suppose one can never underestimate how 'valuable' it is, Buddhist iconography, may be to certain Buddhist communities. What may be passed off in one place may be an 'impasse' in another... :shrug:

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Buddha as a commercial logo...

Postby Luke » Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:44 pm

TheDhamma wrote:I may be in the minority (I don't know), but I happen to like the use of the Buddha as a logo. There is a saying, "any kind of publicity is good publicity." I know of some people who happened to see a Buddha logo, got interested and started reading more about the Buddha and then eventually stumbled upon the Dharma.

Also, I agree it would not be very "Buddhist" to be offended by the use of the logo. It is used quite often in Las Vegas:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Las_Vegas


In general, I feel the same way. I think that when companies use Lord Buddha as a logo, it's because they sense deep down that there is something very cool about Buddha--and hell, there is something very cool about Buddha: he's a BUDDHA!

I don't know why, but I keep thinking that a Buddha lunchbox for school children would look good. I'm thinking of a beautiful golden image of Buddha like you'd find in a Thai Buddhist temple on the front of the lunchbox. (Well, we could all use a reminder at lunchtime to dedicate our food and possessions to the Three Jewels...)

I think all Buddhist images have some power to interest people in the Dharma. A Dalai Lama lunchbox wouldn't be terrible either....Now to design the thermos...

:cheers:

Om Mani Peme Hung
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Re: Buddha as a commercial logo...

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:58 pm

I enjoyed reading the conversation in the OP. I think the image of the Buddha is misunderstood and misused at times, but I feel that it's always good for people to be exposed to the image. At The Buddhist Lounge a person posted when the Buddha Bar controversy was going on, and she was pretty upset about it. At that time I expressed the same sentiments, that it was good for people to see the giant Buddha inside the place. I mentioned it after she said the situation had been resolved.

:buddha1:
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