Buddha, Buddha, Everywhere

Going along with arun’s last post on branding, Western culture has definitely used the Buddha as a brand, a way to market products of all kinds, most of the time not related to Buddhism in any way. It’s the commercialization of Buddhism and if we take a closer look around us and increase our sensitivity to it, we can see that it’s everywhere. In a way, it’s interesting because in a dominantly Christian society, Buddhism makes appearances quite often – just not necessarily in a Buddhist context. Here are some examples I’ve noticed:

Buddha Balm

more Buddha Balm
Buddha Spa
True Religion Jeans

What is your first reaction when you see these? Is this acceptable, using the Buddha for purely commercial and marketing reasons? Feel free to share what you think about it – I’m curious to know.

6 Replies to “Buddha, Buddha, Everywhere”

  1. It´s funny. For example, this Buddha Bar concept is like totally opposite to the teachings of the buddha. But in a way I have learned to see it as funny. (cause first I thought it was totally wrong and these people where stupid and wa wa wa.) It doesn´t matter the way that people use this image, i think. Maybe it even helps some people look further and find out more about buddhism.
    Excuse my english.
    Greetings 🙂

  2. Thanks for commenting Mary. I can see what you mean. In a way, having the Buddha image appear in American mainstream culture increases the presence of Buddhism in America. However, I get worried when it is used a little too much out of its context, especially with religion.

    We see cultural icons being used out of its context all around us and thus, don’t really think twice about it. This actually reminds me of a t-shirt my father recently saw in the store. It had Chinese calligraphy writing on it and to someone who cannot read Chinese writing, it actually looks pretty cool. However, if you can read Chinese, my dad says that it reads “Bearing shame even after death”. Talk about culture being used out of context…haha. Of course, the West is not the only one guilty of that. I’ve noticed that in Asia, having English words on consumer items is popular, even if it doesn’t make sense.

    But I bring up the Chinese calligraphy example because its something that I think most people would consider pretty harmless. But when religion comes in, something that people consider sacred and spiritual, then you’re really pushing people’s boundaries.

    Thanks for reading. I always enjoy reading what other people’s thoughts are about the things I notice around me.

  3. My opinion->Don’t get caught up in the hindrances. Does this arguement do anything to further your meditation and awakening. If not move on. As the Siddhattha Gotama Buddha (“Buddha” meaning “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.”) admonished his followers to do on his death bed “All composite things pass away. Strive for your own liberation with diligence.”

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