Author Topic: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?  (Read 6965 times)

Mana

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Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« on: December 28, 2011, 09:00:11 PM »
Old news about a huge statue in a well-known bar chain, creating an uproar among SOME Buddhist community. From the picture, the Buddha seems t be placed quite well, in the center on a high platform, quite grand and magnificent, the only problem seems to be that, it is not a temple, but a restaurant which serves wine.

Questions to ponder: what constitutes desecration? it is improper just because the place serve wine? Buddha and wine doesn't get along? Wine is intrisically "bad"? Isn't it good for a Buddha statue to be there to bless the diners, and since they are already so "bad" to drink wine, isn't it good and compassionate to put a Buddha there, at least the sinners can be blessed?

Interestingly, it said "The Buddhist population here, mainly from Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and China, see this as a gross misuse of their Lord's name..." but no mention of Tibetan Buddhists, maybe Tibetan Buddhists are more used to it because they are used to many Mahasiddhas who acted strangely and not complying to the norms, and it is a manifestation of their attainments?


Buddha statue in bar upset people
WebIndia123, February 12, 2006
Dubai, UAE -- Buddha bar, the popular French bar, which has an outlet in the Grosvenor House hotel here, has upset hundreds of Buddhists by placing an eight-foot tall statue of the sage and founder of Buddhism inside the bar.


<< A Buddha image inside "Buddha Bar"

The Buddhist population here, mainly from Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and China, see this as a gross misuse of their Lord's name and his teachings and they look up to their governments to take up the matter with the authorities here.

''No Buddhist will be happy about a place that serves liquor and has Lord Buddha's statue and Buddhist artefacts around,'' Sunil Chandrakumara, a Sharjah-based Sri Lankan national and community worker told the Gulf Today daily here.

He also said, it is ''extremely painful'' to see the Buddha's images being misused and referred to a local furniture retailer using Lord Buddha's image to advertise its wares.

When asked Jaideep Bhatia, marketing manager of the hotel, told the daily, ''I have no comments to make at this stage,'' and said, there are many Buddha Bar outlets in the world.

Buddha Bar was created by Raymond Visan in Paris. The bar shot up into the popularity charts for the food, the ambience and the lounge music from DJ Claude Challe as the crossover music caught the fancy of the upwardly mobile.

Danushke Sanjeewa, also a Sri Lankan national, said it may not be easy to tackle an international chain like Buddha Bar. ''We may not be able to take them head on, but can at least register our protest and reveal our feelings over misusing Lord Buddha's image,'' he said.

He added that it was difficult to fathom how a place like Dubai that does not have a Buddhist temple has allowed a bar named so obviously after the Buddha.

''I hope the authorities will at least get the Buddha statues removed from the bar,'' he said.

Mr Sanjeewa added that the eight-foot tall statue of Buddha is used as a showpiece in the hotel.

An Indian expatriate Jagan Rao said the whole thing is in bad taste. ''People should realise their moral responsibility in not hurting religious sentiments of anyone so as to develop a healthy societ,'' he said.

In the backdrop of the storm raised over the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, published in a Danish newspaper, Buddhists here hope that the authorities will act to ensure that the followers of other religions do not feel insulted in this cosmopolitan city.

Manjushri

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2011, 01:42:38 AM »
I find this article very interesting because these days, alot of places (be it houses, bars, clubs, restaurants, retail outlets etc) use Buddha images and statues as a decorative piece. There's a club I know of, and they have a big Shakyamuni Buddha statue right in the centre of the club.

To me, personally I find it okay, as Lord Buddha does not discriminate on where He can be found or who He teaches. Even a dharma teaching can happen at a place serving alcohol, so why can't a holy statue be found in places serving alcohol? If it can bless the patrons, who otherwise might not ever see a statue of Buddha any where else, imprints can be planted then I don't think it is a problem having a statue there. No one will do anything disrespectful to the statue, it is just there as a centrepiece. When someone sees a statue of the Buddha, it is not like they will do anything blasphemous to the statue. What can be of benefit also is that since the statue is a centrepiece, people are usually unconsiously attracted/drawn to it, and will most likely remember the statue being there. Such powerful imprints. 

I think Buddha statues make nice decorative features in houses of people from all walks of life, as it gives a contemporary edge to the house yet also presents a calming and peaceful vibe. Usually people make nice features around Buddha statues in their houses, for instance, water features, having the statue surrounded by plants in the garden...I think it's a nice offering that they are making to Buddha, even if they might not know it.

