Author Topic: Buddha Bar - What do you think?  (Read 19675 times)

Vajraprotector

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Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« on: May 01, 2011, 09:46:38 PM »
Sometimes in December 2008, a French Bar chain called Buddha Bar opened in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta and it also invited protests from the local Buddhist community who have grouped together under Anti Buddha-Bar forum named FABB.

Argument from the Opponents of Buddha Bar
FABB argues that usage of Lord Buddha’s image inside a bar creates a negative impression about Buddhism and Buddha’s teachings. This negative impression comes from the fact that a place where alcohol etc is served should not connect itself with the image of Lord Buddha because it creates a negative connotation in the minds of Buddhists and Non-Buddhists about Buddha and His teachings. This is the argument by Anti Buddha-Bar protesters who want nothing less than seeing the bar closed down in Indonesia for good.

Argument from the Supporters of Buddha Bar
But it appears not all Buddhists are opposing the bar. Buddhist supporters for the bar have grouped together under Indonesian Young Generation of Buddhists (Gemabudhi) who want the bar to stay. I quote their view:

Instead, he added, Gemabuddhi hoped Buddha Bar restaurant to become one of the pillars of Buddhist teachings; introducing to all people that Buddhists are not idol worshipers, or there is no doctrine in Buddhism that considers the statue is a sacred object.

Source: http://www.buddhadiary.com/2010/08/buddha-bar-protests-in-indonesia-an-insight/

What do you think? Do you think it's ok to have Buddha statues in places like a bar?

Positive Change

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2011, 09:12:25 AM »
FABB argues that usage of Lord Buddha’s image inside a bar creates a negative impression about Buddhism and Buddha’s teachings. This negative impression comes from the fact that a place where alcohol etc is served should not connect itself with the image of Lord Buddha because it creates a negative connotation in the minds of Buddhists and Non-Buddhists about Buddha and His teachings. 

I personally do not think 'negative impressions' are created by the usage of Lord Buddha's image inside a bar as these are our mere perceptions of what is negative. Are we saying we should not put Buddha images in our own homes? Why I am saying this is because our homes are not that 'suitable' for a Buddha image if we really thought about it based on the argument above.

Lord Buddha is an enlightened being and therefore he is beyond our worldly perceptions or negative ideals. To have a Buddha image in any environment would be giving a blessing to the place and anyone gazing upon it regardless of it's situation. Sure there are 'better' places to revere Lord Buddha's image but it does not make it wrong. In fact I think it is better to put Lord Buddha's image in a place/environment where it will benefit people who NEED it...

More Buddha images everywhere and anywhere I say!!!! What do you guys think?

iloveds

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2011, 10:36:57 PM »
Where  I come from we have a chain of Buddha Bars. I suppose it may have something to do with not being a country with a deep rooted tradition in Buddhism but it does have a good feeling to have a Buddha image around.

In that sense to those "Hard line" buddhist who say strictly yes or no. IF you don't have a Buddha image in a place like this how will these people who go there ever get to receive the blessings of Buddha, when you are stopping them directly from the blessing?

Yes the place might not be the most respectful place, but I didn't know the Buddha was hung up on whether a place was perfect or not to teach. Especially in this day and age. So for all sentient beings except those that frequent bars, clubs, nudie bars, massage parlours until we achieve enlightenment.

hope rainbow

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 06:07:34 PM »
There are buddhas in the hells and buddhas in the heavens, there is a buddha wherever there is a need for one, and that means most everywhere, there is virtually no place where Buddhas "should not be".
Some people will see them others won't. Some will have merits others won't, but all will receive the blessings of being exposed to buddhahood in the shape of a Buddha's statue.

I say this: instead of fighting for the removal of a "Buddha Bar", I'd rather use the opportunity to share about this famous Buddha on which a bar is basing its branding exercise...
This is an opportunity to spread Dharma, if we turn it into that.
Or it is an opportunity for closing people's minds about Buddhisme, about spirituality, about samsara's delusions too.
It is up to us I think.

DSFriend

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 07:00:09 PM »
It'll contradict Buddha's nature if he is offended by an image of him being placed in a bar. So if the problem doesn't exists on Buddha's side, then obviously the problem is on our side (when has it not been)

I do think that having these images in the bars is great, as people will receive blessings irregardless of their believe systems. Buddhism should be presented in a progressive manner. The skillful ways of conveying the dharma by lamas is an example of presenting Buddhism in a way that people of the 21st century can relate to. Would anyone living in the 21st century receives blessings if buddhism and buddha statues are only available in the deep forests, mountains, caves? Who would be hanging out in such places?

My view is that we are very fortunate to be living at this time where Buddha images are available, the pure dharma is still being taught and people have the merits to practice.

dsiluvu

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 10:26:38 PM »
I personally think it is quite smart and cool to have Buddha images in a bar. If it is true that seeing an image of the enlightened one will plant the seed of enlightenment, then by all means... Wouldn't places like these where you will least expect it, is where someone gets his or her seed planted?

I remembered a story about am ant that was carried around a stupa during a heavy rain. That ant ignorantly, without knowing a thing was actually circumambulating a stupa and his next ;ife he was a human and could actually meet the Buddha himself which ordained him to be a monk!!! So I would apply this same logic to those going to Buddha Bar.

Times are now degenerated... we will need to use skilful methods to bring people in to Dharma, sometimes this mean attracting people at the level they are at... how nice if the bar had a cool poster of Dorje Shugden!!! 

heartjewel

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 10:40:58 PM »
To my opinion I would think its good to have a buddha even if its in  a Bar as a protection against negative forces. When a person  goes to a Bar most likely he will get drunk. He will not be able to control  his senses. Then negative forces will easily take hold of him and will control his senses making him do a lot of harm to himself and others and creating bad Karma. As Buddhas are enlightened beings there is no way they can be sensitive. At the same time when there is a Buddha image around in the Bar people will tend to indirectly behave better and maybe not to get drunk to that extent so that there will  be fights. Fights tend to occur in Bars very often.

