The Bali Times Newspaper
The resort Island of Bali is one of the largest producers and exporters of Buddha images around the world and according to the Knowing Buddha Organization needs to STOP commercializing Buddha’s image ….
Jatu Jat weekend market in Thailand, was the site of a massive gathering by Buddhist organized by the Knowing Buddha Organization, to educate and plead to the world to stop selling and buying the image of Buddha and using it as decoration. Shoppers stopped to read signs and listen to KBO speakers explain why is WRONG to use Buddha’s image for decoration in homes, gardens, hotels, bars, restaurants or spas.
“We had no idea that buying or using Buddha’s image was offensive to Buddhists or disrespectful to the Buddha” said many foreigners visiting the market.
Market vendors who’s shelves were filled with images of Buddha for sale as decoration hid in their shops, as nearly 1000 marchers passed by their stores.
“The atmosphere was like a bright light shining through the market exposing the wrong and protecting our hero the Buddha” said Patt Pattana a spokesperson for the knowing Buddha Organization. Thai vendors who are mostly Buddhists, know they are doing wrong by selling Buddha’s statues and images as Art to unsuspecting tourists . Today we could see the shame in their faces. Also those in charge of the market felt sorry that Buddha was so widely merchandised” continued Pattana.
Earlier in the day the Knowing Buddha Organization was invited to speak at Wat Arun Temple (the Temple of Dawn), to French television about the massive merchandising of Buddha around the world.
“The World is Waking up to the Knowledge that it is a Sin and bad Karma to use Buddha’s image” said Sucheewa Sangduen a member of the Knowing Buddha Organization.
“As the world is being educated and reminded that Buddhism is a religion and the image of Buddha is not just a piece of Art that should be used to bring calm to our homes or a business” said Sangduen.
The Abbot of Wat Arun praised the Knowing Buddha Organization for it’s work with his temple and others around Thailand to educate tourists about proper attire and attitudes when visiting temples. The Abbot bemoaned how in the past visitors would arrive in shorts and tank tops and some women even posed with their shirts off in front of Buddha. The Knowing Buddha Organization changed all this through signs and brochures teaching tourists how to behave and treat Buddha.
According to Pat Pattana it is all about education and teaching the world about this issue through kindness and compassion. “We find that most foreigners had no idea that they were doing something wrong by decorating with the image of Buddha. And once we explain to them that this is wrong and bad karma, people are more than willing to fix their mistakes”. Said Pattana.
The Knowing Buddha Organization founded by Vipassana Meditation Master Acharavadee Wongsakon. Acharavadee who had visited the Buddha Bar in Paris a decade earlier, was devastated that the Buddha Bar had replicated a Thai temple and installed a dance floor and Bar. She returned to Thailand to set up an organization to educate the world about respect and morality and the proper use of Buddha for worship.
The organization’s website www.knowingbuddha.org
explains the do’s and don’ts of using Buddha’s Images. The Organization can also be contacted to help individuals and commercial organizations learn how properly remove Buddha art from their homes or commercial venues.
“We have worked with many high profile companies around the world to resolve their misuse of Buddha’s image” said Sangduen. The overwhelming majority of cases happen with artists and consumers, who have good intention and respect to use Buddha in their exhibits and homes. However once they learn that this is Wrong to used Buddha’s images for anything other than worship, these people really want to correct their mistakes because the do have respect for Buddha as most point out, that they revere Buddha’s image for the calm and peace it gives them, explained Pattana.
One such a case was a resort in Bali which had large murals of Buddha carved in stone. The KBO organization showed the owners how to re-carve the murals into angel heads. Other cases learned how to properly and respectfully dispose of unwanted Buddha decoration.
“Respect is Common Sense” is the motto of the Knowing Buddha Organization. This bright international group of Buddhists seems to be knocking at the hearts of people around the world, to not disrespect Buddha by using his image as decoration.