Tammy

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2011, 02:32:14 AM »
It is an excellent idea to have Buddha statues everywhere, i read articles about planting imprints - when people look at holy statues and images, the seed of enlightenment will be planted in their mindstream. This is referred to as 'imprint'. The imprints will be deep 'seated' in their minds and be activated.

It is, in my humble opinion, not considered desecrated as long as the buddha statues are not being disfigured.

 
Down with the BAN!!!

biggyboy

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2011, 03:06:18 AM »
In my opinion, placing a Buddha statue as decorative piece in a homes, offices, restaurants or bars is alright as it help to plant imprints into people's mind irrespective of one's faith or religion.  Buddha is an Enlightened Being. Having or seeing Buddha image itself is already a blessing to one's mind.  Hence, in my opinion it is not considered desecrated.  In fact, it is a good idea to have it there.

Poonlarp

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2011, 05:39:24 AM »
I remember a Chinese friend told me about there's a Chinese saying "The liquors and meat that I take are in my body, but the Buddha is in my mind"

Of course this is not a phrase to encourage Buddhist to drink and be a meat eater, but the point is a Buddha is never affected by what you are doing.

Sorry to say, I think it's a pretty good idea to place Buddha everywhere, with the motivation to plant more seeds in people. I think people who go bars or bistros, they might not have the interest to visit temple everyday, but with the Buddha image, it plants the seed to this person to have Dharma imprint, with the potential to be rippen, might not be this life, can be coming life times, so it's indeed a skillful means.

vajrastorm

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2011, 08:37:39 AM »
'Desecration' is if the Buddha statue were disfigured or thrown around or placed disrespectfully in a toilet or thrown in a rubbish dump. This statue, however, is occupying a prominent place right in the center of the Bar.
Whoever walks into the Bar would have their eyes drawn to it. Wow, just think of the imprints of this holy sacred image in so many minds! That's how compassionate the Buddha is.

Actually "good' or 'bad' are terms that reflect our narrow dualistic, conceptual minds. The compassionate Buddha would have used terms like "skillful" or"wholesome","unskillful" or "unwholesome".

Positive Change

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2011, 09:39:56 AM »
I personally do not feel it is a desecration when it comes to having a holy image in a bar. Case in point the Buddha in Buddha Bar in Dubai (they have one in Paris, Bali and Jakarta too if I am not mistaken).

It certainly does not effect Buddha as Buddha is beyond that. It is again our perceptions or preconceived notions of where a holy image of a Buddha should be. I believe it is skillful (whether on purpose or not) as it plants seeds for every person that walks through the doors of that bar. Seeing that magnificent image of the Buddha! It is not defaced in anyway shape or form. In fact, it is given prominence and grandeur... Wonderful I say!

Galen

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2011, 03:15:39 PM »
Everyone so far seems to agree that it is not desecration to have Buddha in a bar or a restaurant. I agree also to this as this centre piece will attract people to wanting to know more about this great enlightened being. And through this we may have more people practicing buddhist.

Of course the deco has to be done in taste to suit Buddha. And from the picture, the place seems to be very nice. I would go to that restaurant.

However, I do hope that the patrons will not show disrespect to Buddha by doing things that are disrespectful like disfiguring the statue ore spitting or swearing at it. It may create negative repercussions without them knowing it.

Other than that, it is a great idea!

Klein

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2011, 07:22:20 PM »
I believe it's skillful means because it plants seeds of Enlightenment in the people's mind when they see the Buddha statue. Whatever is done in front of the Buddha, good and bad will create a connection with the Buddha.

This is very important because when the right conditions arise for the people either in this life time or another, the karmic seed for buddhahood will open up, causing the person to study and practice the Buddha dharma.

negra orquida

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2011, 08:34:38 AM »
Quote
Questions to ponder: what constitutes desecration? it is improper just because the place serve wine? Buddha and wine doesn't get along? Wine is intrisically "bad"? Isn't it good for a Buddha statue to be there to bless the diners, and since they are already so "bad" to drink wine, isn't it good and compassionate to put a Buddha there, at least the sinners can be blessed?

I don't see any problem with placing a beautiful Buddha statue in a place which serves wine... since in certain Buddhist practices alcohol is used as an offering to the Buddhas.