Helena

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2011, 06:42:22 PM »
I was just at Buddha Bar in Paris last night.

It is actually very tastefully decorated. I can't speak for the rest of the Buddha Bar's franchise elsewhere. But seeing the number of people who frequent the bar, it is another way of spreading Buddha's work. It may not be the most traditional or conventional method, but Buddha did create 84,000 different ways, right?

I think it is wonderful that a holy image can be placed in a place which is not so holy, perhaps, but they certainly need the Buddha's blessings the most! Who knows when these seeds planted by just viewing a holy image will sprout or what it will trigger in others.

I rejoice for the many images of Buddha and Dharma to be placed anywhere and everywhere.





Helena

Vajraprotector

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2011, 08:07:49 PM »
Looks like everyone has a positive take on this.

I'm puzzled by the comment that "there is no doctrine in Buddhism that considers the statue is a sacred object".

It is very strange as
- the widely quoted legend of king Udayana, commissioning Buddha's image to represent the Great Master during his absence, and
-  Anathapindaka praying Buddha to allow at least the images of Bodhisattvas

The above suggest that Buddha's followers contemplated the possibility of covering their Master's absence by his anthropomorphic representations even before the Mahaparinirvana, hence a Buddha statue is a representation of Buddha and is sacred.

 I wonder if Young Generation of Buddhists (Gemabudhi) really know what they are talking about.

hope rainbow

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2011, 07:56:34 AM »
Looks like everyone has a positive take on this.

I'm puzzled by the comment that "there is no doctrine in Buddhism that considers the statue is a sacred object".

It is very strange as
- the widely quoted legend of king Udayana, commissioning Buddha's image to represent the Great Master during his absence, and
-  Anathapindaka praying Buddha to allow at least the images of Bodhisattvas

The above suggest that Buddha's followers contemplated the possibility of covering their Master's absence by his anthropomorphic representations even before the Mahaparinirvana, hence a Buddha statue is a representation of Buddha and is sacred.

 I wonder if Young Generation of Buddhists (Gemabudhi) really know what they are talking about.


I am not versed in the details and legends of king Udayana and Anathapindaka, but I would like to share this:
A statue of a Buddha, to me, is sacred for buddhahood is sacred.
Otherwise, the statue of a Buddha is only a molded piece of metal or any other material, at least to the eye of someone who does not understand nor value buddhahood as sacred.
Then the power of a Buddha is beyond average understanding and blessings do occur even when "non-believers" are exposed to an image of a Buddha. But then again, I understand this to work because a "non-believer" is simply someone on denial.

Positive Change

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2011, 08:26:46 AM »
@ Hope Rainbow... You are right. I too believe that a Buddha does not cease to be a Buddha just because we do not belief or disbelief in the Buddha. Hence the holy image of a Buddha will bless anyone regardless and should not be seen as something that degrades the Buddha. The Buddha is beyond that...

pgdharma

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2011, 10:20:31 AM »
I think it is alright to have a Buddha statue in a bar. In fact, to see an image of a Buddha is a blessing and the people who frequented the place will be planted with the seeds of Enlightenment.

thor

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2011, 04:15:41 PM »
Let us break this down a little further.

Against:
According to the refuge commitments, every image of a buddha should be regarded as the actual buddha himself. Therefore, when a buddha image is placed in places such as bars, toilets, etc it would be considered inappropriate.

But what of the popular opinion on this thread that says it is alright for Buddha to be in the bar? That it bestows blessings?

The blessings are of the object (the statue) not the subject (the observer). Therefore there are definitely some blessings accrued when someone views the Buddha image. However, should that same person perform an inappropriate act such as sitting on the buddha image, of course there will be negativity accrued as well. It is a fine balancing act.

But let's face it... most owners of bars who place buddha images in there are not doing it to bless their patrons... instead it is part of their decor theme.

Douglas Royce

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2011, 02:23:35 PM »
I guess just seeing a Buddha image does plant seeds as you all say, and it does bestow some blessings. I remember at college, a room mate of mine brought his Asian girlfriend over to our dorm. She was wearing a necklace with a Buddha image. It was the first time I ever really seen a Buddha image up close. Years later, I am starting my Buddhist journey. I guess, our minds do register everything, no matter how minute it is. It just requires something to trigger or reinforce that memory or seed.
Doug

diamond girl

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Re: Buddha Bar - What do you think?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2011, 04:03:29 PM »
I like Thor's post. It makes sense in terms of a statue being a sacred object and also the fact that in today's times Buddha images are also work of art. At the end of it, it is really the motivation.

I do not think that Buddha images in this chain of Buddha Bars has a motivation of blessing their patrons. Not to be antagonistic, but if there is any statue in the Bar for any "blessing' it would probably be some worldly deity blessing the business and blessing the people to come in and party! and spend money. And this deity will be kept in the manager's private office.

I think that in Buddhism we should adopt a balanced view and not impose.

1) Buddha images are sacred - fact
2) Looking at a Buddha Statue calms one's mind - true
3) How much one will receive in planting the Dharma seed by looking at Buddha images is an affinity and one's faith and spirituality

I would view the Buddha images as art in the Buddha Bar, I will not take it as an offense. Yes, if someone is attracted to the image in Buddha Bar and the next day goes buys one and places it in his/her home - Very Good!