Thank you for helping us understand the sensitivity around the use of Buddha’s image
Posted on March 30th, 2010

Gerry Nott Editor in Chief Ottawa Citizen

    To: Asoka Weerasinghe
    Director of Outreach Affairs
    Hilda Jayewardenaramaya

    From: Gerry Nott
    Editor in Chief,
    Ottawa Citizen

    Dear Asoka:

    Your letter concerning your displeasure with the cover of Style magazine, which was inserted into SaturdayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s paper, has been brought to my attention. I appreciate you taking the time to write and making us aware of your feelings, and those of your community.

    Let me assure you that no insult, disrespect or slight was intended by our use of the Lord Buddha sculpture in the cover photo. If you, or any of your community has taken offense by its use on the cover of the magazine, then I sincerely apologize to members of the community.

    As IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢m sure youƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢re aware, the Buddha image has become a very common element in home dƒÆ’†’ƒ”š‚©cor, primarily because of its perceived positive message of calmness, serenity and peace. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sculptures and other items using BuddhaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s image are commonly available in retail outlets and are much sought out for interior design. I understand how this use could offend those in the Buddhist community.

    We have not yet been able to contact the designer, Lee-Ann Lacroix, who appeared on the cover, today to determine where she purchased the statue, but it was important that you hear our apology without delay. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Perhaps you can pass it along to others in your community.

    Thank you for helping us understand the sensitivity around the use of BuddhaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s image

    Regards,

    Gerry Nott
    Editor in Chief
    Ottawa Citizen

6 Responses to “Thank you for helping us understand the sensitivity around the use of Buddha’s image”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    While we are glad for the apology, it was insensitive for Style magazine to put a model posing as she did with the Buddha image.
    It is true that the Buddha image is used as ‘stylish decor’ in some places, in homes, hotels & gardens. We have also seen some brands of food from an Asian country carrying the name “Buddha Brand”.

    Some Buddhist homes have Buddha images displayed for veneration, but that is different.

    Pictures such as the one displayed on the cover of Style should definitely be banned. It is quite inappropriate to use the Buddha image in such a manner. Perhaps Style should be asked to withdraw this edition.

    Using the Buddha image as a brand name should also be banned by law all over the world. All Buddhist Associations from all over the world should get together to do this.

    We would like to thank Asoka Weerasinghe for bringing this news to our attention.

  2. sarathk Says:

    This is avery good responce to Asoka Weerasinge’s ( Hilda Jayewardenaramaya) complain. When Buddha’s image is appear in the wrong place a protest should be done to protect the dignity of Buddhisum. Specially Buddhist associations and Buddhist temples should come forward and take necessary action (like Asoka Weerasinghe did) without any delay. Asoka, we greatly appriciate your very appropriate action to protect the Buddha’s Image.

  3. De Costa Says:

    Asoka should pass all these comments to Mr. Gerry Nott (forGerry’s own good).
    The statement “As I’m sure you’re aware, the Buddha image has become a very common element in home décor, primarily because of its perceived positive message of calmness, serenity and peace. Sculptures and other items using Buddha’s image are commonly available in retail outlets and are much sought out for interior design. I understand how this use could offend those in the Buddhist community.” dilutes Mr. Nott’s apology, as it has been used as an excuse.
    It seems Gerry is implying statues of other religious leaders or the sons of the God are not so serene looking. If you are convinced why not publish your finding and your apology in big letters in the same magazine? Action is worth than words, especially to Buddhists. Buddhists do not worship or respect statues but they respect this Supreme Being.
    Nevertheless unlike other Gods Buddha did not ask for worship or respect. He earned respect by behaviour. He interfered to save fellow human beings when needed and did not let his son to be killed. He rejected even the universal monarchy and a semi-naked woman cannot move him or destroy the respect of Buddhists. Our deepest sympathy goes to these women who will pay dearly for these actions. Gerry would like to know that ignorance will not dilute bad kamma, unfortunately !

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    We should also beware of inappropriate pictures of ” Mara’s daughters trying to entice the Buddha ” on Pandols during Vesak time in Lanka. Over to you for action on this, ACBC.

  5. De Costa Says:

    Look, Mara daughters could not move Buddha and nor these Devadatta Daughters could do anything except harming themselves. I am surprise Mr. Diaz could not see this as a deliberate insult rather than an innocent mistake. The editor’s reply confirms the intended insult rather than an honest apology.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    As a member of Female gender, I would rather not see pictures of women in suggestive postures, scantily dressed, posted on Pandols during Vesak time. Not only are Mara’s daughters thus shown, but also pictures of Patachara (scantily dressed, prominent body parts etc) are depicted therein.
    What is the purpose of Vesak Pandols ? I think they are supposed to make us be more aware of the ancient Buddhist stories that guide us all to think more deeply about Life and admire & follow the Teachings of the Buddha.
    How can we blame foreigners if they use the Buddha image with carelessness, if we in Lanka do not display our Vesak Pandols with greater awareness ?

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