We often find that Buddha is not treated with respect. Many people over look the feelings of billions of Buddhists around the world.
Why is the image of Buddha so important ?
When Buddha was still alive he never asked his followers to make statues or worship him in images. Instead he taught us to not have any attachment to anything – not even himself.
Buddha said that the best way to worship him was to follow his teachings. And that after he passed away, after his “Nippana” or “Nirvana”, his teachings would take his place.
100 years later some of his followers wondered how Buddha looked. They prayed to an angel who used to meet Buddha. Then the angel appeared in Buddha’s image, and so the first Buddha statues were created. Since then Buddha statues have become a key element for most Buddhists around the world are reminded of his compassion, kindness and his teachings and feel the highest regard for him.
Some show respect, others behave with ignorance.
This summary might help you understand how you (should) can treat Buddha’s images appropriately.
Dos with regard to Buddha
1. Respect: Pay respect with body and/or mind.
To pay respect to Buddha doesn’t mean one has to be a Buddhist. If one behaves with respect towards the father of a friend, one should treat Buddha likewise, for he is worshipped as the enlightened father.
Body language respect can be shown by “Wai” (Worship)
Respect of the mind can be shown by your attitude.
If you don’t want to pay respect at all at least do not look down on Buddha.
2. Correctness: If you see a picture, amulet or statue of Buddha in inappropriate places such as a walk way floor, in a toilet or on a chair, please help to place it in a proper place up high such as on a shelf or higher.
3. Knowledge: If you are a Buddhist inform those who have the wish to know about Buddha.
If you are not a Buddhist, just give the person who might ask “Who is Buddha ?” The simple answer that “Buddha is the Enlightened One who taught the Buddhists to do good deeds the same way other prophets does”
Don’ts with regard to Buddha
1. Do not treat Buddha badly: If you cannot pay respect to Buddha at least do not treat the image of Buddha badly. Nobody should look down on or treat badly someone’s father. Buddhists respect Buddha as the religious father. All leaders of religions are regarded with respect. This should also be applied to Buddha.
3. Do not place images or statues of Buddha as if they were furniture or decorative objects: For example:
Don’t place a Buddha statue in the middle of a table.
Don’t place a Buddha statue in the toilet.
Don’t place Buddha statues in bars or restaurants.
4. Do not treat Buddha as merchandise: You might wonder why there are merchants even in some Buddhist countries who treat Buddha statues or images without respect and sell them like furniture. That is a reflection of human nature. In every society there are good and bad people. Bad people don’t care about anything except their own benefit but the true Buddhist will feel ashamed of that.
In some countries you may see shops selling Buddha statues in various sizes. These may be considered acceptable because the buyers are Buddhists who acquire statues and images to place in the temple or other appropriate places with the intention to respect them.
5. Do not use Buddha’s name in a disrespectful way: For example in a movie a dog’s name is ‘Buddha’. There is an ice cream shop named ‘Buddhi Belly’ and a bar called ‘Buddha Bar’.
6. Do not under any circumstance make fun of Buddha statues or images: For example there is a movie poster which shows a man sitting on Buddha’s shoulders.
7. Do not tattoo an image of Buddha onto the body: Why is Buddha tattoo on the body unacceptable? The following explanations can help you get better understanding.
1. Our body is considered dirty: The Buddha was a person who was clean from inside to outside. His mind was free from illusion and all the impurities. He is respected from all Buddhists around the world.
To us, our body and mind still need to be cleaned. If we don’t wash our body even one day, it will smell like garbage.
To tattoo the clean one like Buddha on the body is considered improper and lack of respect.
Someone said that they have the Buddha tattoo on their body because they love the Buddha and want to stay close to him. This idea is not quite proper, people misunderstood about this. To follow his teachings, they can practice to be a giver, to observe precepts and to purify mind. By only these practices, they can have the right way to show their love and stay close to the Buddha.
2. People still immerse in sexual pleasure: The Buddha completely ended his sexual pleasure. He was definitely free from this kind of illusion. To tattoo his statue on the body that still indulges in sexual act is considered improper and a great lack of respect.
3. People are not aware of their acts: We normally need to involve with many activities every day. Some activities we do may be impolite for example some activities we need to kick, punch, jump, dance, fight or etc. These actions are considered not in the calm way. If we have Buddha tattoo on the parts of our body, and we need to use them to do so, this is also considered no respect and unacceptable.
4. The Buddha statue needs to be placed in proper position: To Buddhist, we have Buddha statue as to remind us his goodness and his loving kindness to the world. We, as Buddhist always put the Buddha statue in high position, above head as to pay high respect to him. To place the symbol in the low position or to tattoo him on body is considered improper and no respect.
5. Causing misleading: Having Buddha tattoo can lead people to be misguided. Some people think that having Buddha tattoo can help them stay close to him but some have it just because they follow fashion. More people tend to imitate those acts which can gradually decrease the value of the Buddha in the future.
So if we would like be good Buddhist and to show our real respect and love to the lord Buddha through the Buddha statue, we should learn more thru the mentioned suggestions above.
Knowing Buddha Organization