According to Wikipedia, desecration "is the act of depriving something of its sacred character, or the disrespectful or contemptuous treatment of that which is held to be sacred or holy by a group or individual".

If the restaurant owner placed the Buddha statue there because they think it is something so beautiful to share and admire with others, this is considered praising the Buddha isn't it? If the restaurant owner placed it there with the intention to bless its customers, then it is an even higher motive.  From the photo the Buddha statue looks very clean and shiny; I don't think anyone who doesn't respect or treasure something would bother to clean it.

Wine is not intrinsically bad... its the question of how and why it is used. Drinking wine with the intention to get drunk or high stems from attachment to sensual pleasures, or mistaken notion that wine is the cause for happiness.  The intention for drinking wine is "wrong" but the wine itself is not bad.  There are many studies establishing the health benefits of drinking wine in moderation...

yontenjamyang

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2011, 08:48:33 AM »
It definitely skillful means. Intentionally or not we do not know. What an excellent idea to place a Buddha statue in a bar. It put an imprint of the Buddha in the mindstream of all who are there. Better be there then a bar that does not have a Buddha Statue. 

hope rainbow

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2011, 01:21:43 PM »
I have an issue with Buddha statues being used as decorative features or as branding images in places of libation. I do.

The issue is this: it denotes of the degeneration of our age.

And I say this without any judgment intended, I myself have been a few times to the Buddha-Bar in Paris to enjoy a nice worldly time with friends... And I probably have all their CD's too. :P

Besides that fact, what can we say, it is better this way than no way at all.
The sad thing is this: too many of those that gets imprints from a Buddha statue in a night-club will only see its benefit ripening perhaps in eons from now... the sad part is that they have much more stronger opportunities to create causes for happiness sooner...

diamond girl

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2011, 05:13:18 PM »
I remember a Chinese friend told me about there's a Chinese saying "The liquors and meat that I take are in my body, but the Buddha is in my mind"

Of course this is not a phrase to encourage Buddhist to drink and be a meat eater, but the point is a Buddha is never affected by what you are doing.

Sorry to say, I think it's a pretty good idea to place Buddha everywhere, with the motivation to plant more seeds in people. I think people who go bars or bistros, they might not have the interest to visit temple everyday, but with the Buddha image, it plants the seed to this person to have Dharma imprint, with the potential to be rippen, might not be this life, can be coming life times, so it's indeed a skillful means.

I do have two views about this but I tend to be more inclined to this above. People today are so far removed from being spiritual that being in a bar with Buddha may be the closest he/she will get to having set eyes on a holy statue.

Then again, the Buddha in this context, is it holy? Or merely decorative? Doesn't a statue need to be consecrated or blessed before it is holy? And if so, if this Buddha was not consecrated thus not holy, is it still planting seeds into the people's mindstream?

WisdomBeing

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2011, 06:33:51 PM »
I don't think a Buddha image needs to be consecrated. After all, it is holy because of its very nature and it will plant dharma seeds because of its nature and not because of the intention of the person who placed it there. Of course if the intention of the person who places the statue or Buddha image in a certain place is good, then the effect is multiplied and benefits the person who placed it there as well as the person who sees the image.

As such, i think that it is a better of two evils to place a Buddha statue in a public place, be it a bar or not, because the dharma seeds planted by this holy image is good. Even if the dharma seeds sprout eons from now, better eons from now than not at all.
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

Gypsy

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Re: Buddha in bar - skillful means or desecration?
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2011, 02:33:10 AM »
To me, Buddha is an enlightened being and among the spiritual qualities an enlightened being has is compassion. Compassion and wisdom often come in a package. In buddhism, the highest wisdom is seeing that in reality all phenomena are incomplete, impermanent and not self.

Therefore in samsaric view, placing a Buddha in some so called improper place, i.e bar, clubs, non vegetarian restaurant,  hotel or any other places that use Buddha statue to beautify the place, is considered disrespectful. However, as a Buddha, he practiced equanimity, he sees all things as one, and that's emptiness. Be it a bar or a chapel, i believe he would love to be placed there to bless whoever is there. When we understand imprint, in buddhist term, we would be happy and rejoice when we see buddha images or holy statues everywhere! We are actually making connection to the Buddha, not just merely looking at a decorative piece. So i think placing a Buddha in a bar is another good idea to create visual imprint for those party animals, since they are mostly lack of spiritual practice.